Chapter 1

Our Perception is Biased


What we perceive is not an accurate reflection of our environment. It is biased by at least three factors: past experience, current context, and future goals. This chapter discusses these factors in detail, gives examples of how they bias perception, and explains their implications for designing interactive systems.


perception; bias; priming; frames; habituation; attentional blink; context; optical illusion; Müller–Lyer; McGurk effect; goals; cocktail-party effect; ambiguity

Our perception of the world around us is not a true depiction of what is actually there. Our perceptions are heavily biased by at least three factors:

• The past: our experience

• The present: the current context


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