Perceptual Process

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Last updated: August 16, 2019

Does the perceptual process help the individual to see the outside world as it really is? And if so, is the awareness of reality the main function of this process? According to many psychologists, sociologists and scientists the perceptual process is an important influential factor to the awareness of the reality. To them, it is essential for individuals to step outside their own world to see the actual world as it really is.

However, others think people are influenced by different kinds of stimuli, feelings and impressions whether they are, or are not aware of the perceptual process.They also hink everybody should experience the world as the individual himself desires to. In this essay, perception and the perceptual process will be explained. Also different viewings on the perceptual process will be described. Moreover, the influence of language on behaviour will be conveyed and described will be the process of how different people select information that is provided.

Finally, stereotyping and prejudices will be explained. Perception Perception is a way of observing things.It is the way of how different people see different things and how their perception is influenced by their experience, attitudes, feelings, norms and values.

Whether a person sees something as if it is positive or negative depends on his or her perception. Perception is often described as glasses which everybody wears, but of which we are not aware. (Meijer, 1997) Martin O’Grady (2001, pp. 78 – 79) describes perception as: the psychological process of actively selecting and organising stimulus information detected by the sensory organs so as to create conscious awareness.By that, he means that perception is actually an active process, unlike sensation. He explains that perception involves different people aking their own personal interpretation of the sensory information detected by their sense organs (O’Grady, 2001). This means that everybody sees, hears, smells, feels or tastes the same thing, but we all experience this in a different way. The perceptual process The perceptual process contains of four different phases.

The first phase is sensation. Heffner (2001) explains the word sensation as followed: Sensation is the process by which our senses gather information and send it to the brain.By this he means that people sense different information as taste, brightness of lights, someone talking, smell of perfume, etc. He also explains that most of these senses often are not recognised by people, people do not notice radio waves or miniscule parasites crawling on their skin. There are two different thresholds in this phase. An absolute threshold is the point where something becomes noticeable to someone’s senses. It is the point at which stimulus go from undetectable to detectable, Heffner explains.

A difference threshold, he describes, is a person notices the change in different stimulus.Thus, the difference threshold is the amount of change needed for a person to recognize that a change has occurred. (Heffner, 2001) The second phase is election. Perceptual selection is the process through which people filter out the influenced by two main headings: External factors and internal factors. External factors are the stimulus or information which are unusual, change or sense the organs to a great level. Internal factors are the persons’ personal status for example. Also factors about the person are internal factors.

(Basini, S. 010) “Something that has meaning to you, you will listen to or will draw your attention” Basin’, S. 2010. The third phase of the perceptual process is organisation. Perceptual organisation is about organising and patterning information. People organise stimuli because patterned information is better than chaos and people tend to simplify information because of this. Organising information can mean categorising people into pre built blocks. In addition to this phase, there are two affects: the halo effect and the trident effect.

The halo effect conveys a positive view of an individual which means the person has a positive prejudice.And a trident effect conveys a negative view of a person which is the contrary (Basin’, S. 2010). The final phase of the perceptual process is the perceptual interpretation phase. There are internal and external auses of behaviour. An internal cause is when a person does something because he/she really wanted to do this and an external cause is when a person does something because he/she was pressured by somebody or circumstances (Basin’, S. 2010).

The perceptual process can also be influenced by language. They way people talk and what they say, may affect their social life and they way they react to stimuli.Language and Behaviour “People see, hear and experience very largely as they do because the language habits of their community predisposes certain choices of interpretation” (Sapir, E. 1939). J. B. Carroll (1956, pp. 34) states that there is probably an assent to the proposition that a pattern of using words is often prior to a specific way of thinking and behaving.

However, he explains, these people who indeed assent often see nothing more than a platitudinous recognition of philosophy and learned terminology on the one hand or of catchwords and slogans on the other hand.Edward Sapir (1939) states that there are important connections between language, culture and psychology. According to J. B. Carroll (1956, pp. 135) it is also very important to be aware of meaning of words and how they influence peoples’ reactions and behaviour.

