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Perception, Critical Thinking & Reality The

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between perception, critical thinking and reality. Critical thinking has been defined as the ability to acquire information, analyze, and evaluate it and reach a conclusion by logic and reasoning skills (Myers, 2003). In other words, it is reasoned and reflective thought aimed at assessment such as the authenticity or accuracy of a claim. Critical thinking can be said to be an element of perception which Goldstein which is the process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment (Goldstein, 2001). Obviously when human beings organize and interpret their sensory perceptions, they sometimes utilize critical thinking skills and the extent to which they use these skills can vary across individuals.

However, Graham (1998) points out that while human beings often believe that their perceptual process show them, in some precise and exact way, a truthful picture of reality, perception cannot be said to be reality. Different people, quite literally, perceive reality in different ways which is to say that their interpretations of their sensory inputs vary. In the business world for example, if management sends a memo to all section heads, asking for statistics of over-time worked, one section head may see it as both a reasonable and welcomed request that may provide needed information that can lead to improvements in staffing levels while another section head may not like it all and view it as a way for management to exercise closer supervision and control.

Are these two men living in different realities? No, but the differences in their interpretation (perception) of the events occurring (memo requesting statistics) do in a sense make for differing realities for them. Indeed the section head who is expecting good things to result from the data collection can experience far, far less stress than the section h...

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