Observer effect

I was aware of the observer effect before, but I began to think about it in depth after we’ve discussed it in class. The fact that our behavior changes when others are observing us is quite obvious. When we are aware of other’s presence, we tend to act carefully since we don’t want to give bad impression to the observers. Reality shows on television consider observer effect too: since there are viewers, and program directors can gain more profit when more people watch their programs, they tend to concentrate on aesthetic or auditory values that can be shown through videos or images. Recently I’ve watched a documentary called “True taste show” which reveals how reality television food shows are made. When food shows show us the restaurant, how foods are made and how popular it is, most of the viewers just accept that information as true. However, in “True taste show” it shows how the director tells people lines to say, such as: “the perfect harmony of this and that is heavenly.” Some of the customers of restaurants were paid to give various reactions and positive comments, no matter how good the food was. The cooks, restaurant, and even the foods didn’t exist prior to the show. People were hired to act as cooks, an abandoned place was quickly remodeled to look like a proper restaurant, and foods were improvised and didn’t necessarily taste good. Some customers in the restaurant were asked to make positive comment about the food that they haven’t tried before. This underlying scheme of food shows is motivated by profit, but it is another observer effect in essence. Because there are ‘observers’, who can even bring some profit, people act differently or even make up false situation for their benefits. But even without the profit motivation, people still try to control their behavior and conceal their true natures in front of the observers. I got very confused at the end, because this shows us that character of people we observe is not always true. It seems like the more we know about the nature of truth the further we are getting away from the truth.

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1 comment to Observer effect

  • Jessica

    It does seem like the more we journey on, the more we are further away from the end of this TOK journey, but we are actually sailing onward! Just think about quantum theorem, a particle can be in many places at the same time and that means that you can be many places at the same time. It is quite difficult to make sense of that. Moreover, everyone’s way of perceiving the world can be different to your own. So what does the world look like to other people? Is my color blue same as your color blue? Moreover, our brain is set in a way that perceives and senses only the things that are useful to us. For instance, we feel that the table is hard but it is mostly empty space. And there is a story I have to add. People cannot or may not be able to perceive things that they are not used to. The Native americans couldn’t see the European fleets when the fleets first appeared on the horizon. This is because they have no knowledge about ships. They knew there were something there because of the waves I think. It was after days and days of observing that one Native American was finally able to see the European fleet. (I watched this from TOK-ish movie with my brother.) So I am afraid there may be objects, figure or even spirits around me that I cannot perceive (but they are there).

    I think it can be disturbing or frustrating or even “scary” to learn these new things in TOK, but I am definitely enjoying it as well. (Wooo Jennifer, I think there is an alien behind you but you can’t see it) :P

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