Perception  

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This page Perception is part of the senses series.  Illustration: Drawing for the interior view of the Théatre de Besançon (1784) by Claude Nicolas Ledoux
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This page Perception is part of the senses series.
Illustration: Drawing for the interior view of the Théatre de Besançon (1784) by Claude Nicolas Ledoux
Venus at the Opera (1844) by Grandville (French, 1803 – 1847)
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Venus at the Opera (1844) by Grandville (French, 1803 – 1847)

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Perception (from the Latin perceptio, percipio) is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sense organs. For example, vision involves light striking the retina of the eye, smell is mediated by odor molecules, and hearing involves pressure waves.

Since the rise of experimental psychology in the 19th century, psychology's understanding of perception has progressed by combining a variety of techniques. Psychophysics quantitatively describes the relationships between the physical qualities of the sensory input and perception. Sensory neuroscience studies the brain mechanisms underlying perception.

Although the senses were traditionally viewed as passive receptors, the study of illusions and ambiguous images has demonstrated that the brain's perceptual systems actively and pre-consciously attempt to make sense of their input. There is still active debate about the extent to which perception is an active process of hypothesis testing, analogous to science, or whether realistic sensory information is rich enough to make this process unnecessary.

Etymology

From Middle English perceiven, from Old French percevoir, perceveir, from Latin percipere, past participle perceptus (“take hold of, obtain, receive, observe”), from per (“by, through”) + capere (“to take”); see capable. Compare conceive, deceive, receive.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Perception" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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