What is Perception: Definition and 137 Discussions

Perception (from the Latin perceptio, meaning gathering or receiving) is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment.All perception involves signals that go through the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sensory system. For example, vision involves light striking the retina of the eye; smell is mediated by odor molecules; and hearing involves pressure waves.
Perception is not only the passive receipt of these signals, but it's also shaped by the recipient's learning, memory, expectation, and attention. Sensory input is a process that transforms this low-level information to higher-level information (e.g., extracts shapes for object recognition). The process that follows connects a person's concepts and expectations (or knowledge), restorative and selective mechanisms (such as attention) that influence perception.
Perception depends on complex functions of the nervous system, but subjectively seems mostly effortless because this processing happens outside conscious awareness.Since the rise of experimental psychology in the 19th century, psychology's understanding of perception has progressed by combining a variety of techniques. Psychophysics quantitatively describes the relationships between the physical qualities of the sensory input and perception. Sensory neuroscience studies the neural mechanisms underlying perception. Perceptual systems can also be studied computationally, in terms of the information they process. Perceptual issues in philosophy include the extent to which sensory qualities such as sound, smell or color exist in objective reality rather than in the mind of the perceiver.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 pre-consciously attempt to make sense of their input. There is still active debate about the extent to which perception is an active process of hypothesis testing, analogous to science, or whether realistic sensory information is rich enough to make this process unnecessary.The perceptual systems of the brain enable individuals to see the world around them as stable, even though the sensory information is typically incomplete and rapidly varying. Human and animal brains are structured in a modular way, with different areas processing different kinds of sensory information. Some of these modules take the form of sensory maps, mapping some aspect of the world across part of the brain's surface. These different modules are interconnected and influence each other. For instance, taste is strongly influenced by smell."Percept" is also a term used by Deleuze and Guattari to define perception independent from perceivers.

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  1. A

    Help, can't visualize a fantasy worldbuilding mechanic

    Hi I have a problem related to an aspect of fantasy worldbuilding. I'll do my best to explain the issue but it has been rattling around in my head for about a decade so I'm sorry if some things are missed or misexplained as aspects of it are very obvious to me and therefore may be lacking in...
  2. L

    B What would happen to perception if temperatures almost reached absolute zero?

    Say there was something that made the temperature of the universe almost absolute zero, but around you was a mini bubble where the temperature was normal, and therefore molecules could move normally around you for a small area. How would you perceive the world around you outside of the little...
  3. T

    I How does our brain differentiate between a source of light and a painted circle?

    I approach a traffic light. It is red. I know it is a light. What is happening in my brain to inform me that I am looking at a red light, and not a brightly colored red circle on the canvas of my perceptions of the physical world? If my eyes are moist and I squint, I see radiating red lines...
  4. BillTre

    How does a brain infection alter one's sense of time?

    Here's a weird story I read about someone who lost their sense of time. In this case their ability to sense time was altered by a brain infection. The person's experiences are interesting. Time is important in tying things together mentally. Meanwhile, physical time marches on in their outside...
  5. J

    Velocity and the human experience

    TL;DR Summary: Velocity and the human experience As I was walking into work this morning I looked up and noticed an airplane flying overhead. Airplanes travel at speeds of up to 550 miles per hour while in flight. This question is really less about physics and more about our everyday...
  6. BadgerBadger92

    B Perception of Velocity in Special Relativity

    If an object is going close to the speed of light, will outside frames of references perceive the moving object as going slow or fast?
  7. G

    A Exploring the Perception of Pain: Skeletal Models & Physics

    I am not cooking up a torture device or a weapon. In fact, I have been spending time with skeletal models. I just want to be able to create the ability to perceive pain. Even if I were to try to work this out myself and get some kind of answer that relates to physics, how would I know for sure...
  8. N

    Metamerism (vector-matrix representation of color perception)

    For the illuminant A for the illuminant B Did I got them correct? Thank you
  9. NatanijelVasic

    3D Cinema Glasses: An Unsolved Personal Experience

    Many years ago I went to the cinema to watch Avatar in 3D, and was provided with polarising 3D glasses at the venue. I can't remember if it was my first 3D film that involved polarising projection technology, but it was certainly one of my first. In any case, the 3D effect worked and I got...
  10. B

    I Is the small world uncertain, or is that just our perception?

    When it comes to the properties of a small particle (position, speed, etc) are those properties "certain" in reality and just "uncertain" to us (the observer). Or are they truly uncertain in reality? I never really hear experts be clear about that. In fact they leave the impression that there...
  11. S

    B The Physics of Color Perception

    When you look at the following image through a prism with the apex (thinner portion) pointed towards the left or the right, why do you see magenta on one side and green and black on the other? Keep in mind that the spectrum is reversed.
  12. Hyotopii

    B Explore Time Perception & Relativity - Get Your Answers Here

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  13. E

    A Question about the perception of collapse in relational to QM interpretation

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  14. Uchida

    I Length Perception & Spacetime Warp: Is it Warped?

    If I make two rods with 1 meter length here on the surface of earth, and send one of them near a black hole that is at rest relative to earth, placing it there with its length alligned in the radial direction of the black hole, would I see the rod close to the black hole with a length shorter...
  15. Denselight93

    B The Virtue of Individual Perception RE: Wavefunction Collapse

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  16. DrClaude

    Cool video on Color perception

    There are been many threads at PF on the perception of color. I would like to share a good video on the subject, which contains many interesting visual effects. This is from the Technology Connections channel, which has many videos of interest to our community. I encourage you to browse around.
  17. S

    Other Should I pursue a Master's or PhD from BS EE? Perception of this choice?

