We explain what perception is, how it works and the stimuli on which it is based. In addition, its characteristics and extrasensory perception.

What is Perception?

Perception is understood as the set of mental processes through which our brain interprets the stimuli that it picks up, at a sensory level, from the environment that surrounds us, thus creating a conscious impression of reality.

To these sensory stimuli, thoughts and feelings of their own are usually added , to complete the image formed in a logical or meaningful way for each observer.

Perception characteristics :

  1. Is inferential

Perception is the first cognitive process. It allows taking information from the environment to form an image or idea after the decoding and assimilation of sensory and energetic stimuli (makes an inference and interpretation).

  1. Is constructive

Is constructive

In addition to our inferences, perception incorporates data that memory possesses, classifies it and fuses it into a single object : it builds an idea based on new and pre-existing observations and data.

  1. It is distinguished from the sensation

Although these concepts are often used interchangeably , perception and sensation differ in many details.

Sensation is an experience lived from a stimulus in the form of a response to sensory experimentation, while perception is the interpretation of a sensation, which provides meaning and order.

  1. It uses our senses

In order to perceive, we need to capture stimuli through our senses, that is why perception can be:

  • Visual (image)
  • Auditory (sound)
  • Olfactory (aroma)
  • Gustatory (flavor)
  • Tactile (physical contact)

  1. Requires attention

Requires attention

In order to capture, interpret and assimilate stimuli, perception uses attention defined as the filter that it applies to capture only important or significant stimuli . Thus, it can attend to internal factors (biological needs, subsistence processes, social interests) and external factors (shapes, textures, colors, lights and more).

Attention can be sustained or selective . Thus, family stimuli take a back seat (we do not perceive the everyday aromas of the home, but new and different ones to detect dangers and changes).

Faced with unpleasant stimuli, perception decreases and non-significant stimuli can disappear (for example: when we drive a car, we do not pay attention to the clothing that is in the windows, but to the road and the environment).

  1. Has a purpose

Perception has an objective, a purpose, which is to achieve a construction . This construction can be done to understand the situation, to try to remember and memorize content, to detect dangers, modifying it according to immediate, urgent, or daily needs.

  1. Has a process

Has a process

It is carried out in a continuous, dynamic process, located in a time and in a space. The process can be internal or external (a memory or an observation of an element, for example), or it can include both phenomena (we observe an object and remember similar ones).

The process of perception is also mediated (various factors such as language , memory , affections, needs, etc. participate), active (requires our action) and interactive (there must be a relationship between the person and the object / environment / stimulus).

  1. Is relative

Perception is never absolute but relative: it always occurs in a context that can change over time . Thus, perception adapts to the observer's experimentation with the stimulus, in a time and in a space.

  1. Perception of people or objects

Similar in their mechanics (both are structured —they follow a process to create categories of information— and seek meaning —interpret the object or the person—), the perception of people and objects differ in:

  • People are perceived as causal agents (they consider intention, feelings and other variable elements) and objects are perceived as constants.
  • People are inferred based on their similarity to our characteristics, and objects are not.
  • People perceive themselves from our interaction with them: we perceive at the same time that we know that we are perceived, which modifies our behavior in the interaction.
  • The perception of people is more complex: it involves, for example, emotional factors, while that of objects is simpler and more direct.

  1. Extrasensory perception

Extrasensory perception

Extrasensory perception is related to the way in which we collect data without using the ordinary senses. Some examples of these phenomena:

    • Telepathy.  Reading and transmitting data in the mind
    • Precognition.  Prediction of future phenomena
    • Retrocognition.  Visualization or knowledge of past events
    • Clairvoyance. Ability to mentally see objects that are not in the same space
    • Psychokinesis  Being able to modify matter through the mind
    • Telekinesis  Ability to move items with the mind
    • Intuition . Perceive absent situations in real space and time
    • Synesthesia  Ability to sensory perceive specific elements

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Passionate about understanding and contributing to a world that does not stop changing. New forms of Work, Sustainability and Technology. For many years he has worked as a creative for large international companies. He has a Ph.D. in information technology and he has been doing quantitative research in the interdisciplinary areas of information systems, cyber security, data analytics and artificial intelligence. He continue to look for creative solutions through technology to help companies to be more humane and sustainable..

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