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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Perception:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Cleanup : *Use clearer references and deal with weasel words
  • Expand : *Explain the relationship between perception and consciousness.
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Original research[edit]

At the top of this page is a list of article policies. No original research is one of our fundamental policies. I'm a bit disturbed to see a suggestion that " The authors therefore decided to invite his or hers personal, real life, experiences of every reader to fill in the gaps - with style.". This is clearly original research, and with all dues respect, not acceptable, no matter how a few editors feel about it. Articles must be reliably and verifiably sourced. As it says underneath the edit window in which I am writing, "Please post only encyclopedic information that can be verified by external sources." See WP:RS and WP:Verify. Other Wikipedia articles, by the way, are not acceptable as sources. I doubt that replacing the current article with one without inline citations will be acceptable either, and I hope that isn't attempted. Dougweller (talk) 14:33, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

I agree completely. DES (talk) 15:17, 19 February 2010 (UTC)


The section on perception-in-action does not distinguish well between Gibson's and Glaserfeld's account. First, Glaserfeld should be referred to as a radical, not a social constructivist. The concept of invariants as referred to by Gibson, and by Glaserfeld in contrast, are quite remote, and as far as I understand, the constructivist and direct realist positions are in stark opposition.

Also, it should strongly be distinguished between the action-perception interrelation, and the topic of direct perception.

As to action-perception: schema theory as developed e.g. in M. A. Arbib 1989, motor theory of perception, and the articles on embodied cognition, situated cognition, the buzzwords of action-perception and sensorimotor loops can help.

As to direct perception: Gibson's ideas are based on Brunswik's (the conception of molar units as important for psychology is further developed there). The concept of "information pickup" should be elaborated. Apart from current revivals (also, again, see the article on situated cognition), this has been discussed by several (with a tendency towards opposition) camps, e.g. Ullman: Against direct perception, and work by Glenberg, Greeno, Turvey, Shaw. Morton Shumway (talk) 04:01, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Phenomenal consciousness and vision[edit]

Under "Types" I read: "phenomenal consciousness is thought, on average, to be predominately absent without sight. Through the full or rich sensations present in sight, nothing by comparison is present while the eyes are closed."

What follows is that blind persons' phenomenal consciousness is absent in comparison to that of non-blind. A solution of course is to consider the other senses, including proprioception. Morton Shumway (talk) 04:19, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

The senses of hearing, olfaction, tasting and touching also allow for phenomenal consciousness. I will update the article with this information. Alan347 (talk) 18:38, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Little bit of omission going on[edit]

I wanted to look up the Aristotelian theory of the inner senses, especially given the discussion of qualia which occurs variously in other Wiki articles, and the description given of Eccles' understanding of sense. I figured, these things get mentioned, theoretically this should be covered, right? Well, there's no article on "inner sense", which has enough pedigree that there should be. I don't mean ESP or non-verifiable unreasoned postulations, I mean the philosophical theory used to hypothetically explain imagination, memory, estimation and distinction between different proper objects of sensation put forward by Aristotle and fiddled with by Moderns.

Now, I figured, if there's no article on inner sense, there will be one on "sense". I looked, and lo and behold! There was an article on sense, but there's nothing on inner sense, because from the beginning, the article limits itself to a physiological discussion. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Aristotle didn't say there wasn't an organ (or many organs) corresponding to the inner senses, and in fact there were many hypotheses about where in the brain or heart these organs might be located. So why is it not mentioned, even as a historical interest? Or under "philosophy of perception" (no mention)? Perception, the article, lacks a single mention of the theory. Shouldn't it be, I don't know, somewhere? It's related to all of these articles, and used to be used as a grand unifying philosophical theory of perception; it's still taught in philosophical schools; and Wikipedia is not the place for chronological snobbery.

Whatever the case, if nothing gets done, I might just add something myself. I've just been really busy and am hoping someone else might see fit to bring this into the light.

