17 curiosities about human perception

Human perception is something that has been studied for many centuries without finding an unequivocal answer to how humans interpret the world from the physical reality around us.

In this article we will see some curiosities about human perception, In addition to some interesting facts about how it originates in our mind and also psychological currents that have tried to give you an explanation.

    Curiosities about human perception

    Here are some curious facts about the way we think about things.

    1. Perception is in our mind

    Throughout history, it has been debated whether human beings see the world as it really is, having different views on it. Today we know that reality and the way we see it do not match.

    There is a material reality outside of our body, but how we receive it with our senses and process it, generating ideas and concepts associated with it, is a very variable thing from person to person. ‘other.

    In other words, and although it may seem surprising, neither flavors, smells, tactile sensations, nor sights nor sounds exist by themselves. They are the way in which we interpret things of different nature and physicochemical properties.

    2. Perception has its limits

    Linked to the previous point, the human being cannot know reality entirely through his senses.

    We have an example with the eye, which has a spectrum of sensitivity and, at the level of the brain, we give each wavelength a certain color.

    But this spectrum is limited, because humans cannot perceive ultraviolet rays or infrared rays, which makes us unable to capture such realities.

    3. Difference between perception and sensation

    Contrary to what many people believe, feeling and perception are not synonymous. There are also people who change their meaning, referring to sensation with the definition of perception and vice versa.

    Sensation essentially registers a physical stimulus through the senses. For example, for a ray of a certain wavelength to reach the retina of the eye and be captured, that would fall under this concept.

    On the other hand, it refers to the perception when, at the level of the brain, it is given an interpretation to this type of stimuli captured in the sensation.

    In the above case, it would be to transform the wavelength into a certain color. Color is something that doesn’t really exist in nature.

    4. Phases of perception

    For perception to take place, four phases must take place:

    • detection: A stimulus affects a sensory organ.
    • transduction: The external stimulus turns into a sensory impression.
    • Processing: Sensory information arrives as nerve impulses to the brain, where it is encoded and structured.
    • Perception in itself: Encodings are recognized and shape the mind, also assigning emotions to the stimulus originally received.

    5. What did the Gestalt think of perception?

    According to the psychological current of Gestalt, the human mind has the capacity to perceive different aspects as a complete entity. In other words, the combination of different elements gives more than the sum of these parts.

    The feeling would be to receive these pieces separately, without giving them any value related to each other. however, with the perception the meaning of these elements as a whole would be obtained.

    In the following points, we describe very briefly some laws attributed to Gestalt which attempt to explain human perception.

    6. Proximity principle

    tender a perceive things that are close to each other as a group automatically.

      7. Principle of similarity

      Elements that resemble each other are seen as part of the same unit.

      8. Principle of the figure-ground

      The same visual stimulus cannot be perceived both as a background and as a figure. The background is anything that is not seen from the figure.

      9. Principle of continuity

      If several objects are placed forming a flow, orienting towards a specific place or point, they will be perceived as a whole.

      10. Closing principle

      A number is perceived more clearly the more its contour is closed.

      11. Parallax of motion

      The name movement parallax may not sound like anything to anyone, but it is a very common perceptual phenomenon these days.

      Imagine that we are on a bus and that we are on the highway. As the bus goes, trees and houses pass, but they do so in the opposite direction. giving the feeling of moving in the opposite direction.

      12. Perception can be fiction

      Optical illusions are a clear example. Believing everything you see is a big mistake, because our senses can be mistaken and in turn the brain misinterprets what is perceived.

      13. Continuity of vision

      We humans blink our eyes. It’s not a big surprise. But, we wonder how many times do we do it per day? Do we have an account? Are we aware?

      The vast majority would surely answer these questions with a resounding no, but how is it possible that opening and closing our eyes, that is, ceasing to see momentarily, is something that we do not notice, even if it happens?

      One blink may last for approximately 300 to 400 millisecondsThis means that visual information is interrupted for a very short period of time, but it also means that you stop receiving visual stimulation. Although sensation is interrupted, perception is not. We continue to “see”, mentally.

      This is because during blinking a neural inhibitory mechanism is activated, which decreases awareness that the eyes are being kept closed and that, effectively, no visual information is being received, thus contributing to stability and continuity of vision.

      14. Perception of spicy

      When we eat a little spicy, that is, it contains capsaicin, the brain does not interpret it as a taste in itself, but as if the thermal sensors of the tongue were activated. This is why spiciness is associated with heat.

      15. Smells and emotions

      The main reason that smells are more easily associated with emotions is that the sense centers of smell are connected, through the olfactory nerve, directly to the more emotional part of the brain.

      16. Colors affect depth perception

      Cool colors are interpreted as distant, while warm colors are considered closer. The most saturated colors are also interpreted as closer to the viewer.

      17. Color can affect taste

      Perception arises from the combination of various physical stimuli that are interpreted in the brain, as we have said throughout the article.

      A curious fact about this is how color can influence the taste of things, a technique that he is very popular in marketing.

      For example, the color of the cup when serving chocolate influences the perceived taste of this drink. This sweet liquid is interpreted differently if served in a brown cup, depending on the color of the chocolate, as in a blue cup, for example.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Schiffman, RR.HH. (1997). Sensory perception. Limusa, Noriega Editores. Mexico.
      • Goldstein, EB (2006, 6th ed.). Sensation and perception. Madrid: Thompson
      • Coren, S., Ward, LM & Enns, JT (2001, 5th ed.). Sensation and perception. Madrid: MacGraw-Hill

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