Website Search
ID 2238

Perception

Description:
Perception is the cognitive process most closely allied to processing sensory information. Environmental stimuli are processes by our senses, but perception is not entirely a sensory process. Rather, we often rely on inference to build a picture of the world by using the neural resources available to us. As such, our perception of the world can sometimes be wrong, which is apparent in illusions or phenomena such as inattentional blindness. Perception relies on virtually the entire brain including the occipital lobe (vision), somatosensory cortex (sensation), and temporal lobe (sounds). In a series of clips, Professor Earl Miller points out that although single neurons can respond to specific sensory stimuli, the actual process of perception requires a neuronal network.
Transcript:
Perception refers to the processing of environmental stimuli, and it is not surprise that it is strongly mediated by environmental factors. It is also highly regulated by genetic factors, which can enhance or disrupt the perceptual experience. Perception is the cognitive process most closely allied to processing sensory information. Environmental stimuli are processes by our senses, but perception is not entirely a sensory process. Rather, we often rely on inference to build a picture of the world by using the neural resources available to us. As such, our perception of the world can sometimes be wrong, which is apparent in illusions or phenomena such as inattentional blindness. Perception relies on a virtually the entire brain including the occipital lobe (vision), somatosensory cortex (sensation), and temporal lobe (sounds). In a series of clips, Professor Earl Miller points out that although single neurons can respond to specific sensory stimuli, the actual process of perception requires a neuronal network. Perception refers to the processing of environmental stimuli, and it is not surprise that it is strongly mediated by environmental factors. It is also highly regulated by genetic factors, which can enhance or disrupt the perceptual experience. GENES Perception is the field of science that deals with processing sensory information and relies on input from all the five senses. This is a huge amount of information. As such, the number of genes involved in perception is in the several thousands. Use the Chromosome Map of Disorder and Processes to explore some of these genes, but bear in mind they are just a small sample. BIOCHEMICALS Two of our five senses are chemical senses, smell and taste. French neuroscientist, Pierre Lledo point out that both of these are the oldest senses: when life started with two cells, floating in the ocean, they were looking for them by chemical changes. In Smell/Olfaction Processing he points out odorant molecules are recognized by sensory organs that are located in the nose trail. From there, there is a transformation of the information from chemical to electrical information. Then this electrical information reaches the brain and basically our brain. The olfactory bulb transmits smell information from the nose to the brain and is noteworthy as one of the few areas of the brain where adult neurogenesis has been observed. CELLS Professor Eric Miller discusses the neurons involved in visual recognition, which facilitate perception by a series of network associations. Neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) can explicitly represent specific categories of higher-order information. For example, when we recognize at a dog neurons in the PFC respond to the broad category of “dog” rather than a specific dog, such as our pet Spot. He points out that is important that there be an explicit representation in the brain of broad concepts, otherwise we'd clutter our high level intelligent thoughts with lots of useless details. BRAIN Perception really is a brain-wide phenomenon, and different perceptual-processing regions are distributed throughout the brain. The olfactory bulb, for example transmits information about smell, the somatosensory cortex about touch, the occipital lobe with vision, temporal lobe with sounds, the brainstem receives information about taste. The perceptual organization of these senses is important for efficient use of this information and Professor Earl Miller discusses this phenomenon in Neurons for Recognition. COGNITION It is an inefficient use of cognitive resources to attend to every facet of sensory information that is available at any one time. As such, perception relies heavily on inference. Inferences strategies are typically very accurate, but they are imperfect. By clicking on the Inattentional Blindness external link, you will be redirected to a lab page hosted of the University of Illinois. Watch the video and carefully count the number of passes made by the white team and see if you arrive at the right number. Watch the video a second time to see if you were correct. ENVIRONMENT The Dana Review article Culture and Perception outlines an intriguing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study that tracked brain activity in young and elderly participants from East Asian or from Westerner culture. They were shown a series of images depicting different objects against varying backgrounds. Among the older groups, Westerners showed activity in the lateral occipital complex remained active. In East Asians, the region responded only minimally. The two groups, it seems, literally see the world differently, which may relate to their dependant versus interdependent cultural backgrounds.
Keywords:
perception, perceptual, process, illusion, blindness, neuronal, network, gene, biochemical, neuron, cell, brain, cognition, behavior, environment
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

1190. Neurons and Perception
Professor Earl Miller discusses the hypothesis that an entire network of neurons are required to perceptually identify a single object.
1443. Neural Networks
Networks are the engines that drive our brain, they exist at every level of organization. Genes, proteins, and neurons all form highly integrated complex networks.
2233. Attention
An overview of attention-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
2251. Thinking
An overview of thinking-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
2239. Language
An overview of language-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
2224. ADHD
An overview of ADHD-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
2232. Perceptual processes - illusions (external link)
Use this link to explore what optical illusions tell us about perception.
2223. Bipolar disorder
An overview of bipolar disorder-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
1975. Autism
An overview of autism-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
550. The Neural Code
Cognitive information is encoded in patterns of nervous activity and decoded by molecular listening devices at the synapse. Professor Seth Grant explains how different patterns of neural firing are critical to cognition.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationPublic EventsNewsstandPartner With UsGiving