In his book he also states that “scientific thoughts’ are a specialisation of the western Indo-European type of language. He explains: “the language has not only developed different dialectics, but also different dialects. ” (pp. 246) As an example he describes how different the word ‘space’ is for a psychologist and a physicist.He says that every language covers certain points of view and certain patterned resistances to widely various points of view. According to Krauss et al. (2001) language pervades social life.

He states that language is the most important attribute for the transmission of cultural knowledge nd the primary way by which people gain access to the contents of other peoples’ minds. Language is implicated in most of the phenomena that lie at the centre of social psychology: attitude change, personal identity, social interaction, social perception, etc.He also explains that for social psychologists, language is the medium by which peoples’ responses are brought out. “Language plays a role in both stimulus and responses” Krauss, R. M. (2001).

The basics of social life, he explains, form an essential part of the way language is used. In his Journal, he describes the erceptions of what others know, think and believe and identities of others and of their own and how these affect the form and content of their acts of speaking. Thus, what they say and how they say it is influenced by social situations and perception. However, according to T.

Malim, there are four different views on the relationship between thought and language. The first view describes the thought as being determined by language. The second view is that thinking determines linguistic developments. The third view explains that the two are independent, but both have an influence upon intellectual development. And the final view states the persons’ view that thought is internal speech. The first one is described above this paragraph, by Krauss, Whorf and Carroll.

The second viewpoint is stated by Piaget: “Language and thought are linked in a genetic circle… n the last analysis; both depend upon intelligence itself, which antedates language and is independent of it” (Piaget, 1968). Piaget does not agree with Whorf and Sapir. Piaget states that rational development comes first and without a rational development, language would not be more than meaningless babble.

The third viewpoint is by Wgotsky (1962). He stated that language had two different parts. Firstly the part of language as an organizer of a person’s private thoughts and secondly as a way of communicating those private thoughts to other people.He referred to private thought as inner speech and means of transmitting those private thoughts to others as external speech. From a child’s second age, they start to see words as symbols for thoughts. He also believes that language plays an important part in the rational development of children after their second age. Thus, Wgotsky et al.

(1962) think that rational development is transmitted through language. This means that many scientists believe the perceptual process is influenced by language and how it is used. Hence, how a person talks and what this individual says is influenced by his or her perception.

How a person observes the world and responds to it, is influenced by the language. People often Judge others on the way they talk. If one hears a child talking as an adult, this person will immediately be prejudiced about this child. Because: “that is not the way a child is supposed to talk”. The fact that people chose to talk differently, is a part of their interpretation of right and wrong. People talk as they do ecause they probably think, that is the right way to talk. They could also have learned the way to talk from their environment.People chose to listen and to see specific things; this is a part of a process which is called: selective attention.

Attentional processes Selective attention is they process where human beings select and process stimuli which are valuable or of interest and allow the rest to pass them by. (Malim, 1994) He explains that individuals can only take in and use a small section of stimuli which are constantly exposed to them in the world in which they live. Malim (1994, pp. 1 1) goes n by telling about the way in which attention is caught and held.Stimuli have different characteristics which determine whether a person will pay attention to something or not, he explains. Moreover, Malim (1994) states there are two features of the stimuli that will draw someone’s attention, which are: one. 2.

The size of a stimulus: a large thing is more likely to seize one’s attention than something small” (Malim, 1994, pp. 11). Many studies and experiments are related to the selective attention. According to Simplypsychology (2009), there are two main studies about selective attention, those will be explained to understand and be ware of this process.Firstly: Broadbent’s (1958) mode of selective attention. Broadbent experimented by giving people headphones and letting them listen to different messages into each ear separately.

For example, he presented three six different numbers to the contributors, three into the right ear and three into the left ear. Consequently, it appeared that participants could Just remember the numbers they heard in one of the ears. They did not remember the numbers in pairs. As a result, Broadbent discovered people have a filter or sensory buffer as he calls it (Malim, 1994).

