Psychology of Perception

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Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information to represent and understand the environment.

We have confirmation biases caused by our perception bias.

All perception involves signals in the nervous system, resulting from physical stimulation of the sense organs.

For example, vision involves light striking the eyes’ retinas, odour molecules mediate the smell, and hearing involves pressure waves.

Perception involves these from the top-down effects and the bottom-up process of processing sensory input.

The “bottom-up” processing is low-level information used to build up higher-level knowledge (for example, shapes for object recognition).

The “top-down” processing refers to a person’s concept and expectations (knowledge) that influence perception.

Perception depends on the nervous system’s complex functions but subjectively seems mostly effortless because this processing happens outside conscious awareness.

The most exciting thing about our perception is how our conscious and unconscious mind perceives the world around us day-to-day.

Conscious Mind 

Our conscious mind brings five percent of the total information we perceive.

The other ninety-five percent is through our unconscious mind.

Our conscious mind is the information we pick up well awake of the things we are vividly aware of through all senses at any given time.

Well, our unconscious mind perceives and processes events beyond conscious perception.

The conscious mind is not aware of the unconscious mind.

It’s impossible to remember everything we have learned consciously.

Most of our learnings are transferred to the unconscious mind.

When a person is asleep, it is the brain’s time to process the day’s information.

The act of dreaming is simply thinking about our usual concerns in a different state of consciousness.

Dreams can be beneficial for problems that require creativity or visualization to solve.

By thinking about specific dilemmas before bed, we can increase our chances of dreaming of a solution.

Dreams occur in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, during which the brain is just as active as when we are awake.

People average 3-5 dreams per night, and one can control these dreams through lucid dreaming.

We will do an entire blog dedicated just to lucid dreaming later.

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Perception and Psychology

Perception is one of the oldest fields in psychology.

The oldest quantitative law in psychology is the Weber-Fechner law, which quantifies the relationship between physical stimuli’ intensity and perceptual effects (for example, testing how much darker a computer screen can get before the viewer notices).

The study of perception gave rise to the Gestalt school of psychology, emphasizing a holistic approach.

Since the rise of experimental psychology in the late 19th Century, psychology’s understanding of perception has progressed by combining various techniques.

Psycho-physics measures the effect on the perception of varying the physical qualities of the input.

Sensory neuroscience studies the brain mechanisms underlying perception.

Perceptual systems can also be studied computationally regarding the information they process.

Perceptual issues in philosophy include how sensory qualities such as sounds, smells or colours exist in objective reality rather than the interpreter’s mind.

An interesting fact about colours is they are an illusion our brains are made up.

Although we all see the same colours, the shades vary from person to person. For example, the human eye can detect approximately 600 shades of brown alone.

One of my favourite psychologists I recently read about is James Gibson, born in the early 20th Century, who helped revolutionize psychology as we know it today.

An ecological understanding of perception derived from Gibson’s early work is that of “perception-in-action,” the notion that perception is a requisite property of animate action; without perception, action would be unguided. Without effort, perception would serve no purpose.

This is because animate actions require both perception and motion, and perception and movement can be described as “two sides of the same coin, the coin is action.”

Gibson works from the assumption that singular entities, which he calls “invariants,” already exist in the real world and that all that the perception process does is to home in upon them.

The Brains Systems 

The brain’s perceptual systems enable individuals to see the world around them as stable, even though the sensory information may be incomplete and rapidly varying.

Human and animal brains are structured differently, with different areas processing sensory information.

Some of these modules take the form of sensory maps, mapping some aspects of the world across parts of the brain’s surface.

These different modules are interconnected and influence each other.

For instance, the taste is strongly influenced by its odour.

Although the senses were traditionally viewed as passive receptors, the study of illusions and ambiguous images has demonstrated that the brain’s perceptual systems actively and per-consciously attempt to make sense of their input.

However, there is still active debate about how perception is a dynamic process of hypothesis testing, analogous to science, or whether realistic sensory information is rich enough to make this process unnecessary.

There is strong evidence that the brain, in some ways, operates on a slight “delay” to allow nerve impulses from distant parts of the body to be integrated into simultaneous signals.

Technically this makes it impossible to live in the present, and I was always slightly living in the past with this delay…LOL.

Human genetics, on average, are 99.9% the same.

Although the way we perceive things from one another is different and will never and can’t be duplicated.

We’re not as different from one another as much as some want to believe.

It’s up to us, the person, how we want to shape our individuality.

There are two types of people, leaders and followers.

What type of person are you?

Dean Mathers

Editor-in-chief

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