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  18. TheQuestionGuy14

    B Time Perception: Is It Different from Time Dilation?

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  19. N

    I Relativity of Simultaneity: Observers Perceiving 3 Events

    In looking at this light cone diagram, I'm focusing on the part in purple. I'm interested to know if mathematics reveals the exact potential difference in time perceived by observers of three events as they shift between their different planes of simultaneity. This makes more sense using this...
  20. V

    I Physics of colors and our perception

    The wavelength (wl) coming from a heating body (absolute black body) obeys Wien law. We can also find out this wavelength from the peak of the Planck's law. Planck's law describes a distribution of energy (per unit area, angle...) for different wls (or frequency,...). We say that body has some...
  21. jfizzix

    Does pitch perception shift up while growing up?

    I think this question boils down to whether the parts of the inner ear grow from say age 6 to age 26. My thought is that if the parts of the inner inner ear do grow a little, then their response to what was a shorter wavelength of sound in the past will be the same as to what is a longer...
  22. ErenJaeger2

    B What is the True Dimension of Human Perception?

    I have read things saying humans see 2d and also things saying its more like "two and a half d" but that humans don't actually see in three dimension. But when you explain the spatial dimension, you start with the first which can be explained by a line. So anything living in 1d would only be...
  23. jerromyjon

    Does a higher frame rate on a UHD TV affect the perception of motion?

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  24. S

    I Traveling at a speed faster than light

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  25. M

    What are the Benefits of a Holistic Approach in Science?

    Hi, my Name is Markus and I'm from Germany, I have more a lingustic & IT background with basics in physics from school times (some years ago, I have to say). I have a couple of more holistic questions, hope that is ok, please let me know, Have a great day!
  26. W

    Perception of Intl Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control - Impact Factor 4

    The international Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. It has an Impact Factor of around 4, but what's the perception? Is it respected? Is it considered a good journal? There isn't a qualitative judgment online. My boss seems to look down on it, but it has a good impact factor.
  27. P

    B Alien Perception of Time: Can Time Go Backwards?

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  28. arupel

    B Time: Physical Existence or Perception? Current Opinions

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  29. C

    How does music manipulate our perception of ascending sequences?

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  30. Tareq Naushad

    Medical Why we think better with closed eyes? What about a blind person?

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  31. Sachin_Vaidya

    Exploring Why Time Perception Changes: Is Relativity at Play?

    Why time perception changes continuously...? Could relativity be playing some role?
  32. Sachin_Vaidya

    B Does quantum gravity inside brain change perception of time

    Does quantum gravity play role inside brain in ever changing perception of time?
  33. A

    Question about perception of color

    Hello friends, I'm discussing here with a guy about how we see color and stuff... he claimed two suspicious things and I want to ask you If it is true and If there is evidence of what he said... claim 1 and 2... I'm talking evidence, not hypothesis...can anyone help me here? just remembering...
  34. Densedog

    A Perception of time, gravitational waves.

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  35. A

    Is the Perception of Yellow Color Instantaneous in the Brain?

    It is a matter of fact that the perception of the yellow color occurs when the red and green sensitive-cones in human eyes are stimulated. I am interested to know whether this perception of the yellow color at the level of the brain happens instantaneously once the relevant parts of the brain...
  36. U

    Perception & Relativity: Near-Light Speed Travel

    Is it appropriate to talk about objects that can travel 'near' the speed of light? E.g. compared to a hypothetical observer moving at 'near' zero speed (very close to zero temperature/energy) wouldn't we seem to be moving 'close' to the speed of light. E.g. isn't even traveling 3 meters/second...
  37. RabbitWho

    How attention affects perception - Mach and Stumpf

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  38. hackhard

    Is a line observable(in real life)?

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  39. T S Bailey

    Ergodicity and the perception of time

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  40. J

    Special relativity -- 2 parallel space ships & time perception....

    If two people are in in space ships traveling next to each other at the same speed and they are going close to the speed of light they see each other expiriencing time more slowly. Why does this happen?
  41. T

    Perception of public and reality in science

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  42. J

    Does our perception of time vary based on our location in the universe?

    My understanding of the concepts involved in my question are very limited so please forgive me if this is an utterly stupid question.. I recently learned that depending on where you are in the universe, your perception of 'now' changes. I was pondering this whilst trying to get to sleep, next...
  43. L

    Can Perception and Time Be Studied Through Collaboration?

    I've recently been encouraged by a response to questions I posed in another forum. I want to collaborate on the subjects of perception and time. Thanks.
  44. Low-Q

    Does Relativity Alter Our Perception of Galaxies?

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  45. x3RangeMerge

    Perception of time, relative and distant.

    Hello! This is my first post, so I should make a small introduction. I am not a science expert in anyway shape or form, but I am a keen enthusiast who regularly keeps up to date with science news through popular websites such as IFLS, Space, BBC etc. I have been wondering about this particular...
  46. A

    Inappropriate perception of objects as massive

    Sometimes when I'm lying on my back, trying to fall asleep, I create an image of something very small like a floating dust particle, marble, pinpoint, or a tiny steel ball. My brain automatically imagines an extreme weight or massive density of the tiny items. Then suddenly, a very odd feeling...
  47. D

    Are there limits to human/devices perception?

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  48. RAHIL008

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  49. hatfair

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  50. M

    Perception of faster than light travel?

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