TonalHarmony (talk) 21:21, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

I think a good point to start would be the article on sensus communis, i.e. koine aisthesis. Or you might expand the article on On the Soul. Otherwise, the concept has some history in philosophy, but also in neuro- and the cognitive sciences (the mirror neurons and the simulation theory of theory of mind come to mind, so that starting a decent article on that concept would be quite some work. Morton Shumway (talk) 19:45, 10 March 2010 (UTC)


This subject needs way more neuroscience involvement. This should be listed as a neuroscience article just as much (if not more) than a philosophy or psychology article. I know I'm biased because I am a neuroscientist, but really.Grouphug (talk) 06:09, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

The article is already part of the Neuropsychology section of the Mind and Brain Portal. Please add a section on the concept in the particular context of Neuroscience. --Morton Shumway (talk) 16:28, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

I would add that much of the writing on this page is very handwave-y and ambiguous ("esemplastic"?!). Lots of science, hard thinking and work has been put in to this field over thousands of years and it deserves better. Also, Gibson is not the only psychophysicist. Needs enriching. --argumentum_ornithologicum (talk) 22:56, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

It rather needs a rewrite—n. b. Gibson is no psychophysicist. Best, Morton Shumwaytalk 03:44, 18 October 2010 (UTC).

Can anyone explain why the Rorschach test has relevance to perception? -- (talk) 03:30, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Improvement on the page's layout / Robert Fludd[edit]

  • The page's layout is pretty confusing because it has the sidebars of Philosophy, Psychology and Neuropsychology with an exaustive list of categories and sub categories immediately beneath the heading of Perception so that the reader is not guided gradually into an appreciation of the topic 'perception' but is instead presented with an array of other information. The excellent picture of Robert Fludd is very suitable at the start of the article but the sidebars Philosophy, Psychology and Neuropsychology should be inserted at the bottom, so that the reader might want to access them after he has been guided into the subject of perception systematically. I will do this.
  • Again, the fact that immediately the reader is presented with the text: Perception: Disambiguation, is confusing. Perception refers to a specific, well studied process, thought in universities as a credit under both philosophy and psychology. It is a general study of the process of gaining awareness and something of a general knowledge which allows no immediate disambiguation. I will delete the disambiguation from the top of the page for I see no need of it, if the reader is searching for perception Blessid union of Souls album or the doors album, a journal or a TV series, he can very well enter that information in the search bar himself. I think it is simple enough.
  • The first thing the reader is presented with under the section: Perception and reality is a diagram of ambiguous objects. This is done to explain the cognitive interplay in perception. It should not be presented immediately to the reader but in the context of a fully articulated articulation of the cognitive interplay in perception.

Alan347 (talk) 19:01, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

1. Please restore the link to the disambiguation page at the beginning of the article. There is nothing confusing about it. Disambiguations are supposed to be at the top of pages. 2. I am not sure whether what you call "sidebars" should better remain at the top of the page, but I think that is what is agreed on as a general layout here. 3. Perception is not only studied in the fields of psychology and philosophy, but as well e.g. in cognitive neuropsychology, which is a subfield of neuroscience, and in cognitive science, which is a transdisciplinary approach. 4. As I see the article now, you have deleted quite a lot of content. if you intend to reintegrate it, if reasonable, I am keen to see your improvements - do you? 5. As of your revision now, the article has no lead section. Please take a look at the help pages and see what is supposed to go into it. Best, --Morton Shumway (talk) 00:43, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Now that I took a closer look at the differences between your edits and the last revision before those, I see that you have simply deleted quite a lot of important content. Sure, the article was not very good, not well-phrased, nor very systematic. However, I cannot see which improvement your new version is in comparison. I don't think that e.g. the mentioning of poverty of the stimulus, which in the context of the older revision would e.g. be a good starting point for elaborating the conception of perception in Gestalt psychology (a rather important aspect in the scope of the article) should just vanish. What do you think? Best, --Morton Shumway (talk) 01:00, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I find it unfortunate that you chose to remove your last contribution to the discussion. The main issue here is that you have heavily edited the article, while the improvement as of now is at least debatable. This is the main point I ask you to comment on (see above). However, as to the three points you raised: 1. For the policy on disambiguations see WP:D. If you enter "Perception" in the search bar, you are not lead to the disambiguation page, but to this article. However, in case somebody were looking for a different use of "Perception", the little link to the disambiguation page at the top of the article is supposed to give users the opportunity to get to the article they were looking for. 2. You insist that perception is studied in three fields, yet my example demonstrates this is not the case. Your systematisation of approaches (philosophy: P. and truth; psychology: P. and person; cognitive science: P. as physical) is not suitable to manage a general article on the topic. E.g.: in philosophy there are prominent approaches that do not focus that much on truth. 3. How do you see that I could help with a lead section after you deleted the one that was already there? Please take a look at the revision of the article before and after your edits, what information and structure which already was in the article is missing now. Best, --Morton Shumway (talk) 14:39, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I deleted my contribution to the discussion on this pecause I did not want to rush.
(1) Disambiguation: It is so obvious to me that Perception refers to the perception page that I find a disambiguation about it unfair.
(2) Isn't cognitive neuropsychology part of psychology ?
(3) Philosophy is all about wisdom and truth. Those approaches that don't study Perception under Truth in Philosophy do that because they think that there is no Truth. i.e. their truth is that there is no truth. heheh

