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Active Perception Essay

The Wikipedia article on perception defined passive perception theory which states that perception is a phenomenon that results from a sequence of events. First, the sensory information is taken in which the senses process and interpret. After processing the information, a response to the information is generated. The best way to illustrate this theory is by observing how an old computer works. Data are fed on to the computer which it processes and interprets after which, a response to the data is produced.

However, recent studies show that perception does not occur in such a simple, linear manner. Rather, the information, the input or senses, and the description or interpretation of the information interact with one another and form a dynamic relationship. The Wikepedia article on perception refers to this occurrence as active perception. In addition, Freeman (78) claimed in his article that perception is a physiological phenomenon which is more complex than it appears. Previous studies reported that the cerebral cortex is responsible for the analysis of the sensory information.

However, recent studies revealed that the brain does more than merely analyzing sensory information by extracting its features. The process of perception involves the past experience of an individual which he or she relates to the sensory message. This stimulus (sensory information) and its particular meaning to an individual are expected to be identified based on his or her previous experiences. Millions of neurons are simultaneously at work during perception which Freeman referred to as the brain of chaos.

The brain of chaos is complex behavior of neurons that appears to be random but possesses some hidden order in actuality. Various neurons abruptly and simultaneously shift “from one complex activity pattern to another in response to the smallest of inputs” (Freeman 78). Freeman (78) speculated that the brain of chaos makes perception possible. This could explain why some people instantly recognize the distinct smell dental clinics and dislike it due to their terrible experience in a dental clinic in the past.

In the same way, the underlying theory on active perception could explain why people can recognize a famous actor, the aroma of their favorite food, and a close friend’s voice at once (Freeman 78). All activities in one’s life require perception. It is one of the bases of behavior, beliefs, values, attitudes, and preferences. Perception is also important in decision-making and responding to external events. When shopping, for instance, the items that the buyer purchased (and those that he or she rejected) are a reflection of his or her perception on the items’ price, quality, function, and overall attractiveness.

Hence, understanding perception works is very important. By understanding the underlying processes involved in perception, how the behavior, beliefs, values, attitudes, and preferences of an individual are formed would be determined. The cognitive and affective processes involved in decision-making and responding to external events would also be understood by conducting research on perception. Knowing the reason why people behave or think in a certain way would greatly contribute to understanding others.

Certainly, when people understand one another, personal relationships would improve, while the activities that directly involve people such as a psychological therapy or a marketing approach would be more effectively implemented. In conclusion, perception is a complex process which is not limited to a passive process of obtaining sensory information. Rather, it is a process that involves past experience and a dynamic relationship between the information, the input or senses, and the description of the information.

It was also discovered that perception is a complex brain activity in contrast to previous findings which state that perception occurs at the cerebral cortex. By understanding the process and concept of perception, people would be able to learn how behavior, beliefs, attitudes, preferences, decision-making, and response to external events are formed. Works Cited Freeman, Walter. “The Physiology of Perception. ” Scientific American, 264 (1991): 78-85. “Perception. ” 20 November 2007. Wikepedia. 20 November 2007 <http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Perception>.

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