Our Senses Around Us

By: Kimberly Hamilton

The Perceptual Process

This process is what occurs when the body experiences stimuli in the environment or the world around them and then ends with the behavioral response of perceiving (looking around), recognizing (knowing the identifying what is around), and taking action (decide what to do next depending upon what they've perceived) (Goldstein, 2014). There are seven steps involved within this process that consist of focusing on stimuli that exists within the environment (Goldstein, 2014). The first step is environmental stimulus, being the thing that one is focusing on such as a garbage can. When the individual visualizes the garbage can a person's perception is based on the reflection of light off the garbage can (Goldstein, 2014). That light that is reflected off the garbage can is actually one of the main principles of transformation. Principle of transformation is basically when stimuli and ones responses that are created by stimuli are changed, or transformed, between either the stimulus and the perception (Goldstein, 2014). The lights that hits the garbage can and reflects off the can to the individual's eye, this is the first transformation (Goldstein, 2014). The image of the garbage can is then focused on the retinal which also is a principle of perception known as the principle of representation (Goldstein, 2014). A person's perception is based on the representation of the stimuli that forms on the receptor, as well as the person's nervous system (Goldstein, 2014). Sensory receptors are part of the third step with the receptor processes and transduction (Goldstein, 2014). Sensory receptors are specialized cells that respond to ones environmental energy around them and respond to a specific type of energy (Goldstein, 2014). The fourth step is neural processing this is where interactions occur between signals that travel in networks of neurons in the retina, then on the pathway to ones brain, and lastly the interactions occur within the brain (Goldstein, 2014). This process includes electrical signals that each sense arrives at which is called the primary receiving area (Goldstein, 2014). The cerebral cortex is the thick layer that includes the function like language, memory, and also thinking (Goldstein, 2014). The different lobes within the primary receiving area such as the occipital lobe (vision), temporal lobe (hearing), parietal lobe (skin senses), and the frontal lobe (Receives signals from all sense) (Goldstein, 2014). The last three steps consist of behavioral responses which are perception, recognition, and action (Goldstein, 2014). The electrical signals from the fourth step turn into conscious experiences such as the individual perceives the garbage can, recognizes the garbage can, and then takes action such as picking up the garbage can or getting closer to get a better look at it (Goldstein, 2014). The main thing to keep notice of is the perceptual process can be constantly changing over time (Goldstein, 2014).

Real Life Example


An individual walks out to obtain the garbage can at the end of the driveway. The person first uses sight, and touch to locate and put on their shoes. They then walk out the door and immediately feel the suns warmth on them, the suns brightness is seen, feel the breeze of wind across their face, see the green grass and garbage can at the end of the driveway. The sight is used to be able to walk towards the garbage can to retrieve it. The person as walking towards the garbage can smells the scent of the neighbors grilling outside.If this person did not have sight there are quite a few things that can go very different. The person would not be able to see the garbage cans in the first place, and the path towards getting to the garbage cans would be impossible. The person would also be unable to see the bright glow of the sun. If sight was lost I would say this situation would change in the sense that if probably would not be as peaceful as a walk to the mailbox rather a stressful situation of not knowing where to walk. I can imagine one would also be frightened to not known where they are going and potentially run into something or even walk into the middle of the road and get insured.