Alan347 (talk) 12:25, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. Sorry for not answering your questions, but I think I need to stress that the main concern should be the article as a whole.
You find the current state of the article with your edits here:
You find the last state of the article before you started editing here:
Please discuss in how far you see your changes to the article as an improvement! Please discuss why so many things e.g. under Perception and reality should not be kept in current versions of the article.
Best, --Morton Shumway (talk) 12:56, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

The edits by Alan347 need to be reverted because, however well-intentioned they are, they have damaged the article. Wikipedia policy is broken by not having the disambiguation link at the top. The sidebars are now crowded together at the bottom. Unnecessary headings have been introduced. A well-written lead has been removed. Most seriously, a lot of content has gone, some of it sourced to academic sources. The "Perception and Reality" section had five sources, which wasn't enough, but now it has none. Thanks Morton for raising this issue. Alan, you can't ignore the rules because you just don't like them. Please work with Wikipedia rather than against it, and make changes incrementally rather than major surgery as you have done. MartinPoulter (talk) 13:57, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Robert Fludd's diagram of perception is now described in English. Alan347 (talk) 18:33, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Sorry Alan, but I've had to delete the content you added. This article needs to be an up-to-date, accessible summary of the topic of perception, rounding up how the topic is addressed in psychology, philosophy, physiology and other relevant fields. There could possibly be a historical section, but otherwise material that's centuries old would not have so much prominence. The historical section would have to keep discussion of Fludd's theory very short to give it the same weight as other historical views. There is scope for a separate historical article, maybe even one on Fludd's theory if there are enough sources discussion it, and an explanation of Fludd's diagram could go there.
Also, please don't add material that has so many spelling or grammatical errors. Consider writing your text first in a word processor with spell check, and then pasting into Wikipedia.

MartinPoulter (talk) 12:12, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree with the reasons for deleting the content from the article given above by User:MartinPoulter and have done another 2 reverts (the content was originally added preceding the lead by User:Alan347, then moved to a separate section by another reviewer). Even for a separate section the material is not suitable, since it refers to a historically as well as systematically very particular position which is not appropriate for a general article on perception. Even in a historical section, the scope would be the general relevance of Fludd's theory for the concept proper, not a paraphrase of a part of Fludd's work in general. Even if not relevant for that matter, the added material lacked consistency, references, and context, it rather was a rough circumscription of the content of Fludd's diagram.
Alan, maybe the place to contribute your work would be the article on Robert Fludd, but in that case you would still have to improve it - contentwise as well as stylistically. I have recommended you some useful articles at the help pages a while ago. Best, --Morton Shumway (talk) 23:59, 23 June 2010 (UTC).
Of course it is appropriate for a general article on perception ! Alan347 (talk) 09:18, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Alan347, up to now you have at no time given arguments for your claims. Instead, you have several times now stated that you are right just because you say so. You have not been properly partaking in the discussions about the changes.
Please realise that Wikipedia is a community which has evolved mechanisms and standards to deal with the issues which arise in the distributed co-editing of an encyclopedia, and realise that Wikipedia has relatively high standards as to its content, the form in which this content is organised, and as to methodological issues as well.
If you are interested in contributing to Wikipedia, please study the material which other users point out, if someone points towards a certain policy (as e.g. WP:Reliable) it may be helpful for you if you study that information. That way you can develop an understanding why some edits must be reverted, even if they were conceived in good faith, and you can also learn how to partake in the endeavour of encyclopedic work.
--Morton Shumway (talk) 13:33, 24 June 2010 (UTC).
At last, a comprehensive description of perception where not only the physical realm is treated, but also the intellectual, imaginable and sensible. Alan347 (talk) 15:38, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

User:Alan347 has been placing the Fludd image at the top of the article with the argument that "Robert Fludd's description of perception is exceedingly important" - I linked here to demonstrate there was no consensus for this, but I realise now this talk section is about his Fludd-heavy editing of the lead, and the issue of Alan347 adding an inappropriate Fludd image (he seems to be doing this on a few articles) was actually had at Talk:Conscience.

