Summary of Perception Training Exercises LO2936

Effective Organizational Systems (
Mon, 25 Sep 1995 10:02:44 -0700

Here is the summary to my pposting on perception training exercises.
Thanks to all who made suggestions, I greatly appreciated your input.
Sincerely, Valerio.

Mime-Version: 1.0
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 1995 18:49:34 -0400
From: (Angela Farrar)

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People there's an old woman/young
woman exercise that really makes this point. I think you can find the same
exercise (and similar ones) in the The Annual by Pfeffier and Company.
Angela L. Farrar
School of HR&RM
Penn State University
201 Mateer
University Park PA 16803-1307

From: eyress@ERE.UMontreal.CA (Eyres Stephen) Subject: Templates: Pascotto
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 1995 09:13:00 -0400 (EDT) MIME-Version: 1.0

Hello, Valerio:
I saw your posting on HRNet about templates. May we substitute schemata for
the term?
Here's a simple exercise I used when teaching about schemata and perception.
Prepare a list of randomly ordered items commonly found on a car. Perhaps
about 20 items

exhaust pipe
steering wheel
rear-view mirror

Inform the group that you are going to read a list of objects aloud, that
they are not to take any notes, and that at the end there will be a short
quiz about what they can recall. Do not tell them that the list is about a
car--obviously they'll figure that out for themselves.

Ask for public recall of items and watch for intrusions of unmentioned
items: schema theorists will suggest that what is happening is that when
they cannot remember, participants will employ the schema to fill in
gaps--even with things they have not seen/heard.

Schank and Abelson's book on performances and scripts also uses the
restaurant script as a classic example of how scripts may affect our

The implications of such schemata/templates for organizational activities
such as performance appraisal, appraisal of presentations, etc are
tremendous. I'd be interested in hearing about your presentation.


Stephen A.T. Eyres
Canadian Forces
Management Development School
St-Jean Garrison
Richelain, Quebec
J0J 1R0

Date: 11 Sep 1995 08:55:41 -0500
From: "Roger Berg" <>
Subject: Re: Perception training exer

Reply to: RE>Perception training exercises

You made me think of someone I met five years ago at an NSPIU confference.
She had worked for a trucking company and she was trying to train/convince
some drivers to use an understand a newer pay/incentive sysysem. She used a
series of optical illusion( not those damn hidden figures that I can never
see) to get the group to reaize that there can be more than one point of view.
She found that they helped create a receptive response set to the new plan.

Roger Berg

From: "Cynthia Stevens" <>
Organization: College of Business, U of Maryland
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 17:26:41 EST
Subject: Perceptions Training Exercise
Priority: normal

I designed a larger workshop on giving performance
appraisal feedback that included a component similar to the one you
describe. In that component, I included: a homework exercise that
asked True/False questions about truth/perceptions, the old
woman/young lady visual illusion (this group of managers had no
college education & most hadn't seen the illusion before, so it was
effective), and a case that I developed based on an actual incident
in the company. I developed two versions of the same incident (a
new employee who had an accident due to lack of proper training on
how to load equipment): one version told the story from the
employee's manager's point of view (the employee was not his first
choice for the job, the employee seemed to want the manager to "hold
his hand," the employee had 7 years of experience as a truck driver &
should not require so much training) and the other version told the
story from the point of view of another manager who had talked to the
employee about the accident (the new employee had never loaded heavy
equipment in his previous truck driving job, the employee was "told
off" by his manager when he asked for clarification about how to load
the equipment, the employee had shown initiative after the accident
in providing customer service).

I don't know if that's the sort of thing you're looking for. If you
think it would be helpful, I could provide you with copies of the
exercises & cases; just let me know your mailing address.
Cynthia Kay Stevens
College of Business Management
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
301-405-2233 (phone)
301-314-9157 (fax)

Date: 15 Sep 95 15:23:41 EDT
From: Wendy Hardman <>
To: Effective Organizational Systems <>
Subject: Perception training exercises

I use a wonderful tape called ZEA that is only about 3-4 minutes long. It's a
picture with music, no words and is very hard to determine what it is. At the
end you realize it's a close up of popcorn popping. Very clever and well done.
I stop periodically to ask what the audience thinks it is.
I'll have to get the reference for you if you're interested. Let me know.

