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Difference Between Sensation and Perception

Sensation and perception are often terms that are used as synonymous words, however, it is important to clarify that perception is not synonymous with sensation and that both definitions are well differentiated from each other. The fundamental purpose of this article is that the reader knows and understands the differences between both terms so that he can make correct use of them in the contexts that should be used.

In the first place, it is worth clearly identifying each of these terms with their respective meaning and examples that serve to delimit the differences between the two words.

📌Definition of Sensation

The word sensation has its origin in the Latin term -sensatio- and this refers to the impression produced by a thing through the senses. It is therefore the response provided by the sensory organs to a given stimulus. Understanding sensory organs to the ears, mouth, nose, eyes and skin.

It can be said that sensation is the process by which the nervous system responds to the energy received through the stimulus. Therefore, when the stimulus occurs, the brain receives and processes the information that comes from the stimulus. This process is called sensation.

To complement this concept, it is necessary to present examples that contribute to its understanding:

  1. Catch a sound through the ears. (Thanks to the sense of hearing)
  2. Pick up a scent through the nose. (Thanks to the sense of smell)

📌Definition of Perception

The word perception derives from the Latin term -perceptio- and refers to receiving, through the senses, images, stimuli, impressions or sensations, to understand and know them. In accordance with the previous idea, it stands out that perception is the act of receiving, interpreting and understanding external signals to us, through the previously described sensory organs. This means that perception obeys the interpretation of sensations by each person.

For example:

  1. I hear a very loud sound. (based on our judgment of what is a very loud sound)
  2. I smell a very nice smell. (according to our criteria on what is a pleasant smell)

The following descriptive table is presented below in order to facilitate the proper understanding by the reader of the differences between sensation and perception :

📌Differences Sensation and Perception

Sensation Perception
Sensation is the immediate response of the sensory organs to the stimulus that is received. Perception means interpreting sensations by attributing meaning to them.
Sensation is physiological in that it “responds” to the stimulus Perception is psychological, so the person interprets and mentally constructs a meaning
It is objective, so the receiving organ of the stimulus emits a response that is interpreted by the brain. It is subjective, so the person builds the meaning that this stimulus has for him
A sensation is unconscious, since it obeys a simple sensory response. It is aware, since it uses reason and the processing of information by the person.
It is an impulse that an organ emits when it receives a stimulus. It is a process that we consciously build from the sensations
It is composed of three elements: the stimulus, the sensory organ and the response. It is composed of innumerable elements: the sensation, the construction of meaning, the ideas and previous experiences that the person possesses, knowledge, among others.

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