How Perception Affects Us: The Pathways and Types of Perception - CogniFit Blog: Brain Health News (2023)

How does perception affect us? Perception is our sensory experience of the world around us. This involve recognizing environmental stimuli and the actions that are responses to those stimuli. Perception is key to gaining information and understanding the world around us. Without it, we would not be able to survive in this world filled with stimuli surrounding us. This is because perception not only molds our experience of the world but allows us to act within our environment. To learn more about the cognitive ability of perception and how perception affects us, read more below!

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How Perception Affects Us

Perception plays a pivotal role in your five senses: being able to touch, see, taste, smell, and hear. It is involved in proprioception, which is a set of senses that detect changes in body positions and movements. Also, perception plays a role in the cognitive processesthat are required for the brain to process information, like recognizing the face of someone you know or detecting familiar scents.

How Does Perception Work?

How does perception affect us? The process of perception is a series of steps that begins with the environment which leads to our perception of a stimulus, and then an action is generated in response to that stimulus. What is amazing is that this process is continual and is happening all the time, even when you’re not aware of it. Our brains take in plenty of stimuli from the environment, from the food we are tasting to the feel of the keypad we are typing on to even the birds chirping across our windows. This process takes place many times unconsciously and automatically, like when light falls on your retina and converts it into an actual image that your brain can comprehend. What the brain does in this system of perception is take in important stimuli and adapt to repetitive, unnecessary stimuli so that we are not overwhelmed with every single sensation occurring around us.

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How Perception Affects Us

The steps involved in the perceptual process are:
1. The Environmental Stimuli

This is everything in our environment that has the potential to be perceived. It could include things to be seen, touched, tasted, smelled, heard, or even received by our proprioceptive senses.

2. Transduction

These signals are then taken in from your sensory organs and then converted into messages that can be interpreted by the brain.

3. Neural Processing

While being transduced, the electrical signals follow a particular pathway depending on what signal just came in (like an auditory signal or a visual signal). Many of the neurons in your body are interconnected in their own complex maps. The electrical signals that pass through these neurons are propagated from the receptor cells to the brain.

What are the areas of the brain?

4. Perception

Here is where we get down to business. During the perception stage, we actually perceive and consciously become aware of the stimulus object that has affected us from our environment.

5. Recognition

This is where we interpret and give meaning to those environmental stimuli. Whereas perception involves us becoming aware of a stimulus present, recognition is when we actually understand that stimulus.

6. Action

As a final result, we take some sort of action in response to that environmental stimulus. Most of the time, the action phase depends on some type of motor activity that occurs in response to the perceived and recognized stimulus. This could involve a variety of actions, like turning your head when someone calls your name, chewing and swallowing your food after tasting it, and even running toward a person in distress.

How Perception Affects Us: Types of Perception

1. Depth and Spatial Perception

This is the ability for a person to perceive distance. It is extremely important for one to discern distances in the real world, like the distance between me and another person and the space between objects. Included in depth/spatial perception is the ability to perceive moving objects, like vehicles driving on roads. Factors like first, second, and third dimensions come into play in our understanding of depth perception.

Spatial perception is possible due to certain cues in our environment that help us to understand the distance between multiple objects in space. These cues are of two types:

a. Monocular Cues

These are cues that can operate with the aid of only one eye. Some of them include linear perspective, which is how we can tell if objects are close or far away. Images of objects that are far away appear smaller to us. Aerial perspective is when objects nearer to us appear clearer than distant objects. Interposition is when one object obstructs our view of another so that the object in front appears nearer than the partially covered one. Gradient structure is when the regions of objects closer to the observer have a coarse texture with plenty of details, while the objects further away from us become finer and finer.

b. Binocular Cues

These are cues that can only work with the function of both eyes. The two binocular cues are retinal disparity and convergence/divergence. Retinal disparity occurs when the image of the object that falls of both retinas is different. This happens more often when objects are closer than further away. Convergence/divergence of the eyeballs takes place when the object moves nearer and nearer to our eyes so that our eyeballs converge and when the object moves away from us, the eyeballs diverge.

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How Perception Affects Us

2. Movement Perception

We understand when objects are in movement because particular objects appear in different places at different times. This is a natural process that we learn since birth. It is only through this ability that an individual can understand the world around him or her and perceive dangers or threats in movement, which is key for survival.