I'd say the same argument stands here, though - this article doesn't mention Fludd, or even mention historical views of the concept of perception. Even if it did, one man's 17th century theory doesn't merit the weight of a large image at the top of the article, when the article's subject is much, much broader. --McGeddon (talk) 08:58, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Please note: Fludd's description of Perception was present here before any of my edits. Refer to article history. I just described the image. The image needs to be described because it is a valid, inclusive theory of perception. It is precisely the inclusion of conscience, imagination and memory which make perception what it is and not the physical realm in abstraction. Unfortunately, by the way this article has been written it deals with perception as if it where only a mechanical thing. Perception involves the person in his wholeness, and this includes his conscience, his reflection, his memory, his imagination, and his motive. Also the physical realm is not the only realm that exists. There is also the intellectual realm. This is the realm by which we decide things such as good/bad. For example how did you perceive that my Fludd's diagram was a bad addition and needed to be reverted? You did this by your conscience, not by your eye-sight. For your eye-sight would have only given you an article void of any significance which is tantamount to no perception what so ever. Alan347 (talk) 10:23, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Is that the way perception is dealt with in modern academic sources? Do they give Fludd's theory this prominence? If they don't, nor should we. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:39, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
The Fludd image was added by User: Empireheart in June 2009: It was considered a candidate for removal in one now archived discussion contribution. Some time ago, it was placed as part of the section Perception and reality.
I was under the impression that the image was removed from the article to demonstrate that its content-related aspects are of remote importance, in order to stop User:Alan347 from his repeated and (in several ways) ignorant modifications to the article.
I consider the image great illustrative material, and I see no general reason for having it removed, nor do I think the article would need explicit content on Fludd's theory to keep the image.
It is clear, and has been previously argued, that a section on Fludd, or an extensive description of the image is not indicated at all (see the previous discussion, and note that this is not to say that phenomena like consciousness, motivation, attention, imagery etc. do not play a role in modern acedemic discussion on the subject). --Morton Shumway (talk) 12:53, 13 August 2010 (UTC).
More then about consciousness, we need to start talking about conscience: as the sanctuary of our decision making. More then about motivation, we need to start talking about the motive: as a moral attribute. More then about attention we need to talk about memory: as being dynamic and dependent on motive. More then about imagery, we need to talk about the psychological faculty of imagination. Conscience is the center of consciousness and the heart of perception. Alan347 (talk) 15:16, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Alan347--but who's conscience? People have different ideas of right and wrong, don't they?a —'Zujine|talk 17:56, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Every person has a conscience endowed with intellectual, rational and human capabilities. It is the center of consciousness and the heart of perception for every person. It is the sanctuary of every person's decision making. Every person's conscience is in touch with the intellectual realm of reality. Conscience is man's sanctuary. It has a voice of its own and yet it does not have its own word because one hears his own reaction to a particular mode of conduct. Ultimately, in the word of our conscience we perceive God all holy. Conscience is affected by ignorance that can be culpable or invincible. Culpable ignorance is when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin. Invincible ignorance is when the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. At the source of errors of judgment of conscience can be: ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching and lack of conversion and of charity. A perfect conscience is enlightened by faith in Christ. Conscience works in tandem with reflection and is linked with memory and motif and science and imagination. Alan347 (talk) 09:24, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Alan, I'm sorry, but I don't think you're entitled to incorporate these views in to an article on perception. As the sidebars show, this is an article about a topic in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience (or 'neuropsychology'; I'm not sure that's the discipline we're aiming for here). Your views depart significantly from mainstream thinking on the topic, and it is that mainstream thinking which we seek to catalogue here. At least in the mechanistic, scientific view, how I come to see the color green has nothing to do with Jesus or the Church. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Argumentum ornithologicum (talkcontribs) 03:05, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Argumentum Ornithologicum, Perception is much broader then the mechanistic process of coming to see the colour green. We perceive the intellectual realm of reason and judgment. That involves the conscience of the person (conscience from coming to know). We also perceive the world through imagination and memory. It is given the broader outlook on perception is understood that enlightenment by faith makes sense. Thankyou. Alan347 (talk) 12:29, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
You're confusing the use of the term "perception" in psychology, philosophy and neuroscience with the everyday use--"He's very perceptive." Your views belong on a page about theology or possibly not on Wikipedia, unless you are a published author. Also, many people who perceive things, myself included, are not Christians. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Argumentum ornithologicum (talkcontribs) 01:48, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In philosophy the term perception precisely relates to being perceptive Alan347 (talk) 09:53, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

The Types section[edit]

