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In philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science, perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information. The word "perception" comes from the Latin words perceptio, percipio, and means "receiving, collecting, action of taking possession, apprehension with the mind or senses."[1]

Perception is one of the oldest fields in psychology. The oldest quantitative law in psychology is the Weber-Fechner law, which quantifies the relationship between the intensity of physical stimuli and their perceptual effects. The study of perception gave rise to the Gestalt school of psychology, with its emphasis on holistic approach.

What one perceives is a result of interplays between past experiences, including one’s culture, and the interpretation of the perceived.



Two types of consciousness are considerable regarding perception: phenomenal (any occurrence that is observable and physical) and psychological. The difference every sighted person can demonstrate to him- or herself is by the simple opening and closing of his or her eyes: phenomenal consciousness is thought, on average, to be predominately absent without senses such as sight. Through the full or rich sensations present in senses such as sight, nothing by comparison is present while the senses are not engaged, such as when the eyes are closed. Using this precept, it is understood that, in the vast majority of cases, logical solutions are reached through simple human sensation.[2] The analogy of Plato's Cave was coined to express these ideas.[clarification needed]

Passive perception (conceived by René Descartes) can be surmised as the following sequence of events: surrounding → input (senses) → processing (brain) → output (re-action).[3] Although still supported by mainstream philosophers, psychologists and neurologists, this theory is nowadays losing momentum. The theory of active perception has emerged from extensive research of sensory illusions, most notably the works of Richard L. Gregory. This theory, which is increasingly gaining experimental support, can be surmised as dynamic relationship between "description" (in the brain) ↔ senses ↔ surrounding, all of which holds true to the linear concept of experience.

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