Perceptual Disorder

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Introduction to Perception

To understand perceptual distortions or perceptual errors it’s imperative that we first understand what Perception is. Let us start with the definition of perception. In the shortest form Perception can be defined as Intuitive understanding and insight. To make things more clear however, we can define perception as

The ability to see, hear or become aware of something through the senses


A process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment

Every individual has his/her own perception and the classic example would be the glass half full or half empty situation. It is not only the knowledge of having a sense of vision, sound or other physical impressions, but also how our mind deciphers out of what our senses feed us. Although the process of perception involves the signals in the nervous system it can be shaped by learning. Let us take an example of how different cultures also affect an individuals’ perception and how learning can change it.

Many people in the Western countries consider even minor physical punishment to a small child as a violent crime whereas people in other cultures such as ours think of it as a necessary means to raising a normal healthy child.

Both of the view points are valid and correct in their own way. However there needs to be a balanced approach. This perception of either of the cultures can be changed by educating people about the opposing point of view and the need for a disciplinary action without violating the limits of such action.

Perceptual Errors/Distortions

Now that we have a basic understanding of what Perception is lets move on to Perceptual Errors/Distortions. Perceptual Distortion can be defined as

A type of error created by the altered perception of data because of the way the information is presented.


Lack of correspondence between the way a stimulus is commonly perceived and the...