Wendy Hardman

Organization: University of Leeds
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 18:26:54 GMT0BST
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises
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I use an overhead of a picture from the TAT series (ambiguous
situations), which shows a male and female in the foreground,
touching, and a (picture of a ?)female in the background. I then ask
the audience to think about who these people are, what is their
relationship, whats happening, etc,., then switch off the ohp, and
say:'Well you've had at least 30 secs to look at the scene and
interpret whats happening - we make maore important decisions in even
less time, with me it just takes a limp handshake!-not that I'm
prejudiced of course-. I then ask them in groups of 3 to each
explain whats happening to others in the group. This is typically
followed in a minute or so by gaffaws of laughter - I then invite
individuals to tell me whats happening-loads of different
interpretions. I then tellthem that I'm really surprised that they
got it wrong , and proceed to give my outragoeus version (keeping a
straight face). For some groups you may need to explain that you're
only kidding-I find it a fun and powerful exercise.
Good luck!
Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe PhD
Nuffield Institute for Health
University of Leeds
Clarendon Road
Tel: +44(0)113 233 6976
Fax: +44(0)133 246 0899

Posted-Date: 19 Sep 1995 06:48:19 -0700
Date: 19 Sep 1995 06:48:19 -0700
From: "Steve Nichols" <>
Subject: Perception Material
To: "Valerie Pascotto" <>

Saw your posting on TRDEV-L. Suggest you check out Joel Arthur Barker's
first video on paradigms. It has some excellent exercises and case studes
that demonstrate how peceptions influence decision making and cloud the facts.

Date: Tue, 19 Sep 1995 09:24:03 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Jennifer S. Shinn" <>
To: Effective Organizational Systems <>
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises
MIME-Version: 1.0

Hi - I don't know how 'hip' you want to be in your presentation style,
but I participated in a very effective session using sections of the
movie 'Working Girl' starring Melanie Griffeth. About two years ago, I
also previewed a video for cultural diversity initiative (can't remember the
name) that showed stills and video of different individuals and then
asked viewers to come to some conclusions. The facilitator then asked the
group for their perceptions
and finally shared the real story behind the photo/video of the person.
It was very effective. Hope this is close to what you are looking for.

Jennifer Shinn 222 Administration Bldg.
Employee Development Manager Fayetteville, AR 72701
University of Arkansas 501.575.4432

"... guts, intelligence, and heart ... the most important being heart."

Date: Tue, 19 Sep 1995 08:04:32 PST
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises
Priority: normal

> Reply-to: Effective Organizational Systems <>

A good activity to bring the issue of perception into focus is BAFA
BAFA. It's an intercultural communication activity. Participants
learn one of two cultures and then visit the other culture.
Participant perceptions of the visited culture are reliably filtered
through the newly learned culture.

The activity is commercially available. The company is in San Diego,
CA. I think it's called Simile II.

Good luck.

Evan K. Friedman, Associate Trainer
Experiential Learning Center
School of Business Administration
University of Southern California
LA, CA 90089-1421

Date: Tue, 19 Sep 1995 11:24:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises

As a conflict management trainer, I spend much of my time helping
participants understand that their "personal screen" influences how they
perceive conflicts and solutions. One of my favorite exercises is a simple
word game.
Prepare a visual with the following words:


The accompanying story: the above message is found on the beach. What are
the stranded people trying to convey?
Answers: Help is nowhere OR Help is now here. Im always intriqued by who
see which answer. Seems to indicate something, hmmm.

Hope this is helpful.

Dina Beach Lynch
Odyssey Seminars
Conflict Management Training
171 Walnut St. Ste. 10
Boston, MA 02122-3635
617 287-0347 voice & fax
*Training for Life*

X-Sender: gmiller@Direct.CA
Mime-Version: 1.0
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 1995 12:22:11 -0700
From: gmiller@Direct.CA (Greg Miller)
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises

One of my favorite video presentations on perception and template comes from
Joel Barker. The video is called "The Business of Paradigms" and is
available from Charthouse International. It is distributed in Canada by
International Tele-Film (416) 629-3133.
The clip from that video that has worked best for me is a demonstration with
a deck of cards. Barker says the idea came from Kuhn in his book "The
Structure of Scientific Revolutions". The card deck has been altered to
have black hearts and red spades. When the cards are shown one at a time
for very short time it turns out to be very easy to see the "correct" cards
and difficult to see the "wrong" cards, because of our paradigm (or
template) about what we expect to see.
I have shown the video to a number of groups and it is the part that has the
most impact. I hope this is helpful!

Greg Miller
Staff Development Consultant
BC Region - Agriculture Canada
gmiller@Direct.Ca - (604) 666-8232

The Stephen Covey 7 Habits program divides the class into two parts.
One half the class is shown a sketch of an old woman, the other half
is shown a sketch of a young woman. Then, the whole class is shown
a sketch that can be interpreted either as an old woman or as a
young woman. Of course, neither is "right nor wrong", just different.
Different people see different things even when looking at the same
thing. This is part of Covey's preparation for people to accept that
we have paradigms and we should be able to acknowledge them and be
ready to listen to others who may have their own paradigms.