Broadbent found that people can only take in one of the messages, if both reach this filter at the same time. The message which is not taken in will be stored in the filter for the future. It depends on different factors why a person does remember one number, but not the other, Broadbent explains. For example: the speed of both messages; the message that reaches the ear first, will be remembered most likely. Also factors as pitch and tone influence one’s memory of the numbers (Broadbent, 1958). In Broadbent’s opinion, information is held for a short while in a temporary memory store before it goes to a, what he calls, selective filter.

The filter he describes, selects information on a physical basis, a high voice as opposed to a low voice or input from one ear as opposed to another” (Malim, 1994, pp. 14) Thus, what Broadbent found, was that it is very hard to hear and see everything that passes people. Therefore, people tend to select the information, the information that is not used, will be stored in their memory.

The second model is Treisman’s attention model. He also used earphones for his experiment. However, he asked the participants to repeat what they heard in one ear and ignoring what they heard in the other.The message they had to repeat was called the shadowed message, the message that had to be ignored was called the unattended message (Malim, 1994, pp. 16). “In one of the experiments, the shadowed message was in English, the unattended message was a French translation of it” (Malim, 1994). Most of the participants recognised both messages as if they heard the same thing. This means: meanings of words are important in the selection process (Treisman, 1964).

The second experiment presented two different sentences to the right and left ear. However, each sentence had one word of what people would assume it would be in the other sentence.As a result, when the participants were asked to repeat what they heard, they gave a sentence that they heard in one ear, included was the word they heard in the other ear because they thought that was “the right sentence”.

Therefore, Treisman’s conclusion is: “There is some processing of the unselected messages”. Thus, both Broadbent and Treisman found that people store the information that is not selected somewhere in their brain for future usage. This means that individuals experience some kind of process while taking in information. However, one tends to organise this information as seems to be correct for them.People select the information they want to hear and organise it in certain ways. The selection of opinions of others and other factors may influence one’s opinion and attitude towards something or somebody and how people hear and see different things in one and the same subject.

Stereotyping Stallybrass (1977) once defined stereotyping as followed: “An oversimplified mental image of some category of person, institution or event which is commonly shared by large numbers of people” (Basini, S. 2010) This means stereotypes have always been there and everybody has a particular image of something or somebody.It also conveys that people in general, a large number of people, think the same about a particular characteristic. People seem to do this because it is a way of organising information and it comforts them. Stewart et al. ( 1979) explain that many studies found that stereotyping has always been there and always will be there.

He also states that stereotyping, in all levels, conveying people’s views and ideas, whether correct or not, will not change easily. Stewart also describes stereotyping in sex differences. He, and many others, found that men in general ignored small differences. “Women may have been more consistent than men” he xplains.Another study of stereotyping is the study of Cooper et al.

(1995). Cooper and Kirkcaldy researched the viewings of German and British managers and the differences between the two. They found that Germans were more serious, structured, devoted to work and less accepting others being open and funny. Cooper et al. (1995) described the Germans as being more ‘cold’, competitive, arrogant and formal than the British.

Cooper and Kirkcaldy stated three main factors in which the two nationalities were different. The three factors they found were: “1 . Accepting (warm and non-threatening) vs. ejecting (humourless and rejecting) ehaviour; 2. Hardworking vs. lethargic or easygoing; 3. and self-sufficient vs.

humble, insecure. ” The German manager was seen as more rejecting and motivated than the British manager. The British manager was seen as more accepting and easygoing. This means: differences are also obvious during work and between different nationalities. Concluded can be that stereotyping is everywhere in the world and in every class of the hierarchy.

Conclusion The main focus of this essay was mainly about one question: Does the perceptual process help the individual to see the outside world as it really is?And if so, is the wareness of reality the main function of this process? The findings made during this essay show that people are, mostly, not aware of their experiences and the stimuli they take in. This means that there is a process going on in one’s brain. During this process, people select the information of which they think is important and store the information of which they think is not relevant for now. As explained before, individuals are not conscious of this process. Consequently, people often see and hear what they want to see and hear which is often not the entire reality of how the world truly is.

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