In a phenomenon called apparent motion, we perceive objects as moving when really they are stationary. It becomes an illusion then, as we perceive objects that are not moving to in fact be moving. An example of this is when we are moving fast on a bus or a car and the trees, plants, and houses we pass by appear to be moving in the opposite direction. Obviously, those objects are not moving, but we perceive them as indeed in motion.

Another cool example of this is movies we watch, or what used to be called “moving pictures.” The movement of the figures in films appear to be moving, but they really are not. What movies really are are a real of film pictures moving very, very fast to produce a movement feeling known as stroboscopic motion or the phi phenomenon. It is the same case for moving-picture booklets, where the artists flips through the edges of a book and it gives the appearance of activity from the drawings.

3. Form Perception

This is the ability to recognize objects in a particular form within a certain environment. According to Gestalt psychologists, different laws govern how we perceive different patterns within space.

The law of proximity holds that when we perceive a collection of objects, we will see objects close to each other as forming a group. This also affects how we view pictures and films. If you were to magnify pictures on a computer screen to a large depth, you would see pixels forming the picture together. When we look at one complete image, we don’t see each individual pixel; rather we see it as one whole object based on the law of proximity.

The law of similarity states that elements will be grouped perceptually if they are similar to each other. Color plays a big role in this grouping. Think again to the pixels that make up a photograph. Looking closely, the pixels in one area are all similar or closely related shades of the same color to make up that one element of the image.

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How Perception Affects Us

The law of figure-ground captures the idea that when we perceive a visual field, some objects take a prominent role (the figures) while others recede into the background. For example, if you were getting a picture taken of yourself near a lake with beautiful hills and mountains behind you, then you would be the central figure of the photo, while the water, mountains, sky, and other scenery would be the ground.

The law of closure holds that when we capture objects that are not complete, we perceptually close them up so that we perceive shapes in a picture that are not actually there. A classic example of this is aligning three pac-man, incomplete circles into a pyramid and then using your perception to sense the triangle that they form, although no triangle is physically present in the picture.

How Perception Affects Us: Factors Affecting Perception

Perceptual Learning

Based on past experiences, special training, and knowledge of specific stimuli, each of us learns to emphasize certain sensory inputs and to ignore others. For example, if I am working on an assignment in my office that is due soon, my sensory apparatus is more aware of the work that is in front of me, like the computer screen, the keypad I am typing with, or the pen that I am holding, rather than focusing on the “tick-tock” sound of the clock right next to me. This is because I have been trained for years to place priorities on the immediate work in front of me rather than extenuating stimuli. Experience is always the best teacher for many perceptual skills.

Mental Set

This refers to how mentally prepared you are to receive some sensory input. Expecting specific stimuli keeps one prepared with fantastic attention and concentration. For example, if I am riding the one of the New York City subways, then I am more attentive to the rustling sound of the train approaching rather than the huge amount of noise that is coming from people playing music, children crying, and other nefarious sounds.

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How Perception Affects Us

Motives and Needs

The things you want and need will most certainly influence your perception. An example of this is a hungry person at a conference. Since he is extremely hungry, he is more likely to perceive caterers coming into the hall to set up food in the dining area than others might be. It is very difficult for his attention to be directed toward other important issues until his hunger is satisfied

Cognitive Styles

It is thought that people differ in the ways that they process information, with each of us having our own unique ways of responding to stimuli. All individuals will react to variable situations in their specific way. One thought is that people who are flexible and athletic are more attentive to external stimuli of pressure and force and they are less influenced by internal needs and motives.

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How does perception impact us? ›

Through perception, we become more aware of (and can respond to) our environment. We use perception in communication to identify how our loved ones may feel. We use perception in behavior to decide what we think about individuals and groups.

How does perception affect the brain? ›

Your brain uses perception in order to understand the information received. In simple words, the interpretation your brain makes based on what you see, hear, smell, feel, taste and how that correlates to previous memories.

What are the 4 types of perception? ›

The vast topic of perception can be subdivided into visual perception, auditory perception, olfactory perception, haptic (touch) perception, and gustatory (taste) percep- tion.

