Perceptual Blocking on a Bus ride

The most stressful a bus ride gets for me is when there's a psycho driving and I sitting up front, am witness to his insane manoeuvres on the road. I try my best not be hassled by the bus' swerving and weaving. But I tell you, at times your body involuntarily flinches as the bus gets too close to another vehicle. The best way to manage this stress, I found, is to close your eyes and let your ears tune into music from an MP3 player.

This 'defense act' of mine comes close to being termed as perceptual blocking. Note, mine is a conscious act. Perceptual Blocking is about consumers protecting themselves from being bombarded with stimuli by simply "tuning out", blocking such stimuli from conscious awareness. They do so out of self protection because of the visually overwhelming nature of the world they live in.

Perceptual blocking is one reason why marketers need to careful using, for example, fear appeal as content in their communiques. Push the fear too hard, and consumers will block out the 'fear-instilled' stimuli. That is, if the image in the advert is too macabre, then rather than shocking people into compliance, it would only have them shielding their eyes from what's featured.

Perceptual blocking is our way of ensuring that we aren't overwhelmed by all the stimuli around us. Stimuli that our senses can respond to. Its what helps us maintain a sense of balance in an otherwise uneasy world of stimuli overload.

Its also my way of ensuring I have a stress free ride on a bus.


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