Pam Albin

Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 00:12:54 -0400
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises

There is a famous black and white picture that is often used for this kind of
thing. It is an optical illusion. If you look at it one way, it looks like a
beautiful young woman. If you look at it another way, it looks like an old

You could give the participants some background information to read. They
will not know that half the people in the room got information describing
person A as being a good, honest type while the other half of the room got
background information saying that person A was a cheat and someone who lies.
Stage an argument between person A and person B. Have them storm out of the
room. Then ask the participants what happened, who was right and who was
wrong, etc.

---Caryn Siegel
cjs Consulting

Subject: Re: Perception training exercises
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 95 8:20:02 EDT
From: "John T. Hutton" <>

Valerie, I recommend the video "Brain Power" from the Learning
Corporation of America. John Housman narrates the discussion on
three principles of perception (recognition, interpretation and
expectation). It's based on a book by the same name by Carl

Date: Thu, 21 Sep 1995 15:40:00 -0500 (CDT)
From: Tobin Quereau <>
To: Effective Organizational Systems <>
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises LO2850
MIME-Version: 1.0

In response to your request for videos, etc., on perception, I can recall
a few interesting things that I have used in the past.

1. In the Eye of the Beholder. A video with an unusual approach to
demonstrating the lenses different people have when observing a single
situation. I don't remember who it is distributed by.

2. A video from CRM/McGraw-Hill (I think) titled "Perception" with a
subtitle possibly.

3. A video called "The Pygmalian Factor" or something like that.

4. An excellent and inexpensive video from the Annenburg/CPB Collection
titled "A Private Universe". This $40.00 video demonstrates very
powerfully how our internal mental models impact our ability to perceive
and integrate new information regardless of intelligence or educational
level. It comes with an instructor's manual and can be ordered by calling
1 (800) LEARNER (532-7637). I highly recommend it.

Tobin Quereau


I can't recall any specific one right now, but there are many excellent
experiential training aids on the perception issue you described above in
the field of intercultural training. I used to do a lot of intercultural
training, and what your said about judgments ("avoid judgments and the
pursuit of "right and wrong") is the most important basis of effective
intercultural communication. You can contact publishers specializing in
this field such as Intercultural Press to see if they can recommend any
training aids.
I would be intersted in seeing what other recommend. Please post a summary.

Hannah Robinson

Date: Thu, 21 Sep 1995 08:56:15 -0700
From: Jacqueline Lizar <jlizar@JLC.COM>
Subject: Perception training exercises -Reply

Good day.
Although this exercise was originally tailored for demonstrating
the communication challenges, it could easily be modified for
your purposes simply by changing the pause questions and
considerations. By the way, thanks to ??? from this list who gave
me the idea for using planes and air traffic controllers for an
exercise like this. Good luck.

Jacqueline Lizar
Jostens Learning
Customer Support Services
Training Manager

Communications Exercise

Rules of the Game

The objective of the game is to land your respective aircraft (or to
be landed) safely and efficiently.

Each person is designated to be either an air traffic controller or
an airplane (max. 3 airplanes per controller). Airplanes are
blindfolded. Air traffic controllers and airplanes are placed
around the room. The airplanes will not be allowed to talk. Air
traffic controllers will guide the airplanes to a safe landing. There
will be obstacles around the room. Bumping into them would be
bad for the customers and will cause a delay in the arrival time of
the plane (i.e., facilitator detains airplane or walks them to a
more distant location). NOTE: Depending on numbers of
people, this can take up to 20 minutes to setup. It is a good idea
to have an assistant to help in both setup and policing quality
during the exercise.

The facilitator will have pause exercises and stop questions
during the run of the game. Pause exercises may include the
use of more effective ways to communicate and creative
approaches as well as recognizing what does work. Some stop
provoking questions are: If you are a front line person, can you
see what might be frustrating your attempts? What is working?
What is not working?

Front line people must often perform in the midst of chaos and
land the plane. In other words, walk in their shoes.
Efficiency - The sooner you land the plane the better because
more are coming in.
Quality - Delays will occur when airplanes bump into things.
Multi-task - If you dare--can you handle more than one thing at a
time? And if so, at what sacrifice? Who will suffer or get the
short end?
How good a communicator are you?
How much initiative will you take when risk is involved?
What about quality vs. efficiency trade offs?