How does our own brain affect our perceptions of the world around us? ›

Once light hits the retinas at the back of our eyeballs, it's converted into an electrical signal that then has to travel to the visual processing system at the back of our brains. From there, the signal travels forward through our brains, constructing what we see and creating our perception of it.

What are 3 main influences of perception? ›

There are many factors that may influence the perceptions of the perceiver. The three major factors include motivational state, emotional state, and experience.

What are the 3 factors that influence perception? ›

One's attitudes, motivations, expectations, behavior and interests are some of the factors affecting perception.

What part of the brain controls perception? ›

It is in the primary visual cortex, located in the occipital lobes at the back of the head, that the brain first begins to assemble something that looks like an image to our conscious awareness.

How does the brain form perception? ›

Perception relies on the special senses—visual, auditory, gustatory, and olfactory. Each begins with receptors grouped together in sensory end organs, where sensory input is organized before it is sent to the brain.

What does perception mean in the brain? ›

Perception is the translation of all of this sense data into the coherent experience of reading an article. ​ Put simply, perception is the process by which the brain interprets and organizes sensory information from the environment to produce a meaningful experience of the world.

What are the 6 major principles of perception? ›

The classic principles of the gestalt theory of visual perception include similarity, continuation, closure, proximity, figure/ground, and symmetry & order (also known as prägnanz).

What are the 7 type of perception? ›

The seven perceptual modes (pathways) included in this theory are print, aural, interactive, visual, haptic, kinesthetic, and olfactory.

What are the 5 stages of perception? ›

The five stages of perception are stimulation, organization, interpretation, memory, and recall. These stages are the way for one to experience and give meaning to their surroundings.

Do your perceptions impact your life? ›

Your perceptions influence all areas of life. "The totality of your perceptions— regarding yourself, your life, life in general, others, and so on—creates and impacts your personal reality and ultimately your experience of life," Dr. Humphreys.

What is a good example of perception? ›

For example, upon walking into a kitchen and smelling the scent of baking cinnamon rolls, the sensation is the scent receptors detecting the odor of cinnamon, but the perception may be “Mmm, this smells like the bread Grandma used to bake when the family gathered for holidays.”

What has the most influence on perception? ›

Heredity, needs, peer group, interests, and expectations all influence our perception. A halo effect or reverse halo effect can also influence our perception.

How can I improve my perception? ›

We can improve our perceptions of others by developing empathetic listening skills, becoming aware of stereotypes and prejudice, and engaging in self-reflection. Perception checking is a strategy that allows us to monitor our perceptions of and reactions to others and communication.

What are the three barriers to perception? ›

In the perceptual process, several barriers can be identified that inhibit the accuracy of our perception. These barriers are (1) stereotyping, (2) selective perception, and (3) perceptual defense.

What are 3 perceptions? ›

There are different types of perceptions, major types include vision, touch, auditory, olfactory, taste, and proprioception. These work together to provide enough information for an individual to respond to their surroundings.

What are as many factors that influence your perception of a place? ›

Worldviews, and therefore our cultural identities, reflect multiple factors. Ideology, race, ethnicity, language, gender, age, religion, history, politics, social class, and economic status influence how we perceive the place where we live and other parts of the world.

Why is perception so powerful? ›

Perception is powerful because it literally dictates what reality you see and live in. Each of us live in a different reality, quite literally because of the different forms of perception that we engage the world with.

What are the 4 basic principles of person perception? ›

There are four main components of social perception: observation, attribution, integration, and confirmation. Observations serve as the raw data of social perception—an interplay of three sources: persons, situations, and behavior.

What are the 5 principles of perception? ›

These principles are divided up into five categories: proximity, similarity, continuity, connectedness, and closure. By perceiving objects as well as the world around us we reflect these Gestalt principles.

What is the basic principle of perception? ›

Our perceptions are based on perceptual hypotheses: educated guesses that we make while interpreting sensory information. These hypotheses are informed by a number of factors, including our personalities, experiences, and expectations. We use these hypotheses to generate our perceptual set.

How can I control my perception? ›

What follows are the 7 steps you can take to achieve this state, so you can focus on overcoming your obstacles, rather than reacting to them.
  1. Step 1: Steady Your Nerves. ...
  2. Step 2: Control Your Emotions. ...
  3. Step 3: Practice Objectivity. ...
  4. Step 4: Practice Contemptuous Expressions. ...
  5. Step 5: Alter Your Perspective.

