Perception is a process where knowledge, senses and feelings are involved, making recognition of objects possible. Other factors which can affect perception are desire, belief and will. In psychology, perception is being broken down into five stages or processes namely Stimulation, Organization, Interpretation-Evaluation, Memory and Recall. By defining perception into stages, we can have better understanding of the interrelation between the aspects of perception. Effectively understanding the interrelation and the stages of perception increases the accuracy of judging and understand the underlying meaning of verbal and non-verbal conversations.

First Stage: Stimulation

Stimulation is the stage, which the senses are being stimulated when information are perceived. Various stimuli come into effect base on individual's sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing (Devito, 2009). As we are not able to percept everything that is happening around us simultaneously, we tend to engage in selective perception; perceiving only positive things or events resulting in contentment.

Second Stage: Organization

In the stage of Organization information is picked up by the senses and being organized. There is three ways in which perception is being organized. Firstly by rules, secondly through schemata, and thirdly scripts (Devito, 2009).

Organization by Rules

Organization through rules includes proximity, physical closeness, and similarity. This method is most frequently applied, and acts as an indicator for distinguishing people as a group. Basically, we segregate people or objects into certain categories through their physical closeness and traces of similarity. For instance, we might assume people wearing similar clothing siblings or couples (Devito, 2009).

Organization by Schemata

By definition schemata is the plural of schema, and is preferred in comparison to plural schemas (Devito, 2009). In general, it is the concept individual forms about things around them. Through the information collected daily; including past data residing in our memories after being sorted out with mental templates or structures. Schemata can be developed through experiences from daily activities. However, it may cause perception errors as it influences us to perceive nonexistence elements or omission of things in presence.

Organization by Scripts

A script is a form of schema; however it focuses mainly on action, event or procedure (Devito, 2009). For instance, when you wish to locate a specific title in the library you probably arranged actions in certain order; such as entering the library, began searching for the book, locate a sitting corner, peruse the book, return it, and subsequently exit the library.

Third Stage: Interpretation-Evaluation

Interpretation-Evaluation, a linked term due to the association between the two processes. It can be greatly affected by experience, needs, wants, values, expectations, physical and emotional state, gender, and beliefs of how things should be, including the stage organization (Devito, 2009).

Fourth Stage: Memory

Memory stores information after undergoing stages of stimulation, organization and interpretation-evaluation. Nevertheless, information is not constantly stored, due to the accumulated impressions of past correspondence and association with things. Hence, information or details may be lost or distorted easily when they are dissimilar or a mismatch to what is already in our memory. On the other hand, information that is consistent to our schema will strengthen our ability to store them and is more resistant to changes (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2002).

Fifth Stage: Recall

Recall is the retrieving of information stored in the memory. Mostly, stimuli are required in order to recall information. This is because memory stage breaks down information before storing instead of storing it as a whole. To recall information from the memory, we reconstruct the information that stimulates the memory. As such, information that is being recalled may contain inaccuracies. Similarly, accuracy may also be affected due to the biasness in organization and interpretation-evaluation stages.


All in all, perception varies from each individual, as stimulus acquisition differs and our reaction deviates. The manner in which we perceive things are affected by varying factors. Such as our beliefs, knowledge, character, skills, capabilities, and the environment and people around us. Causing us to perceive things in ways we want it to be attributed; how it should or should not be. In addition, it is a skill and process utilize in our daily life, from meeting new colleagues to catching up with old schoolmates. Therefore, through understanding the various stages and interrelationship between them, our capability to interpret verbal and non-verbal messages, accuracy of information attained and self confidence are greatly incremented. Furthermore, it will result in the reduction of biasness, miscommunication, and inaccuracies of information recalled.


  • Aronson E., Wilson T. D., & Akert R. M. (2002). Social Psychology: The heart and the mind (4th Edition). New York: Longman.
  • DeVito, J. A. (2009). Human Communication: The Basic Course (11th Ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon
  • Gibson, J., Ivancevich, J., Donnelly, J., & Konopaske, R. (2009). Organizations Behaviors, Structure, Processes (13th Ed.). (pp. 98106). Singapore: McGraw Hill.

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