The Five Stages of Perception

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16th Jul 2019 Psychology Reference this


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Perception is the process which people are aware of objects and events in the external world. Perception occurs in five stages: stimulation, organization, interpretation-evaluation, memory and recall. People studied perception as the need to solve a particular problems, arise simply from intellectual curiosity about themselves and the world. It is important to know just what kind of perceptual demands can reasonably be placed on human senses without compromising safety and sanity (Russell & Ward, 1982). The study of perception one can identify and correct potentially hazardous environment conditions that threaten the senses and impair the ability to make decision.


Perception is defined as process of one’s ultimate experience of the world and involves further processing of sensory input. Sensation and perception are virtually impossible to separate, because they are part of one continuous process. Perception in human processes sensory stimulation and translated into organized experience. The world is full of stimuli that can attract our attention through various senses. Thus we are able to describe systematically the sights, sound, smell and taste that populate our conscious experience. It is a fundamental process in all interpersonal communication encounters. Stimulation, organization, interpretation-evaluation, memory and recall (Devito, 2009). These five stages of how we perceive people and the processes that influence our perceptions. In Gestalt’s theory, he believed that complex is very important in perception. As we perceive events, the brain actively selects, organizes and integrates sensory information to construct an event. Perception creates faces, melodies, and illusions of raw material of sensation.

The 5 Stages of Perception

1. Stimulation

The occurrence of sensory stimulation basically this part of perception process involves in contact with a particular stimulus. The world is full of stimuli that can attract our attention through various senses. Thus we are able to describe systematically the sights, sound, smell and taste that populate our conscious experience. Stimulation includes selective attention and selective exposure. Selective attention occurs by anticipating fulfill needs and prove enjoyable (Rooks & Willson, 2000, Devito, 2009). For example, friends talking to you but you were daydreaming. You won’t hear what they are saying until they called out your name. Selective exposure occurs by exposing information that will confirm an existing beliefs, contributing to objectives and having a state of satisfaction. As we are not able to percept everything that is happening around us simultaneously, we tend to engage in selective perception; perceiving only positive things. For example, after buying a laptop, one’s tend to read more online or asked people around that the product one’s bought is good because we want to tell ourselves that we make the right decision and avoid negative feedback ( Devito, 2009).

2. Organization

The capacity to identify and recognize objects and events is crucial for normal perception. Without that capacity, people cannot effectively use their senses. Perception which organized by rules, schemata and scripts. Organized by rules, people perceive things that are physically close together constitute a unit. People developed schemata from actual experiences as well as vicarious experience from daily activities or from television, reading or hearsay ( Devito , 2009) Some familiarity represented in mind will be some kind of schema. This would help one’s perception to categories into number of categories. However, it may cause perception errors as it influences one’s to perceive non existence things or miss seeing things in presence. A script is a form of schema that focuses on action, event or procedure. It is a process of how we behaved and how we organized it with our own action which organized by a pattern ( Rookes & Willson, 2000; Devito, 2009).

3. Interpretation-Evaluation

In this interpretation-evaluation stage it is two process of stimuli by individual experiences, needs, wants, values, expectations, physical and emotional state, gender and beliefs meaning based on by individual’s rules, schemata and scripts. For example meeting a new person who is a doctor, one’s tend to view this person as someone serious, successful, health conscious, academic strong. In other words, evaluating individuals depending on one’s own script the way individual behave and perform the action appropriate or inappropriate ( Devito, 2009).

4. Memory

After undergoing the stages of stimulation, organization and interpretation-evaluation, this leads us to another stage called memory. It is a storage of both perception and interpretation-evaluation that are kept according to scripts and schemas Events or experiences is not the objective of recollection but is more likely heavily influenced by individuals preconceptions and individuals schemata ( Russell, 1976).

5. Recall

After some time, the memory that are stored individuals want to recall certain information. Recall stage reconstruct what individual heard in a way that are meaningful. Recall information that consistent with schemas. However failure to do so, it is inconsistent with schemas. Recall information drastically contradicts one’s schema because it forces individual to think or even rethink ( Devito,2009).

Reducing Uncertainty in Perception

Uncertainties in perception have many causes. Individual does not make themselves thinking the best way to defined their own interpersonal processes. Individual analyzed their own logical and critical thinking through their own emotional and physiological state to influence the depth meaning of their own perceptions. For better understanding of perception, they have to reduce the uncertainties to achieve greater accuracy in perception. There are various ways to reduced uncertainties. For example, having an informal social activity people are more likely to reveal their true selves or they have the tendency to monitor their behavior less than a formal activity. Through this, we can observe people while they interact with others. Through formal or informal activities, people can observe how they act and react, gathering up information. Having fear of people for no appropriate reasons or losing touch of reality would caused harmful to themselves ( Berger & Bradac, 1982; Gudykunst, 1994; Devito,2009).


Each individual has differences. There are differences in culture, beliefs, knowledge and experience. People should never judge a person, but analyze their perceptions, revealing positive rather than negative information. Collecting information about a person or situation and observing or interacting with them will help us to recognize the differences in each of us and others. We should avoid attemptng to read minds, and avoid trying to deduce the thoughts and feelings from the behavior that they present to us. We choose what we perceive.

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