What is the power of our perception? ›

Our perception defines who we believe we are, how we believe our interactions with others should go, and how we believe the world should operate. We view all experiences and conflicts through this lens. Ultimately, it is our perception of an experience that creates our feelings about it, not the event itself.

What is perception in simple words? ›

noun. the act or faculty of perceiving, or apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding. immediate or intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral, psychological, or aesthetic qualities; insight; intuition; discernment: an artist of rare perception.

Does perception require all 5 senses? ›

Most people are familiar with the five senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. But did you know that all five of your senses work together rather than separately? All five senses collaborate to feed information about our surrounding environment into the brain, a concept known as perception.

Does perception use the 5 senses? ›

Perception is dependent on the perception of signals that the five senses transmit to the brain. Each sense affects how we react to the environment and how we perceive events around us — touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing.

Does perception affect emotion? ›

Emotions are generally thought of as momentary states organized around perceptions that some event, action, or object is good or bad in some way [58]. Moods are also affective states, but whereas emotions are generally about something specific, the objects of moods, if any, are less salient.

Can perception affect personality? ›

How we perceive other people in our environment is also shaped by our values, emotions, feelings, and personality. Moreover, how we perceive others will shape our behavior, which in turn will shape the behavior of the person we are interacting with. One of the factors biasing our perception is stereotypes.

Can perception change reality? ›

Perception is not reality, but, admittedly, perception can become a person's reality (there is a difference) because perception has a potent influence on how we look at reality. Think of it this way. Perception acts as a lens through which we view reality.

What creates perception? ›

But perception is much more than a passive relay of information from your eyes and ears to your brain. Instead, your brain interprets the information sent from your sensory organs, and actively creates your perception of the world.

What does perception mean in mental health? ›

Perception can be considered as processed sensation. In other words, it is the meaning we give to sensory input, based on current context, past (learned) experiences, current emotional state etc. Abnormal perceptual experiences form part of the clinical picture of many mental disorders.

What is a negative example of perception? ›

For example, you may think you're confident, but others may see you as arrogant. You may think you are shy but others see you as aloof. These dissonances, as they're often called by psychologists, are painful.

What is perception and why is it important to us? ›

Perception is the process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting information. This process affects our communication because we respond to stimuli differently, whether they are objects or persons, based on how we perceive them.

What role does perception play in society? ›

Social perception refers to identifying and utilizing social cues to make judgments about social roles, rules, relationships, context, or the characteristics (e.g., trustworthiness) of others.

Why is perception important in the real world? ›

Amazingly, our senses have the ability to convert real-world information into electrical information that can be processed by the brain. The way we interpret this information-- our perceptions-- is what leads to our experiences of the world.

What part of the brain controls time perception? ›

Dorsolateral prefrontal right cortex is considered as the region most involved in time perception.

What are five things that affect our perceptions? ›

Heredity, needs, peer group, interests, and expectations all influence our perception. A halo effect or reverse halo effect can also influence our perception.

How do people form perceptions? ›

Obviously, person perception is a very subjective process that can be affected by a number of variables. Factors that can influence the impressions you form of other people include the characteristics of the person you are observing, the context of the situation, your own personal traits, and your past experiences.

How perception makes the difference? ›

People perceive things differently. We choose to select different aspects of a message to focus our attention based on what interests us, what is familiar to us, or what we consider important. Often, our listening skills could use improvement. Listening and thinking are directly related.

What is perception in human behavior? ›

By perception, we mean the process by which one screens, selects, organizes, and interprets stimuli to give them meaning. It is a process of making sense out of the environment in order to make an appropriate behavioral response.

How does perception affect morality of a person? ›

Moral perception is a term used in ethics and moral psychology to denote the discernment of the morally salient qualities in particular situations. Moral perceptions are argued to be necessary to moral reasoning (see practical reason), the deliberation of what is the right thing to do.

How do you change your perception? ›

How to change perceptions
  1. Ask for more feedback. Avoid the temptation to dismiss what the person is saying, even if it does not align with your perspective. ...
  2. Reveal your intentions. ...
  3. Try feed-forward techniques.

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