Mime-Version: 1.0
To: Effective Organizational Systems <>
From: (Kim Allen)
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 16:56:55 -0700

>I am interested in any information on exercises, videos, movie clips that
>would facilitate an experiential learning on how often perceptions depend
>on the template used by the observer. I am putting together a workshop and
>would like to have the participants be motivated to avoid judgments and the
>pursuit of "right and wrong", but rather appreciate and stay aware of the
>subjective nature of their perceptions. I will be glad to provide a
>summary of the responses. Many thanks. Sincerely: Valerio Pascotto,

I invite you to visit our (Institute of HeartMath) Web site
( The training and research we do is all
about how to use the power of the heart to shift perceptions, stay neutral,
stop judgments, manefest your core valuse, etc.

Take a look and if you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.

Good luck, KIM

Kim Allen P.O. Box 1463 408-338-8700
Institute of HeartMath 14700 West Park Ave. 408-338-9861 fax
A nonprofit corporation Boulder Creek, CA 95006

From: Andrea Joy Butt <>
Subject: Perception training exercises LO2850 (fwd)
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 15:17:06 -0700 (PDT)
MIME-Version: 1.0

Hi there,
I don't have any information for you really but do have an inquiry! I've
been attempting to locate exercises that help people learn about
projection and transference. Has any of the responses you've received
also dealt with or seen to deal with these topics. I seem to notice
somewhat of an overlap. Also, this may help, most of the exercises I've
found come from the Pfeiffer Annuals. They're really great books. If
you need more info, just let me know!

Andrea Butt
MBA Candidate
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC
V5A 1S6

From: Jeffrey T Agnoli <>
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 12:26:44 -0400 (EDT)
MIME-Version: 1.0

May I suggest that you contact your local univeristies, International programs
office, their you will find a variety of cross cultural exercises which teach
the very obhjectives you are seeking. Good luck,
and thanks

From: "Barry Mallis" <>
Date: 19 Sep 1995 08:26:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises LO2874

Reply to: RE>Perception training exercises LO2850

To Valerio Pascotto, I suggest a catalog of excellent videotapes on a wide
spectrum of "training topics":

Video Arts
8614 W. Catalpa Avenue
Chicago, IL 60656 USA

The British actor John Cleese is a co-founder of Video Arts.

Good luck,
Barry Mallis

- --

From: "John O'Neill" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 95 11:34:47 +1000
Subject: Re: Perception training exercises LO2884

Replying to LO2868 --

You note that your workshop focuses on avoiding judgments and the pursuit
of "right and wrong." To that end I would offer up a very valuable
observation I learned from a former AT&T executive who was not American by
birth. He noted that american management often rushes, when faced with a
choice, to assume that in an "a" "b" choice, one MUST choose between the
two. More often than not the most beneficial choice is to find a way to
choose BOTH "a" and "b". Such a middle ground avoids the fruitless
pursuit of "what is right" and "what is wrong."

I have tried this mental frame on numerous occasions. Regardless of how I
frame the choice, the basic assumption is that one MUST choose between an
"a" and "b" alternative. I have yet to see either an individual or group
voluntarily explore the option of going with an "a + b" option. Most
managers feel that they prove their insight or intellectual horsepower by
the ever so clever route they pursued in reaching the conclusion to select
"a" vs "b." In most of these instances a better choice would have been
the "A+B" option. Unfortunately most decision makers assume that this
most profitable middle ground is not a legitimate choice.

If you can see the value in this oft neglected option, you might have some
fun with your students in demonstrating how we rush to judgement when
there is no need to judge, or that we waste valuable resources in the
pursuit of " right vs wrong" when the most viable alternative is to opt
for a middle ground into which all participants can buy in.

I hope this helps you with your group exercise !


- --

Bruce and Valerio:

I wonder if you ever heard the joke about there being two kinds of people
in the world: those who dichotomize and those who don't? To which one
person opined that there really are three kinds of people in the world:
Those who can count and those who can't.

- --
David Markham

Date: Mon, 25 Sep 95 08:19:20 PDT
X-To: HERMES::""
Subject: RE: Perception training exercises


I would recommend an activity referred to as "Sherlock Holmes". It is
an excellent way to show participants that the perception they see through
really effects what they see. In the activity, participants read a
description of an office and see a drawing of that office. They then
write down their perceptions about the person who occupies the office.
The activity is designed so that there is a lot of information that might
cause you to think of this person as male, female, sexist, nice, mean, etc.
I am currently using the activity in a communications course and it is
excellent. High energy and really demonstrates its point.
You can find the exercise in the Structured Experience Kit. If you would like
a copy, please send me your address or fax number.

Kristin Johnson
Intel Training