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Perception in the study of Psychology

14 Feb 2017Psychology Essays

Introduction

The 'Discover Your Mind' website author Ian Health (2003) in the work entitled: "Psychology of Perception" that:

"Human life pivots around perception, both in waking states and in dream states." Franz Brentano (1974)

states the belief that "the beginning of perception is the image to the mind with the two components of:

(1) Judgment about the image; and (2) A feeling toward the image." (Paraphrased)

According to Brentano:

"…the mental act that presents the image to the mind has three components associated simultaneously with it: (1) the image itself, which is the content of the perception; (2) a judgment which refers to the image; and (3) a feeling of pleasure or displeasure which we feel towards the image. (Heath, 2003)

Capabilities of Perceptual Systems

Foulke (1996) in the work entitled: "The Roles of Perception and Cognition in Controlling the Mobility" states that the 'Capabilities of Perceptual Systems" are inclusive of:

  • Reach;
  • Focus;
  • Analysis;
  • Pattern Resolution;
  • Perceptual resolution;
  • Perceptual anticipation; and
  • Perceptual error. (Foulke, 1996)

Foulke asks the question of: "What is the reach of a perceptual system? This question can be answered by determining how much of the surrounding space within which safe movement is assured, and the remote space within which landmarks can be observed. It also determines how much perceptual anticipation is possible, and how much integration of the serial perception of spatial facts acquired on different occasions is required for construction of the memorial representation of space" (1996)

In terms of 'Focus' the questions is asked by Foulke to be: "How selective is the perceptual system. Does it have to exclude some of the surrounding space from observation, and focus on the sector of space where needed information is likely to be found? The answer to this question has a bearing on the vulnerability of a perceptual system to the interference caused by noise, etc. For example, by focusing, the visual system can exclude much of the surrounding space and the interfering stimulation it might contribute from observation. On the other hand, the auditory system is stimulated by acoustic energy from all directions, and has little ability to exclude interfering stimulation." (1996)

In terms of 'Analysis' that which the eyes see assists in determination relating to shapes, characteristics and Foulke states that: "By analyzing the stimulus energy to which it is sensitive, the auditory system acquires information about the temporal organization and extension of events. Consider, for instance, the analysis that discloses the phonemes in a speech sound. Neither the visual system nor the auditory system is, by design, capable of the analysis compared out by the other system. Like the visual system, the haptic system is, by design, suited for the observation of objects in space, but its field of observation is relatively small, and its acuity is relatively poor." (1996)

Unconscious Perception

The work of Merikle (1998) entitled: "Psychological Investigations Of Unconscious Perception" relates that investigations of unconscious perception have a long history in the field of psychology stating that: "...some of the very earliest studies conducted in psychology laboratories in North America involved demonstrations of unconscious perceptual influences. Merikle states if:

"...unconscious perception has an important influence on cognitive and affective reactions, then the effects of unconsciously perceived stimuli must last for considerably longer than a few seconds." (Merikle, 1998)

There is research existing that suggests that "unconsciously perceived stimuli can have effects over longer temporal intervals based on research making examinations into whether "patients have memory for events that occurred while they were under general anesthesia. In general, the results of this research show that unconsciously perceived stimuli can have effects over periods of time measured in hours and days." (1998)

Another type of ';perception is referred to in the work of Merikle who cites the work of Kadzin (2000) concerning "subliminal perception" which is stated by Merikle to occur "whenever stimuli presented below the threshold or limen for awareness are found to influence thoughts, feelings, or actions."(Merikle, 2000) Merikle states that examples of "subliminal perception are found in studies of patients with neurological damage." (2000) the distinction between conscious and unconscious perceptual processes is much more significant and interesting if conscious and unconscious processes lead to qualitatively different consequences than if unconscious perception is simply a weak form of conscious perception (cf. Dixon, 1971; Merikle, 1992; Shevrin & Dickman, 1980).

In fact, it has even been argued that the distinction between conscious and unconscious processes is of questionable value if conscious and unconscious processes do not have qualitatively different consequences (e.g. Reingold & Merikle, 1990; as cited by Merikle & Daneman (2000) It is important to note the statement of Merikle & Daneman (2000) of:

"…one of the most important questions that can be asked regarding unconscious perceptual processes is how does unconscious perception differ from conscious perception?"

Merikle & Daneman review several studies which all serve to provide a "demonstration of a different characteristic that distinguishes conscious from unconscious perception." Stated is that the combination of these studies "provide rather compelling evidence for the importance of unconscious perceptual processes influencing our reactions to stimuli." (Merikle & Daneman, 2000).

The study of Kunst, Wilson and Zajonc (1980) is reviewed in their attempt to demonstrate that "unconsciously perceived stimuli can influence affective reactions" and even more recent is the study of Murphy and Zajonc (1993) in showing the "importance of unconscious perception in determining affective reactions by showing that affective reactions are more likely to be influenced by unconsciously perceived stimuli than by consciously perceived stimuli." (Mirekle and Daneman).

The work of Groeger (1984; 1988) demonstrated a qualitative difference in that unconsciously perceived words are coded differently than are consciously perceived words." (Merikle & Daneman, 2000) Mirekle and Daneman also relate the work of Poetzl (1917/1960) who conducted a study upon the "impact of unconsciousness perception on the manifest content of dreams" (Ibid) Poetzl discovered that information, although it be unconsciously perceived may remain in the subject';s mind for many hours.

Summary & Conclusion

This work has clearly shown that many layered aspects, considerations as to that which impacts or stimulates the individual as well as the factors that impact the perception of the individual which may be differentiated depending upon the level of consciousness and even unconsciousness with various reactions to existing stimulus in the environment that the perception is taking place.

