Lesson 1.1

The Science of Perspectives

Dive into this topic by watching the video, followed by key explanations and exercises below:

Key Concepts:

  • Perspective, in psychology terms, is how we encode our experiences in our own “internal language.”

    • A geologist and a teenager might picture different things when they hear the word “rock.”

    • An engineer and a designer might focus on different things when they see the inside of an automobile engine.

    • An immigrant and a native might interpret the seriousness of the wording of a Jury Summons letter differently.

  • Perspective is 1/2 of the “mental toolkit” that we use when solving problems.

    • Perspective is how we see and frame things.

    • This is a valuable dimension of cognitive diversity.

  • How do you know someone has a different perspective? We can only guess… or ask.

    • Perspectives are shaped by our life experiences.

    • Our life experiences are shaped by who we are, who we identify as, what we look like, where we’re from, and a number of other things.

Practice This:

  • Think about a dramatic experience in your life that has given you a unique perspective about something than most people. (E.g. I was homeless once.)

    • In what ways do you see the world differently because of this experience? (E.g. I notice good places to sleep when I’m out and about the city.)

  • Now think about a NON dramatic experience in your life that has given you a unique perspective about something than most people. (E.g. I learned to skateboard in high school.)

    • In what ways do you see the world differently because of this experience? (E.g. I notice good places to skateboard when I’m out and about the city.)

  • Think about something that you have a different perspective on than someone you are close to. (E.g. My father and I have different views on what’s important in immigration policy.)

    • Where do you think this person’s different perspective came from?

    • Can you articulate how you developed your perspective?

    • Could you ask this person to articulate how they developed this perspective?

Being thoughtful about your own unique perspectives can help you to be curious and value others’ perspectives. All this prepares us to make use of cognitive diversity in interesting ways later down the line!