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The Game of Perspectives

Alruba is a content writer and an aspiring academician of media studies enquiring role of theories of cognitive psychology in media culture

How we interpret visual symbols states how we see the world in its entirety

How we interpret visual symbols states how we see the world in its entirety

The Game of Perspectives and Visual Symbols

The world is often called baffling, complicated and polychrome. Even the simplest objects around us sometimes eventually dwell into ambiguity. Individuals have divergent interpretations of a single representation. Needless to say these interpretations are contingent on culture, society, experience, thought processes and human perception. The truth behind those physical or mental objects may or may not be absolute since the objective truth can differ from the actual perception of truth.

Is The Truth You See Really Even True?

As Giambattista Vico’s principle of ‘Vertum esse ipsum factum’, laying the foundations of constructivist epistemology states, ‘What is true is precisely what is made’. Clearly, the truth can be a constructed notion. The imperative nuance of these constructions is how they hold the power of changing further perceptions, the societal conventions and finally the world as a whole.

The mentioned concepts, when applied to visual representations, give a whole new meaning to the term ‘interpretations’. Some believe that their interpretations of symbols are more rational and truthful than those of the symbol’s creator himself. The same principle applies to the differences in the intent of the sender and the interpretation of the receiver through which the term ‘angle of vision’ emerges.

Nexus Between Visual Symbols And Subjective Interpretations

A controversy transpired relating to the same subject of visual representations and their perceptions. An Indian e-commerce platform Myntra recently modified its logo after a complaint was lodged with the Cyber Crime department of Mumbai police. The complaint was filed by a social activist Naaz Patel from Avesta Foundation NGO in December 2020. According to the reports, the activist stated that the logo was apparently offensive to the women. Every e-commerce Indian customer is well aware of the company’s renowned logo since its establishment in 2007. The complaint opened a forum for multiple debates and discussions, especially among netizens. Amidst the ongoing societal crises, questions regarding the relevance and significance of this issue became more prevalent. A bigger question to ponder upon is how the logo that existed for more than a decade, suddenly emerged as a highlight? The issue falls back to the game of perspectives.

Role Of Cognitive Information In Interpreting Truth

Remembering the psychologist Richard Gregory’s top-down processing theory, it can be concluded that to resolve the ambiguity of external information, the cognitive information within one’s mind plays a major role. This cognitive information is based on an individual’s past experience, knowledge and perception. The difference in opinions, agreements, debates and disagreements occur hereby. The interesting aspect is that as the mind and body develop, the perceptions fluctuate and something that was not interpreted as, for instance, ‘offensive’ or ‘pleasing’, can now become exactly that. As John Locke’s Tabula Rasa theory suggests how a human mind fills and processes information to turn from a blank slate into a book filled with new rules and data. With the ascending exposure to multiple forms of content and opinions, the public not only inculcated a sense of analysis and reasoning but also grabs every opportunity to liberally convey it into the public sphere and act upon the same accordingly.

Myntra’s success in the course of previous years is a witness to the logo creators’ intent in its creation. Even today most of the users completely disagree with the activist but society is full of a plethora of perspectives. There’s no wrong or right. This variety caused the business platform to comply with the complaint and settled to modify the logo such that it can persist in an objective manner, as much as possible and any further perplexity is eliminated.

So What Is To Be Believed?

In a nutshell, it can be said that in a world of deviance, pretention, contrasting interpretations and representations, the truth might seem like a hoax. An important recommendation, hence, is to choose the rational perspective that cannot be called truth but at least can justify the truth you choose.

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