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Perception and Learning

Learning and Perception are intertwined. They are relatively connected with each other. When we say Learning, it is a term used referring to a relatively permanent change in behavior that is a result of past experience or practice. It includes classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and perceptual learning. While Perception on the other hand, is a general term referring to the awareness of objects, qualities, or events stimulating the sense organs; it also refers to a person’s experience of the world. So when one perceives something through his environment, he then learns it and somehow puts it into practice (Hulse, Deese, & Egeth, 1975). The brain has a strong tendency to organize various stimuli into objects which are seen as figures on grounds. Stability in our world is provided by our various perceptual constancies. Like in death, we perceive death because we make us of several monocular and binocular cues. These general principles help us to understand how perception works. The organisms or individual’s stage of development affects or influences the things he perceives through the things he learned. Just about everything we learn is partly a learning of new perceptions. And our previous learning affects our present perceptions, especially when the learning has been emotional or unusually meaningful (Hochberg, 1964, p. 287). A gun maybe perceived quite differently by a woman whose husband has been killed in a hunting accident and by a child who is fascinated with cowboys. To the child the gun is a toy associated with pleasurable excitement, with fantasies of range wars and of galloping horses. To bereaved wife the gun is a deadly weapon associated with sadness and fear. For example, a young woman who fell in love and was broken hearted already has learned a lesson not to give everything the next time her heart beats again. Another example is, a baby who tries to learn to walk tries his very best to know how to balance, even though he experiences fall sometimes he still tries his best to do it and learn how to walk. So before it we can call it learning from their mistakes, the change must be relatively permanent; it must last a fairly long time. These rules out changes in behavior due to motivation, fatigue, adaptation, or sensitivity of the organism. Learning contributes much to perception, but it is only one ingredient. Many factors both learned and unlearned, affect what the person actually does. Even so, an individual’s performance is all that we can measure. We must infer, by appropriate control or knowledge of the conditions affecting perception, when perception has been changed through learning and when it has been changed by other factors (King, 1971, p. 7980). Moreover, learned and unlearned factors interact in complex ways. For example, many kinds of behavior depend on perception. When a student has learned that he should study for him to succeed then he will likely do it because he believes; which is his perception, meaning he is aware of; that when finishes his studies that individual will succeed.
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