UGC NET Study Notes on Perception

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 14th, 2023


1. Introduction of perception

  • It is a process by which people interpret what they see and hear, make a judgment and give it a meaning.
  • Perception is the procedure of getting aware of situations or attaching significant connection to sensations.
  • Perception includes a set of senses which are touch, sight, taste, smell and sound.
  • It is the process by which an individual identifies and analyses information from the external environment and responds accordingly.
  • In perception, a person experiences environmental stimuli on the basis of feelings and motives then takes actions in response to these stimuli.

2. Factors influencing perception

  • Numerous factors engage to shape or misinterpret perception. These factors can be from perceiver or object being perceived, or in the situation in which the perception is made.
  • Interpretation of a person is extensively influenced by the personal characteristics of the particular perceiver, which involves an individual’s attitudes, personality, interests, experiences, motives and expectations.
  • Characteristics of the target being perceived also influence the perception which includes- background, motion, sound, size, proximity
  • There are some situational or environmental factors such as time of perceiving, work situation, social settings, etc. which can impact the perception process.
  • Apart from these, there are few other factors such as perceptual learning which is based on past experiences or any special training through which people underline some of the sensory inputs.
  • Motivation and needs also influence perception, as individuals attention will be focused on a particular thing he needs unless it is satisfied.
  • Mental preparedness, attention and concentration on sensory input also have an influence on perception.
  • On the basis of characteristics, The factors which affect the perceptual mechanism are of three kinds:
    • Characteristics of the Perceiver– These are the personal characteristic of the perceiver, also called internal factors. Such as motives, beliefs, self-concept, expectation, past experience, psychological state etc.
    • Characteristics of the Perceived or target– Features of the object which is perceived also has an impact on perception, such as size, frequency, status, intensity and contrast.
    • Characteristic of the Situation– Moment of perception, place where the perception takes place and situation at the time of the communication impacts what a person perceives. Situational factors can include physical setting, social setting and organisational setting.

3. Perception process

 UGC NET Study Notes on Perception

  • Perception is an intellectual and physiological process as every individual experiences a similar environment and stimuli, but how they perceive things and behave as a final outcome is different.
  • Perception process is a sequence of steps, begins with sensation and stimuli present in the environment, which leads to perceptual throughputs and at the end perceptual outputs which are actions in response to stimuli.

a) Selection of stimuli / perceptual inputs:

  • The acceptance of information is the stimulus, which eventually leads to sensation. It can be in the form of objects, things or physical commodities.
  • When a person connects to a stimulus, he/she develops a sensation process physiologically from where the perception process starts.
  • A person discovers various stimuli in the environment, he/she goes into a process of selection as to what to attend or not. This decision is based on various input factors such as background, interest, sound, feeling, events, objects etc.
  • In this step, a person picks up all the internal and external factors related to stimuli and selects the stimuli that attract his/her attention.
  • An individual separates the factors as significant/meaningful (also called as figure) and insignificant/meaningless (also called as ground). This process is called the figure-ground principle.

b) Organisation / Perceptual throughputs:

After selection of significant stimuli, these are organised, managed and interpreted. This step begins with stimulating a person’s sensory receptors such as touch/feel, taste, smell, vision and listening, as the selection of stimuli releases various reactions to the brain. Organising stimuli is done in three ways:

  • Figure-ground– In this, focus and background are considered. Judgment is done on the basis of the focus, keeping the background of the object in view.
  • Grouping– Various stimuli like objects and events are grouped together in a pattern based on their similarity and homogeneity. This eases in perceiving things and objects in an appropriate manner according to their personal desire.
  • Simplification– This is done when a person has excess information, to understand things and give them meaning which is further done by eliminating unrequired information and concentrating on required and meaningful information.

c) Interpreting stimuli / Perceptual outputs:

  • In this step, the perceiver interprets or analyses things and objects based on his/ her thinking, mental state, environment around, circumstances/ situations, objectives/ goals, beliefs
  • Features of stimuli, characteristics of perceiver and environment and situation of where perception takes place are the factors which affect the interpretation of stimuli.
  • Selection, organization, and interpretation of stimuli can diverge from person to person. People react differently in the same situation because each of their perceptions is leading to their responses.
  • This process leads to perceptual outputs at the end, which may be in the form of attitudes, opinions, feelings, beliefs, impressions, values about the stimuli, which changes the behaviour of individuals.
  • Interpretation of the stimuli is affected by certain factors:
    • Halo effect– Making evaluation on the basis of a single feature or trait such as intelligence, sociability, or appearance and that trait has an influence on overall perception; it is called the halo effect.
    • Stereotype– If a person is judged or analysed on the basis of our perception about the group to which he belongs, it is called stereotyping.
    • Horn Effect- When the person is entirely evaluated/ analysed on the basis of a negative quality he possesses or traits perceived, the horn effect comes into operation.
    • Attribution– When perceivers try to understand the behaviour of others on the basis of value the perceiver attributes to a given behaviour, attribution is in action. It is derived from the attribution theory given by Kelly. These errors can be self-serving bias, impression and inference.
    • Selective Perception- When perceivers selectively interpret and analyse what they view depending on their interests, background, experience, feelings and attitudes, it is called selective perception.

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