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What Is The Difference Between Sensation And Perception?

We explain that what Is the difference between Sensation and Perception? It is common to use these terms as synonyms, but it is important to clarify that they do not mean the same thing. Our main purpose is to make the difference between both terms known and thus be able to give the correct use to each context.

Difference Between Sensation And Perception With Examples Difference Between Sensation And Perception With Examples

Is there a difference between sensation and perception? It is a somewhat complicated matter, because the distinction between sensation and perception is not so immediate, to the point that some authors have come to consider them as part of a single complex psychic function that they called sense-perception, as if it were a kind of continuum that goes from simple sensory perception to the assumption of meanings.

Although these concepts are often used interchangeably, however, they are substantially different, and with this Psychology

What Is The Sensation?

What is the sensation?Of Latin origin ‘senstio’ which means the impression that something gives through the senses . It is the response provided by the sensory organs (skin, eyes, ears, mouth and nose) to a stimulus.

Specifically, sensation is a process by which the brain processes information from the nervous system, and verifies the reaction to a stimulus.

One way to correctly convey the concept of sensation is through examples such as:

  1. Capture the sound of the wind (Through the sense of hearing)
  2. Perceive the smell of food (Through the sense of smell)

The feeling is the subjective experience associated with a physical stimulus and involves the recording and coding of the information contained in the stimulus portions of the sense organs and neural pathways. This information, encoded in nervous messages, is sent to the brain, which decodes and analyzes it until a meaningful interpretation is extracted: perception refers to these processes and can be considered the ultimate goal of sensation.

The sensation corresponds to the simple awareness of the stimulation of a sense organ , and all the senses depend on the transduction process that occurs when the body’s sensors convert chemical signals into neuronal signals that will be sent to the central nervous system. We can thus summarize the process that gives rise to the sensation:

  1. Physical stimulus : matter or form of energy that affects the sense organs (eg light).
  2. Physiological response : complex of electrical activities at the level of sense organs, nerves and the brain triggered by the stimulus.
  3. Sensory experience: subjective and individual psychological experience (eg sound, taste, smell, etc.).

But sensations differ qualitatively and quantitatively: qualitatively we distinguish sensations in relation to the different sense organs and we speak of visual, acoustic, taste, olfactory, tactile, pain, etc. sensations. Each sense organ, when stimulated, to a particular type of sensation that does not vary also varying the physical quality of the stimulus. Therefore, we have different types of sensations .

  • For example , the retina produces visual sensations both when it is stimulated by the stimulus (light waves), and when it is stimulated electrically or by pressure stimuli. From the quantitative point of view, instead, the sensations differ in intensity. In this article you can see the perception of color .

What is perception?From the Latin term ‘perceptio’ which means to receive and understand through stimuli, sensations, impressions, senses and images of what one wants to make known.

It can serve you:  

What is perception?

It is the act of receiving, understanding and interpreting signals external to us, through the sensory organs, specifically the perception obeys the interpretation of the sensations of each person. In other words, not everyone perceives things the same, what some perceive as loud sounds, others may perceive it in a normal tone.

So what is the difference between sensation and perception and what is their relationship to knowledge? The  feeling is  also defined as the response of organs to a stimulus (Feldman, 1999). The  perception  is the interpretation of these  sensations , giving meaning and organization (Matlin and Foley 1996).

Resolving another question, what is the relationship between sensation and perception? We all know that human beings perceive the outside through our senses. Our senses are triggered by the multiple stimuli. The brain manages to immediately transform the sensory messages that are received into conscious perceptions.

According to common sense, perception is a faithful sensory record and the sense organs provide objective information about reality (“naive realism”). On the other hand, in scientific psychology, perception is a complex interpretation of reality , a process of construction of meaning that consists of relating isolated stimuli and attributing meaning through processes of elaboration of sensory cues, of classification, of “adjustment” with respect to the image of objects provided by the senses.

By perception, then, is understood what the individual experiences as reality , or, in other words, the interpretations processed by the brain of raw sensory information; Such interpretations are determined by the interaction of three factors: past experience, current knowledge, and innate processes.

