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Cognition > Perception - 1 of 1

Perception and Sensory Processing

We do not experience reality exactly as it exists, but as our experience and memories cause us to perceive it. Our sensory systems detect and take in stimuli from the environment in the form of physical energy. Each sensory receptor type is sensitive to only one form of energy. These receptors convert or transduce this energy into electrochemical energy that can be processed by the brain. However, our perception involves more than the receipt of sensory information. We must attend to, select, organize, and interpret this information in order to meaningfully recognize objects and events in our environment.

Our interpretation of sensory information requires retrieval from long-term memory. Our prior experience and knowledge, emotional state, and value system (including prejudices) determine our perceptions.

Adapted from
Wickens' Human Information Processing Model*

*adapted from Wickens, C.D., Engineering Psychology and Human Performance, Harper Collins, New York, 1992.



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