Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
What is Perception

What is Perception



|Views: 523 |Likes:
Published by gohelgohel

More info:

Published by: gohelgohel on Sep 26, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





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
environmental stimulus
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
and sound. These stimuli help the baby learn to process items about their surroundings, which in turn lead to higherthought as the baby continues to develop through childhood and into adulthood.
Components of Perception are Related
It is important to understand that each process is not independent of the others in this model. All three components(learning, memory, thought) are subsets of perception. Information extraction cannot occur without these building blocks.It is also important to understand that this model is a two-way model. As learning leads to thinking, further thoughtreinforces learning. Perception is cyclical.There are several factors that can influence one's perception, which are listed by Severin and Tankard (1997), Scott andBrydon (1997) and Rice (1993). These factors are both external and internal. These are what draw attention to a subject. A discussion of each factor follows.
External Factors on Perception
Background provides the backdrop upon which humans make perceptions. For instance, in the figure to the right, itmay be difficult at first to see the word
because the background is different from what one typically expects.Backgrounds can also include noisy rooms or smoky air.
Extensity refers to an item's size. People generally notice larger items over smaller objects. Given the same color orpresentation, a larger item will be seen before a proportionately smaller item.
Intensity concerns how high above the required threshold level of perception a stimulus is. For instance, a morevividly colored photograph tends to draw attention over a muted portrait. According to Weber's Law, a stimulus mustat least reach the just noticeable difference in intensity before the individual will perceive a change. (Rice 1993)
 Abstract ideas are more difficult to understand than concrete examples. Concrete ideas explain concepts better andgenerally receive more perceptual attention than abstract ideas by reducing complexity.
Underlined typeface draws attention because of contrast; it is different than the text surrounding it. As defined byRice, contrast "can create apparent intensity of stimulus without utilizing size, loudness or colour." Contrast is differentonly when considered in its context.
What is not typical draws attention. Differences in what is considered unusual can complicate this influence onperception. However, all humans notice what is not expected over the mundane.
 Although repetition may also dull one's senses, in its initial stages repetition draws attention by repeating thestimulus. So long as that stimulus is not regularly expected, it may increase the odds for perception.
Motion tends to draw attention over stationary objects. Perceived movement may be actual or--in the case of art orphotography--simulated.
Conditioned Stimuli
Certain stimuli are ingrained into human attention. Examples of these are telephone and doorbell rings, sirens andflashing lights. Even though these stimuli are often repeated, they do not lose their effects because humans havebecome so attuned to them.
Internal Factors on Perception
Exhaustion makes humans more aware of the need for rest. Hunger alerts the desire for food. Any time a person ismotivated by an internal stimulus, they are more likely to perceive items related to that stimulus.
People in the market for a new vehicle are more likely to notice automobile advertisements. When an individual'sinterest is high for a specific item, that item is more likely to be perceived.
Need similarly draws attention to those items which are needed. Gasoline is necessary for driving, so when the fuel ina vehicle is low the driver naturally notices gas stations.
Human assumptions can sometimes affect perception. Severin and Tankard give the following example:[The monocular distorted room] is constructed so that the rear wall is a trapezoid, with the vertical distance up anddown the left edge of the wall longer than the vertical distance up and down the right edge of the wall. The rear wallis positioned at an angle so that the left edge is farther back than the right edge. This angle is carefully selected sothat the room will appear to be an ordinary rectangular room to an observer looking through a small hole at the frontof the room. If two people walk into the room and stand in the rear corners, something interesting happens. The oneon the right appears to a viewer looking through the hole to be very large because he or she is closer to the viewerand fills most of the distance from the floor to the ceiling. The one on the left appears to be very small because he orshe is farther away and fills less of the distance from the floor to the ceiling. This illusion occurs because the mind of the viewer is assuming that the rear wall is parallel to the front wall of the room. This assumption is based on priorexperience with other rooms that looked similar.
The Concept of Selective Perception
Now that a baseline understanding of perception has been set out, the concept of selective perception can be explored. Itmay first be beneficial to provide a definition of selective perception.
Selective perception 
occurs when two differentindividuals perceive a stimulus in different ways. For example, George W. Bush may be perceived by one person to be aconservative Republican, but be perceived by another as a moderate Republican. According to Assael, selective perception operates at two levels: a higher and a lower. In the case of a high-level case of selective perception humans selectively choose or expose themselves to information that confirms previous beliefs orhelps them make informed choices. Low-level selective perception occurs when humans block out information to avoidoverload. (1992)Selective perception serves at least two purposes.
Perceptual vigilance
leads individuals to the information they need or desire. Humans are constantly bombardedby information from millions of internal and external sources per day. Selective perception allows the individual to sortthrough the sensory data--either consciously or subconsciously--in order to choose the most relevant information.This is crucial to low-level processes.
Perceptual defense
helps individuals avoid cognitive dissonance by highlighting information that is contrary tofirmly-held beliefs and may be rejected. In the case of politics, this explains why most registered Democrats andRepublicans tend to vote for candidates within their party: they reduce cognitive dissonance by rejecting messagesfrom the opposition, even though those messages may be truthful.Just as perception is a superset to learning, memory and thought, selective perception is a superset to various othercomponents.The various elements of selective perception are:
selective exposure
selective attention
selective comprehension
selective retention
Selective exposure
Selective exposure is a result of deliberate human selection of input. Research shows that individuals have apredisposition towards certain stimuli in which they are interested or partial to. In fact, this reinforces the idea of selectiveperception. A study conducted by Bradley Greenberg showed a statistical significance between exposure to numerous media andindividuals who believed they were on the winning side of an election. Those who believed they were on the losing side of the election responded that they were exposed to fewer media. It may be inferred that the "winners" were reinforcingtheir beliefs by pursuing more media information, while the "losers" were avoiding cognitive dissonance by exposingthemselves to less mass communication. (1965)
Selective attention

Activity (10)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
Jeremias Ulanday liked this
rahma_aal liked this
Christy Thomas liked this
mubashir45 liked this
lyfedancer liked this
harryjosan liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->