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In psychology and the cognitive sciences, perception is the process of getting, interpreting, selecting, and organizing sensory information. It includes the collection of data from sense organs through to the interpretation made by the brain. Consider this: Light rays enter our eyes, and the brain works on this information to build up our mental picture of what is going on "out there". Perception is a lot more than just "information coming in". It is an active process.
There are many ways to study perception. There are biological or physiological approaches, psychological approaches through the philosophy of mind and experiments. There are studies by philosophers such as David Hume, John Locke, George Berkeley.
History of the study of perception
Perception is one of the oldest fields of scientific psychology, and there are many theories about how it works. The Weber-Fechner law quantifies the relationship between the intensity of physical stimuli and their perceptual effects. It was the study of perception that gave rise to the Gestalt school of psychology, with its emphasis on holistic approach.
References and more reading
- The word perception comes from the Latin perception-, percepio and means "receiving, collecting, action of taking possession, apprehension with the mind or senses."—OED.com.
- Arnheim R. 1969. Visual thinking. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24226-5.
- Flanagan J.R., Lederman S.J. 2001.Neurobiology: Feeling bumps and holes, News and Views, Nature, 412(6845):389–91.
- Gregory R.L. 1966. Eye and Brain: the psychology of seeing. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 5th edition 1997, Oxford University Press/Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-04837-1
- Gregory R.L. 1981. Mind in Science: a history of explanations of psychology and physics. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson; USA: CUP. Paperback, Peregrine.
- Popper A.N. & Platt C. 1993. Inner ear and lateral line of bony fishes. In Evans D.H. The Physiology of Fishes. CRC Press. pp. 99–136. ISBN 978-0-8493-8042-6
- Robles-De-La-Torre, G. The importance of the sense of touch in virtual and real environments. IEEE Multimedia 13(3), Special issue on Haptic User Interfaces for Multimedia Systems, pp. 24–30 (2006).