People tend to think of perception as a passive process. We see, hear, smell, taste or feel stimuli that impinge upon our senses. We think that if we are at all objective, we record what is actually there. Yet perception is demonstrably an active rather than a passive process; it constructs rather than records "reality." Perception implies understanding as well as awareness. It is a process of inference in which people construct their own version of reality on the basis of information provided through the five senses.
This tendency of people to perceive what they expect to perceive is more important than any tendency to perceive what they want to perceive. In fact, there is no real tendency toward wishful thinking. The commonly cited evidence supporting the claim that people tend to perceive what they want to perceive can generally be explained equally well by people see what they expect to see.
Do you agree with me that people see what they expect to see?