What are the Stages of Perception?

In this blog we will answer the question, “What are the Stages of Perception?’ and discuss each stage in detail.

What are the stages of perception?

There are 5 stages of perception.

  1. Stimulation
  2. Organization
  3. Interpretation-Evaluation
  4. Memory
  5. Recall 

What is perception?

Perception is the way we take in the world around us. At every single time we are exposed to stimuli belonging to our senses, the way we process these stimuli is called perception.

Perception cannot be segregated from sensation. 

Perception is an essential part of all interpersonal communication and helps us to make decisions.

Devito in 2009 elaborated on the five stages of perception. When stimuli are perceived, the brain starts selecting, organizing and integrating the sensory stimuli or information to create an event. 

5 Stages of Perception

  1. Stimulation 

The world is full of stimuli that are bombarding on us from all directions and through all our senses at any given time. The way we select and respond to certain of these stimuli, responding to some and not others, depends on the extent of stimulation of the stimuli.

During a lecture, not responding to the teacher due to daydreaming is one such example, but if the teacher suddenly calls out your name, attention is suddenly diverted towards the lecture or the teacher.

We engage in selective perception, that is, perceiving mostly the positive things around us. Everyone wants to engage in the positive and get positive affirmations, therefore, asking people for feedback regarding a certain owned item is an example of how positive feedback from the environment is vital.  

  1. Organization

We identify and recognize objects by effectively using our senses. Once we have selected the stimulus from the environment, our brain tends to organize it. Our senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing) trigger the neural activity in the brain and it places the various sense stimuli into different slots. 

Normal perception calls for the capacity to identify and recognize objects. A single stimulus can give rise to multiple percepts. For example, Rubin’s Vase, a well-known optical illusion. Initially, we select the item to attend to thereby blocking out almost everything else. Our brain focuses on the task at hand to give it our attention. 

In the case of Rubin’s vase, some people organize the dark parts of the image as the foreground and the light parts as the background, while others have the opposite interpretation.

Those who attend to the dark part of the image see a vase and those who see the white part of the image, perceive two faces opposite each other.

  1.  Interpretation-Evaluation

We tend to interpret the stimuli according to our needs, experiences, wants and desires. When we interpret the stimuli we give it meaning, organizing and categorizing it. This enables us to see things around with a unique perspective that is novel for each individual.

Interpreting the stimuli and giving it meaning, furthers the assessing of a situation. 

  1. Memory

Memory is the storage of perceptions of past events, sensations, schemas of these events and their interpretation-evaluation. It is the subsequent retrieval of information. It involves the processes of encoding, storage and retrieval. 

Memory is stored in Short-Term memory for a short duration of time lasting up to a few minutes and Long-Term memory lasting a lifetime with an unlimited capacity.

  1. Recall

Recall is getting the stored information out of the memory as and when required for usage. The way information is stored helps in recalling as well. If the information is organized, retrieval is smooth. 

What is the Importance of Perception

Perception is important in our daily life as well as in the workplace. 

  • It is used to help us make valid and realistic estimates and give us an understanding of the world around us. 
  • Every person perceives the world differently, thus helps us understand human nature.
  • As perception is based on a person’s needs, therefore, it can help us determine the needs of the person.
  • It can also aid us in empathizing with others, walking in their shoes, getting to feel what the other is feeling.
  • We act according to what and how we see, therefore, perception moulds how we behave.

What are the factors that influence perception?

The factors that influence an individual’s perception are

  1. Perceiver

The perceiver is someone who undergoes perception or experiences it. The person’s or perceiver’s attitude, their mood, their experiences, expectations, interests and motives determine what and how things are perceived. 

  1. Target 

Target includes a person’s motives, proximity and background.

  1. Situation

This encompasses time and the environment around the perceiver.

In this blog we have answered the question, “What are the Stages of Perception?’ and discussed each stage in detail.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is human perception?

Human perception is the ability of organizing, storing, interpreting sensory information. 

What are disorders of perception?

Perceptual Disorders. Cognitive disorders characterized by an impaired ability to perceive the nature of objects or concepts through use of the sense organs. These include spatial neglect syndromes, where an individual does not attend to visual, auditory, or sensory stimuli presented from one side of the body.

What are the 4 types of memory?

The 4 Types of Memory are Sensory, Short-Term, Working & Long-Term memories.

Does reading improve memory?

Yes, reading improves memory by consolidating the visual retention of imagery. The cognitive abilities are also sharpened by reading.

Titles to Read

  • Sensation & Perception by Jeremy M. Wolfe , Keith R. Kluender, et al.
  • Sensation and Perception by E. Bruce Goldstein and James Brockmole
  • Perception: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Brian Rogers


  • https://www.simplypsychology.org/memory.html
  • https://www.ukessays.com/essays/psychology/definition-and-the-five-stages-of-perception-psychology-essay.php
  • https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JD-05-2012-0064/full/html

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!