Perceptual Process

The perceptual process is a sequence of steps that starts with the stimuli that happen in our surroundings and leads through nerve transmission through peripheral and central nerves and the brain and results to our perception of what is going on. It also includes our resulting action to the original stimulus. So, the perceptual process involved when we go outside a room on a rainy day is that the stimulus from the environment – the fat that it is raining and cold and we are getting we – is recognized by our senses. Our eyes, ears, cold receptors and touch receptors all send signals to the brain, which works out that it is raining. The perceptual process consists of following components.
Perceptual Process

1. Environmental Stimuli
Perception initiates with the presence of the stimulus situation. In other words, the first stage in the process of perception is the presence of a stimulus or situation which confronts the human being. This confrontation may be with the immediate sensual stimulation or with the total physical and socio-cultural environment. Strictly speaking, the presence of a stimulus is not the start of perception process; however it cannot start in the absence of it.

2. Sensations
Sensation is the second step of perception process. It may be described as the response of a physical sensory organ. The physical senses are vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste. These sense are bombarded by stimuli continuously, both internal and external to human body and reactions to these sense take place because of these. In other words, sensation is the immediate and direct response of the sensory organs to stimuli. Human sensitivity refers to the experience of sensation. Sensitivity to stimuli varies with the quality of an individual’s sensory receptors (e.g. eye sight or hearing) and the amount of intensity of the stimuli to which he is exposed. For example, a blind person may have more highly developed sense of hearing than the average sighted person and may be able to hear sounds that the average person cannot. These examples show that sensation deals with a elementary behavior that is determined by physiological functioning.

3. Attention
Although we are capable of sensing many environmental stimuli, we attend to only a very small portion of them and ignore the rest. Numerous following factors influence the attention process.

  • Size: The larger the size of a physical object, the more likely it is to be perceived.
  • Intensity: The greater the intensity of a stimulus, the more likely it is to be noticed. A loud noise, such as shouting, is more likely to get attention than a quiet-voice.
  • Frequency: The greater the frequency with which a stimulus is presented, the greater the chances we will attend to it. This principle of repetition is used extensively in advertising to attract the attention of buyers.
  • Contrast: Stimuli which contrast with the surrounding environment are more likely to be selected for attention than stimuli which blend with the environment. The contrast can be created by color, size or any other factor that distinguishes on stimulus from others.
  • Motion: Since movement tends to be perceived than a stationery object, an animated sign, for example, attracts more attention than a fixed bill board.
  • Change: Objects are more likely to be noticed if they display some form of change. An object with lights blinking on and off, such as a Christmas tree or sign, attracts more attention than one without blinking lights.
  • Novelty: A stimulus that is new and unique will often be perceived more readily than stimuli that have been observed on a regular basis. Advertisers use the impact of novelty by creating original packaging or advertising messages.
4. Perception
Perception is the last step of its process. The process of perceptions involves organizing and interpreting the sensations we attend to visual images, sounds, orders and other sensations which do not simply enter our consciousness as pure, unpolluted sensations. Perception is an important mediating cognitive process through which persons make interpretation of the stimulus or situation they are faced with. As we attend to them, we consciously try to organize or categorize the information into a meaningful perception that will somehow make sense to use.

Although we would like to think of ourselves as open-minded unbiased, and non-judgmental in our perceptions, the situation make it impossible, we are forced to draw quick inferences based upon very sparse information.

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