Bibliography

  • Health, Ian (2003) Psychology of Perception.
  • Subliminal perception (nd)
  • Foulke, Emerson (1996) The Roles of Perception and Cognition in Controlling the Mobility Tasks. Paper presented at International Symposium on Orientation and Mobility, Trondheim, Norway, 1996.
  • Merikle, Philip M. (1998) Psychological Investigations of Unconscious Perception. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 5, No. 1 1998, pp. 5-18.
  • A.E. Kadzin (Encyclopedia of Psychology Vol. 7) New York University Press (2000).

Foulke asks the question of: "What is the reach of a perceptual system? This question can be answered by determining how much of the surrounding space within which safe movement is assured, and the remote space within which landmarks can be observed. It also determines how much perceptual anticipation is possible, and how much integration of the serial perception of spatial facts acquired on different occasions is required for construction of the memorial representation of space" (1996) 

In terms of 'Focus' the questions is asked by Foulke to be: "How selective is the perceptual system. Does it have to exclude some of the surrounding space from observation, and focus on the sector of space where needed information is likely to be found? The answer to this question has a bearing on the vulnerability of a perceptual system to the interference caused by noise, etc. For example, by focusing, the visual system can exclude much of the surrounding space and the interfering stimulation it might contribute from observation. On the other hand, the auditory system is stimulated by acoustic energy from all directions, and has little ability to exclude interfering stimulation." (1996) 

In terms of 'Analysis' that which the eyes see assists in determination relating to shapes, characteristics and Foulke states that: "By analyzing the stimulus energy to which it is sensitive, the auditory system acquires information about the temporal organization and extension of events. Consider, for instance, the analysis that discloses the phonemes in a speech sound. Neither the visual system nor the auditory system is, by design, capable of the analysis compared out by the other system. Like the visual system, the haptic system is, by design, suited for the observation of objects in space, but its field of observation is relatively small, and its acuity is relatively poor." (1996)

Unconscious Perception

The work of Merikle (1998) entitled: "Psychological Investigations Of Unconscious Perception" relates that investigations of unconscious perception have a long history in the field of psychology stating that: "...some of the very earliest studies conducted in psychology laboratories in North America involved demonstrations of unconscious perceptual influences. Merikle states if:

 "...unconscious perception has an important influence on cognitive and affective reactions, then the effects of unconsciously perceived stimuli must last for considerably longer than a few seconds." (Merikle, 1998) 

There is research existing that suggests that "unconsciously perceived stimuli can have effects over longer temporal intervals based on research making examinations into whether "patients have memory for events that occurred while they were under general anesthesia. In general, the results of this research show that unconsciously perceived stimuli can have effects over periods of time measured in hours and days." (1998) 

Another type of 'perception is referred to in the work of Merikle who cites the work of Kadzin (2000) concerning “subliminal perception” which is stated by Merikle to occur "whenever stimuli presented below the threshold or limen for awareness are found to influence thoughts, feelings, or actions."(Merikle, 2000) Merikle states that examples of "subliminal perception are found in studies of patients with neurological damage." (2000) the distinction between conscious and unconscious perceptual processes is much more significant and interesting if conscious and unconscious processes lead to qualitatively different consequences than if unconscious perception is simply a weak form of conscious perception (cf. Dixon, 1971; Merikle, 1992; Shevrin & Dickman, 1980).

In fact, it has even been argued that the distinction between conscious and unconscious processes is of questionable value if conscious and unconscious processes do not have qualitatively different consequences (e.g. Reingold & Merikle, 1990; as cited by Merikle & Daneman (2000) It is important to note the statement of Merikle & Daneman (2000) of: 

“…one of the most important questions that can be asked regarding unconscious perceptual processes is how does unconscious perception differ from conscious perception?”

Merikle & Daneman review several studies which all serve to provide a "demonstration of a different characteristic that distinguishes conscious from unconscious perception." Stated is that the combination of these studies "provide rather compelling evidence for the importance of unconscious perceptual processes influencing our reactions to stimuli." (Merikle & Daneman, 2000).

The study of Kunst, Wilson and Zajonc (1980) is reviewed in their attempt to demonstrate that "unconsciously perceived stimuli can influence affective reactions" and even more recent is the study of Murphy and Zajonc (1993) in showing the "importance of unconscious perception in determining affective reactions by showing that affective reactions are more likely to be influenced by unconsciously perceived stimuli than by consciously perceived stimuli." (Mirekle and Daneman).

The work of Groeger (1984; 1988) demonstrated a qualitative difference in that unconsciously perceived words are coded differently than are consciously perceived words." (Merikle & Daneman, 2000) Mirekle and Daneman also relate the work of Poetzl (1917/1960) who conducted a study upon the "impact of unconsciousness perception on the manifest content of dreams" (Ibid) Poetzl discovered that information, although it be unconsciously perceived may remain in the subject's mind for many hours.

Summary & Conclusion

This work has clearly shown that many layered aspects, considerations as to that which impacts or stimulates the individual as well as the factors that impact the perception of the individual which may be differentiated depending upon the level of  consciousness and even unconsciousness with various reactions to existing stimulus in the environment that the perception is taking place.

Bibliography

  • Health, Ian (2003) Psychology of Perception.
  • Subliminal perception (nd) 
  • Foulke, Emerson (1996) The Roles of Perception and Cognition in Controlling the Mobility  Tasks. Paper presented at International Symposium on Orientation and Mobility, Trondheim, Norway, 1996.
  • Merikle, Philip M. (1998) Psychological Investigations of Unconscious Perception. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 5, No. 1 1998, pp. 5-18. 
  • A.E. Kadzin (Encyclopedia of Psychology Vol. 7) New York University Press (2000). 

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