I've removed these two paragraphs. They no doubt resulted from a good-faith attempt to improve the article, but the language was so confusing as to be mostly meaningless. Witness "Two types of consciousness are considerable regarding perception:", "Using this precept, it is understood that, in the vast majority of cases, logical solutions are reached through simple human sensation." and "all of which holds true to the linear concept of experience". This includes the removal of a mention of Richard L. Gregory, but the article needs to mention him, just in a comprehensible sentence. When I was a student of perceptual psychology, Gregory and Gibson were two equally important figures: I don't know which way the debate has gone in the last 17 years. I recommend using the newly rewritten lead as a guide to the structure of the article. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:54, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Problem with first sentence[edit]

It occurs to me that the definitional sentence is wrong, or at least not backed up by the source. It isn't "the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information." but the process of attaining awareness (and other things) of things in the environment, by means of sensory information. Help is welcome with decent sources for a proper defintion. MartinPoulter (talk) 15:05, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Explicit definitions of basic terms can be hard to find in the literature. Here's a 'modern' (indirect + neuro) definition and some sentences more by Pomerantz: "Perception is the complex sequence of processes by which we take the information received from our senses and then organize and interpret it, which in turn allows us to see and hear the world around us as meaningful, recognizable objects and events with clear locations in space and time. The story of perception begins outside the body with external stimuli – the physical energy in dabbles of light or pitches of sound – that happen to impinge on receptors in the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin and elsewhere. At those receptors the physical stimuli are converted into neural signals – into the language of our nervous system – by a process called transduction. The neural signals, which convey raw sensations, are in turn transformed into perceptions – that is, the images that we consciously experience and which are most often recognizable, meaningful and clearly placed in space and time. […] Perception serves to interpret sensations in all of their various forms or modalities. [… E]ach of these modalities itself embraces many components. For example, our eyes register not only the presence of light but also variations in light intensity (brightness), wavelength (color), location (edges and depth) and patterning over time (flicker and movement). Similarly, our skin registers pressure, temperature changes, pain, and so on." (Pomerantz, James R. (2003): »Perception: Overview«. In: Lynn Nadel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Vol. 3, London: Nature Publishing Group, pp. 527–537, here p. 527.)
Maybe this is already helpful, I will revisit when I have more time. Morton Shumwaytalk 15:16, 26 March 2011 (UTC).
Wow, thanks for the rapid reply, Morton, and for finding a particularly useful source. You're absolutely right about the difficulty of finding explicit definitions of basic terms: frustrating, isn't it? MartinPoulter (talk)

not very much philosophy[edit]

I would include more information regarding how perception is based on appearances to the senses and bring in the whole "nothing perceived can be proven true" discussion. Phord42 (talk) 23:42, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Indeed there will have to be more on this aspect. However, see also Philosophy of Perception. Morton Shumwaytalk 01:07, 11 May 2011 (UTC).

Discussion in progress[edit]

There is a discussion at Talk:Percept (computing) (an incomplete disambiguation) which may be of interest to contributors of this page. Please feel free to join in. France3470 (talk) 16:52, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Science News resource[edit] "Magic trick reveals unconscious knowledge; People 'know' what they don't believe they've seen, study shows" by Laura Sanders Web edition November 14th, 2011 (talk) 22:36, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

What, potentially, might the Science News article add to this article? — Arthur Rubin (talk) 04:48, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
This article might be more related to Implicit cognition. (talk) 07:23, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Perception as hypothesis-testing[edit]

This section fails to give an account of what this is, and instead devotes most of the space to discussing J.J. Gibson's ideas. Richard Gregory's essay on Perception as hypotheses in The Oxford Companion to the Mind is a good place to look. Macdonald-ross (talk) 19:42, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Chepenik, L. G., Cornew, L. A., & Farah, M. J. (2007). The influence of sad mood on cognition. Emotion, 7(4), 802-811. doi:10.1037/1528-3542.7.4.802 Forgas, J. P. (1998). On being happy and mistaken: Mood effects on the fundamental attribution error. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 75(2), 318-331. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.75.2.318

--Pazapatabalarezo (talk) 21:19, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Object model[edit]

There is no discussion of the "object model". By "object model" I mean the perception that the world consists of distinct objects, in a 3D space + time.

The object model seems to be pre-programmed in people. It is the basis of logic and mathematics. Propositions about objects cannot be made until they are recognized. Objects cannot be counted or put in sets until they are recognized. So there is not logic without the object model.

This model distorts perception somewhat. For example a finite line segment is regarded in mathematics as an infinite set of point objects. Thepigdog (talk) 04:32, 9 November 2014 (UTC)