In this element you will learn about perception, understand how perception influences our emotions, decisions, actions and experiences. You will consider moments of perception and explore an example of perception in action.
Perception is the organisation and integration of stimuli that is perceived through our senses, into meaning. This occurs through the brain where senses interact with memory, drawing upon information of past experiences to create meaning. Perception is a vital protective factor for our survival and determines if a stimuli may be a reward or a threat.
Every millisecond of our day, night and lifetime, we are perceiving. Perception can be conscious (in our awareness) or unconscious (not in awareness).
Perception informs emotion. Emotion influences our thoughts, actions and experiences.
James loves the smell of freshly baked apple pie; curious, I asked why? James replied “It’s like a warm hug,” and continued, “my grandmother always baked apple pie when I stayed with her, she was always warm and nurturing, I always felt warm and happy when I was there and the apple pie was always delicious. When I smell freshly baked apple pie anywhere, all those warm feelings become present for me and I usually enjoy a piece.”
Melanie immensely dislikes the smell of freshly baked apple pie; curious, I asked why? Melanie replied, “It makes me feel annoyed. My mum used to bake apple pie and would get angry that I didn’t want to eat it, she knew I didn’t like apples and I had to eat it. Now the smell of freshly baked apple pie makes me want to leave the room.”
James was perceiving the smell of his grandmothers apple pie as a warm hug and Melanie was perceiving the smell of the apple pie as feeling annoyed. Both were perceiving the smell of the freshly baked apple pie in different ways that resulted in the enlivening of emotion, influenced thoughts, actions and experiences.