Stages of Perception: Stimulation, Organization, Interpretation, Memory & Recall

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: How Self-Fulfilling Prophecies Shape Interpersonal Communication

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Perception
  • 1:06 Receiving and…
  • 3:22 Memory and Recall
  • 4:34 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

How do we perceive the world around us? In this lesson, you will explore the five stages of perception, discover how this process is unique to each person, and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Perception

Look at this image. What's the first thing you see - a vase or two profiles of people looking at each other? I'm guessing that you've seen this before; it's pretty common, but it illustrates the fact that all of us see the world just a bit differently. Even when we look at the same image, people see different things -- but why? Because how we see the world is more than just a simple fact of light particles entering our eyes and sending signals to the brain.

We call the awareness and interpretation of external objects and events perception. You see, your brain can receive signals, but it also has to interpret those signals and figure out what they mean to you. This means that perception is a personal, subjective understanding of the world. It's a bit different to everyone. That's why some of us see a white and gold dress, while others see one that is blue and black. The world is just a bit different to each of us.

Receiving and Interpreting Signals

The whole idea that we interpret our reality sounds pretty complex, but really, perception is just a basic 5-step process. The first three steps involve the way that we receive and process signals, starting with stimulation, the contact between our five senses and external stimuli. Basically, this part of the process is what happens when your brain receives a signal in the form of sight, smell, sound, taste, or feel. Sometimes this stimulus is enough to capture your attention; just think of walking past the hot pretzel cart at the mall. But other times signals are received without us necessarily being aware of it.

After signals are received, the mind has to sort them. Is this a sight, a sound, a smell? Is this signal familiar, can we associate it with positive or negative memories, or is it completely new? This stage of perception is called organization, recognizing and identifying signals. This leads directly into stage three, interpretation-evaluation, where the brain determines what those signals mean to the individual. You have received a signal, your brain categorized it, and now it's time to figure out how to interact with it.

This is where your own personal experiences make a difference. If you had a very positive relationship with your childhood dog, then seeing a puppy may make you feel happy or nostalgic. Otherwise, the puppy could be seen as an irritant, a threat, or something that doesn't really matter. The interpretation-evaluation stage of perception screens information through a variety of lenses simultaneously, including social and cultural expectations, personal history, emotional state, gender, physical needs, and subconscious desires. This entire process happens instantly and subconsciously. The result is your personal perception of the world around you.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support