Perception, analysis, and performance – here are the three key elements of cognitive psychology.
Which of them do you think is the most important?
In fact, they all work in complex, but perception is a starting point for the other elements.
One of the most convenient ways of understanding a notion or phenomenon is analyzing it by breaking it into smaller parts. Let us try to do the same with the notion of cognitive psychology. If to talk plain, this science is aimed at studying the processes that happen in human mind. Naming these processes would take a lot of time; however, their main categories are well known. These are perception, analysis, and performance of the information. These are the three whales of human brain, which enable us interact with the surrounding world.
Interestingly, despite the fact that all the mentioned processes are equally important, their nature is different. For instance, performance of the information is obvious; it is realized in speaking, acting, reacting, etc. In contrast, the process of information analysis is more obscure; only the thinker knows what is in his or her head.
What does the notion “perception” mean? The way we see the surrounding world? Our attitude to it? Or maybe a set of physiological processes like hearing, smelling, and seeing?
Perception is an essential human ability, which, however, is realized in different ways by different individuals.
Finally, the process of information perception can be referred to as the most enigmatic. This is due to the fact that not only the other people, but even the person who perceives an information are often unaware of how this process is realized. For this reason, perception is considered as one of the basic and the least explored notions in cognitive psychology.
The role of perception in cognitive psychology has always been valued. Starting from one of the first cognitive psychologies, such as David Hume, who claimed that “The mind is observable only through perception” (Normansell, 1), perception was studied as a key element of this science. Indeed, perception of the outer world is an essential ability that is given to humans even before they are born. Perception of sounds, light, taste, and touch is available to a foetus in a womb, while all the other processes studied by cognitive psychology happen later, when a person acquires certain abilities.
Do people perceive things in the same way? Or do we see the world in different ways?
What does the perception of certain objects and phenomena depend on?
- Psychological peculiarities
- Social status
These and other factors can determine the way we see things.
However, despite the fact that the perception is a natural human ability, different people use it to a different extent. Cognitive psychologists established that “pattern recognition is crucial” for successful performance of different actions, and the more patterns we recognize, the better we do at a certain task (Thomas, 2). Thus, learning new patterns in taste, visual images, sounds, etc. develops our abilities and therefore discovers new opportunities offered by perception.
What is more, our perception is not limited by the consciousness. It has been proved by numerous studies that depending on personal sensitivity and attitude towards the perceived information a certain irritant can influence humans’ unconsciousness in different ways (Merikle, 15). In other words, one and the same picture, sound, or event can be perceived differently by different individuals. This discovery has brought cognitive psychology at a new level, broadening the fields of its research and rising new questions.
Merikle, P. (1998). Psychological investigations of unconscious perception. Journal on Consciousness Studies, 5(1), 5-18.
Normansell, L. (1997). History of Cognitive Psychology. Muskingum College. Web.
Thomas, A. (2001). Cognitive Psychology: Sensation and Perception. Psychology. Web.