Sensation and Perception

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Sensation is the detection of both internal or external stimuli. The wavelength, intensity and complexity of Light are detected by visual receptors in the retina of the eye. There are two types of visual receptors:? rods? and? cones. Since Rods are mostly sensitive to low intensity light they are employed at night. Cones sense color and bright light best so they are more useful during the day. Hecht, Selig (1937). “Rods, cones, and the chemical basis of vision”. Physiological Reviews. 17: 239–290.

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Sensory receptors in the body register the stimulus. Through the process of transduction such information is converted to neutral information. This travels to the relevant part of the brain where such information is perceived.

Optic nerve then transduce such visual information to more useful information. Maberley, D. a. L.; Hollands, H.; Chuo, J.; Tam, G.; Konkal, J.; Roesch, M.; Veselinovic, A.; Witzigmann, M.; Bassett, K. (2005-05-20).


Perception means organizing, identifying and interpreting sensory information to make sense of and understand the environment or the information presented. Schacter, Daniel (2011). Psychology. Worth Publishers.

The process of perception is more complex than sensation. Although it is a passive process it involves manipulation of the incoming signals from the senses through the persons previous learning, memory, personal expectations and attention. Since most of the process occurs in the subconscious mind the process seems less active.

Perception is the result of two main processes.

1. Processing the stimuli to convert low level information to higher-level information.

2. Processing resulting from a person’s concepts, expectations and personal biases. Bernstein, Douglas A. (5 March 2010). Essentials of Psychology. Cengage Learning. pp. 123–124. Retrieved: 25 March 2011.


Human beings use senses to receive information from the surrounding. The information travels to the brain and is understood or perceived by the brain to create meaning. Although the data is sensed the same way by all people the perception can be different. This is because our perception is influence by a variety of factors. Such factors could include our previous experiences, our expectations and differences in culture.

I will conduct a study to show how people from different background who receive the same information through their visual senses perceive the information differently.

The experiment involves showing a picture to the participants in the study. The participants will belong to two different groups with different background. The picture will be a drawing of a hunting scene. The participants will be looking at the picture to answer a simple question. “Which animal is being attacked by the hunter with the spear? Is it the elephant of the antelope?”

The participants will be divided into two groups. One of the groups will include people who have previous experience with photography. Such people should be able to respond to cues of pictorial depth. The other group should include people from a different background who cannot respond to pictorial depth cues. Such could include elders who haven’t used electronic devices.

The procedure for the study is quite simple. The participants look at the picture for ten seconds in sufficient light. Then they make a tick to answer the question of paper. The two answers to the question will be given on the paper. They can choose elephant or the antelope as their answer.

With one group having educated people who can perceive pictorial depth they will probably choose as the animal being attacked. However the other group consisting of mostly uneducated people will tend to choose the elephant as the closer animal. . The answers will be checked for consistency within the group; and for contrast with other groups to see how they have perceived the pictures.

To perform the study it will be ensured that the participants don’t have problems with eyesight. They should be able to understand and respond to the question. There should be no bias in the answer. They should not mind whether they answer correctly or not so that they actually respond with what they think. This will help us know their actual perception.

The reason for the different perception has two dimensions.

One is that people who perceive in depth cues about pictures will consider the size of the elephant. The smaller size suggests that the elephant is far off in the picture. However this will only be considered by people who have experience with pictures and can think of minor details in pictures. The other group will probably ignore such detail and will give a different answer. The cultural side to this also needs be considered. For people who haven’t seen three dimensional scenarios in two dimensions, this can affect their judgment when experiencing such a study. Judgment of distance from a picture comes from seeing many pictures and thinking deeply about them. People having no such experience are prone to tick the wrong answer.

The results should imply that although despite receiving the same information with the senses, we judge things based on our previous experience.

Which animal is closer to the hunter?

  • The Elephant
  • The Antelope
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Sensation and Perception. (2018, Dec 14). Retrieved March 20, 2023 , from

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