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We have now reached the stage of the Perception Model that shows all of our developed capacities – at least as far as any everyday discussion of ourselves is concerned. As adults, we all have sensations, thoughts, feelings, characters, memories and unconscious promptings. We can both use these capabilities and talk about them. When we stop to think about it, we all have both personal concerns and ideas about our identity too– what we care about, worry about – who we are and might wish to be.

The point about a holistic model is that it does not start by reducing things to components and generalising from these to reach explanations of why we do the things we do. It certainly acknowledges that we are complicated, but asks questions like: ‘how do all these capabilities work together? In what circumstances are some dominant or recessive? How much are we individually different or similar? How can we help people to recognise & describe emotional effects? How can we think about and work through these phenomena together to increase our understanding?’

And most importantly for marketers, advertisers and researchers – ‘how does sensation, information and emotion travel through this psyche and what effects can we expect?’ Neuroscientists are fond of wiring people up, mainly to EEG’s or fMRI scanners to look at these issues and they do generate some fascinating pictures:

Brain scan

But the finding that abuse affects development is as easily reached by observing and talking to these children as by scanning their brains (another form of abuse?)

And by observing and talking to them, I contend you will get much more information about how they respond to the world and what they need to develop than you will from this lights on/lights off picture. I admit that these pictures are strangely beautiful, even fascinating, but when it comes to the Hard Question: ‘what do they mean?’ we fall back to language and opinion based on interpretations. We have known for 2,000 years that traumatic events dampen affect. The issue is how to restore a full range of emotional capabilities and the integration of these into everyday life – and to do this we need to work with the whole person. That is why I have incorporated learnings and practice from my experiences as a psychotherapist into qualitative work.

In the next series of posts I will take you through my Perception Model and show you how to use it in your inquiries and studies. I will show you how you can work with the different elements of psychological events to improve your insights. As always the start of our inquiry will be looking at ourselves a bit more closely. Remember the adage: ‘anything you can’t be with in yourself, you will be unable to be with in others!’