The study of this psychological function has always had a leading role in psychology, precisely because the performance of an individual’s perceptual apparatus determines the image of the world that is constructed and, at the same time, the immediate limits of his knowledge. Since ancient times, the problem of how the mind knows, perceives and processes the world has been widely discussed, giving life to reflection on the relationship between perception and perceived reality, that is, between what can be defined objective or subjective.

We can group the studies on perception in three main orientations : the science of vision, cognitive approaches and studies on the genesis of perception itself.

What Is The Differences Between Sensation And Perception?Once we have seen the definition of sensation and the explanation of perception, we are going to compare both concepts. We found 4 main differences between sensation and perception.

  • Sensation is a reaction and perception an elaboration . Sensory experience (visual, auditory, etc.) is the reaction to internal and external stimuli (physical and biological) captured by the sense organs; Perceptual experience is the subjective elaboration (on the basis of interests, habits, etc.) of the data offered by the sense organs, and such elaboration acquires its objective validity if it finds confirmation in scientific tests. The sensations to be transformed into perceptions, must be completed with mnemonic data from past experiences, on the basis of prevailing interests, with a view to an action to be carried out.
  • Sensation is receiving and perception is grasping . While the sensation consists of receiving stimuli such as sounds, images, etc., the perception resides in capturing the relationships between them or between the characteristics of each one, giving it a meaning.
  • The sensation is more basic and the perception more complex . The term “sensation” expresses an elemental psychic phenomenon caused by external stimuli that act on the receptor organs; “perception”, on the other hand, defines a rather complex phenomenon that also considers the processing of sensory data and psychic integration. The concept of perception thus expresses the mind-sense relationship and, despite the different nuances that the study of perception assumes in the various orientations, it is agreed to recognize aspects of the perceptual psychic function that are considerably more complex than simple sensation.
  • The sensation is more immediate and the perception is not . The characteristics of the sensation are that they arise immediately from the stimulation of a sensory receptor, from being present to consciousness more or less clearly, from being passively elicited without being sought or desired. Perception, on the other hand, is a sensation enriched by “asensory” elements (reflection, memory, etc.), which force us to add an interpretation to the sensory data, and it is actively sought and loved.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

The Important Difference Between Sensation And Perception

We are so used to seeing , hearing, smellingtouching,  tasting,  that we think that the world around us is really how we see, hear, touch or taste.

But the reality is that no. That is simply a construction of our brain ( perception ) of the information that comes to us through our senses ( sensation ).

Rubin's VaseA vase or two faces?

The simplest proof is the multitude of optical illusions that exist. It is not that different information or light particles do not reach the eyes, but that our brain interprets the same image in different ways and that is what we end up seeing.Another is the famous ” blind spot .” There is a small region in the back of the eye (the optic disc) that does not have light receptors, so it cannot receive information about what is happening in an area of ​​our field of vision.

human eye4. Optic disc in the human eye.

But we do not see any “holes” in what we see. Why?Well, because our brain predicts what information should go in that area and fills it in the image we see .The problem is when something unexpected appears in that area and the brain is wrong in its prediction . This is what happens when we drive and someone enters our “blind spot.”

Key Differences Between Sensation And Perception

  • A sensation is the immediate reaction of the sense organs; perception interprets sensations to give them meaning.
  • The sensation is of physiological origin and the perception is psychological.
  • Sensation is objective while perception is subjective.
  • The sensation is unconscious when obeying a sensory response, being the perception conscious when processing the information by the person.
  • The sensation is a response that is emitted when receiving a stimulus, and the perception is an explanation that we construct.
  • Sensation is only made up of three elements, stimulus, sensory organ and response, while perception is made up of countless elements.

Difference Between Sensation And Perception By Comparison Table

Comparative chart
Sensation Perception
Definition It is about the reception of stimuli that occurs thanks to the sensory organs (smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing). They are immediate basic experiences that are usually generated by simple stimuli. These stimuli are transformed into electrical and / or chemical impulses that travel to the nervous system or the brain where they are transformed into perceptions. It can be said that it is the interpretation of sensory stimuli (sensations). It is the part of the sensory-perceptual process in which sensations are given meaning and are organized and integrated. Perception is individual, so the processing of stimuli is different for each person. The same stimulus will not be perceived in the same way by two people.
Examples A certain person can feel a change in the aroma of the environment. This change in scent is perceived as a specific perfume or essence, for example, the perfume that the mother of this person.

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