What is Perception
Perception is our sensory experience of the world around us and involves both the recognition of environmental stimuliand actions in response to these stimuli. Through the perceptual process, we gain information about properties andelements of the environment that are critical to our survival. Perception not only creates our experience of the worldaround us; it allows us to act within our environment.
The Perceptual Process
The perceptual process is a sequence of steps that begins with the environment and leads to our perception of a stimulusand an action in response to the stimulus.
The Environmental Stimulus
The world is full of stimuli that can attract our attention through various senses. The
iseverything in our environment that has the potential to be perceived.
Introduction and Purpose
Perception seems to be an elusive term to define. The mere concept of perception appears to be common sense on itssurface, but proves difficult to comprehend the deeper one examines the idea. In fact, perception can be
inseveral different ways. The purpose of this paper is to:
define and explore the concept of perception,
list factors that influence perception,
define and investigate selective perception and its elements and
discuss selective perception's relevance to the profession of advertising.
A Definition of Perception
In large part, the extent of a discussion of perception is determined by the definition one uses in their discussion. For thepurposes of this paper, the author will use a definition proposed by Forgus and Melamed: "
the process of information extraction
." (1976)Forgus and Melamed based their description of perception on cognitive structures. These are the processes thatdetermine how humans interpret their surroundings. Humans interpret their surroundings on a "higher" level than thoseof animals, which perceive the world in terms of stimulus-response or reflex-tropistic actions. Humans, on the other hand,perceive their world through information processing.Because all humans extract information from their environment through the same general process, Forgus and Melamedproposed that scientists must pursue the concept of perception by the avenue of information processing. This approachmakes perception the central step in the acquisition of knowledge and higher thought. Perception is the "superset,"composed of learning, memory and thinking as "subsets" of perception.This understanding requires a more in-depth understanding of the relationship between learning and perception.
Learning Changes Perception
Because of the assumption that learning is a subset of perception, it must also be assumed the process of learning affectsthe perception of the individual.
is defined by Forgus and Melamed as "the process by which this information isacquired through experience and becomes part of the organism's storage of facts in memory." (1976) These stored factsin memory then facilitate increased perception by the individual. The chain begins at the stimulus affecting the individual,which triggers learning, which furthers thought. The following graphic demonstrates this. As shown in the previous graphic, thinking is considered the highest perceptual process.
is defined as theprocess occuring when an individual is solving problems. Forgus and Melamed's definition of perception links thinking,learning and perception.This idea of perception as being composed of learning, memory and thinking helps to explain the development of anindividual's higher concepts such as language and mathematics, which affect the individual's ability to further perceivetheir environment. For example, a baby's perception of the world is initially limited to physical stimuli such as touch, light