Perception Definition And Its Different Types

Perception is how our brain detects the sensations it receives from our senses to form an impression of the physical reality of its environment, a process also known as interpretation.

Perception also describes the set of mental processes through which a person can select, organize, and interpret information that comes from stimuli, feelings, and thoughts according to previous experience.


According to the complete list of senses related to perception, we have the following types:

  • Visual perception: Offers information from the two planes of external reality, shape, color and movement.
  • Spatial perception: Provides information about the three dimensions of external reality.
  • Olfactory perception.
  • Auditory perception: Provides information about noises and sounds.
  • Coenesthesia: It is one that allows us to perceive the internal organs.
  • Tactile perception: Combines all the senses of the skin.
  • Thermal perception: Provides us with information about temperature variations.
  • Pain perception.
  • Gustatory perception.
  • Chemosesthesia: Provides information about strong flavors.
  • Perception of balance.
  • Kinesthesia: It is related to the movements of muscles and tendons.
  • Perception of time and change.
  • Shape perception.
  • Perception of the magnetic field.

Depending on the point of view of the receiver of the sensory information, perception can be:

1. Cross-modal perception

It is also known as intersensory or multimodal and is the unitary or unified perception that comes from simultaneous stimuli that are available through more than one sensory channel. For example, it is what allows us to associate a voice with a person or a smell with an event.

2. Crossmodal perception

It is the way in which our brain is responsible for interpreting information that is not specific to one sensory channel but is perceived by several channels. For example, the rhythm of hands is received by vision, hearing and the perception of movement. So, our cognitive system must translate one type of information from the other.

Other accepted types of perception are:

3. Visual perception

It is the ability to see, organize and interpret the environment. It gives us the ability to learn new information.

4. Auditory perception

It is the ability we have to perceive sounds.

5 Tactile perception

It is executed through touch receptors. It involves only the sense of touch to perceive stimuli.

6. taste perception

It is the sensation produced by the taste buds and throat when transmitting information about the chemical composition of a soluble stimulus.

7. Olfactory perception

This process begins in the nose with the stimulation of the olfactory sensory neurons and ends in the higher brain centers that make us aware of a smell.

8. Motion perception

It allows us to orient ourselves or perceive the movements of others. It allows us to balance and move effectively.

9. Extrasensory perception

It is one that occurs without depending on the sensory processes already known. This group includes the phenomena of telepathy or thought transference, clairvoyance, or supernormal knowledge.

10. Social perception

It is one that is related to what people think and give meaning to other people, such as impressions, conclusions and when we try to explain other people’s behavior. It is also known as social cognition or the study of “naïve psychology.”

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