Sensation vs Perception
People often tend to confuse the terms Sensation and Perception, even though there are differences between them. These words are often considered as words that convey the same meaning although they are different in their senses and connotations. In Psychology, we study the connection and significance of sensation and perception. For now, let us define the two terms in the following manner. The word ‘sensation’ can be defined as the process of using the senses through touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste. On the other hand, the word ‘Perception’ can be defined as the manner in which we interpret the world through our senses. This is the basic difference between the two words. However, one has to bear in mind that Sensation and Perception have to be viewed as two processes that complement one another, rather than two unrelated processes. This article attempts to highlight the differences between these two terms while explaining these two terms.
What is Sensation?
The term Sensation has to be understood as the process of using our sensory organs. Vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch are the main sensory organs that we use. In psychology, this is considered as one of the basic processes of human beings to make sense of the world around them. However, this is only a primary process. Now let us look at the term sensation in the general usage. It is interesting to note that the word ‘sensation’ has its adjectival form in the word ‘sensational’, whereas the word ‘perception’ has its adjectival form in the word ‘perceptive’.
Observe the two sentences:
1. He created a sensation among youngsters.
2. A leper has no sensation on his skin.
In both the sentences, you can find that the word ‘sensation’ is used in the sense of ‘feeling’ and hence, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘he created a feeling among youngsters’, and the meaning of the second sentence would be ‘a leper has no feeling on his skin’. This highlights that the term sensation can be understood at different levels, which brings out various meanings.
What is Perception?
Now let us pay attention to Perception. Perception is the manner in which we interpret the world around us. As a result of sensation, we receive various stimuli through sensory organs. However, if these are not interpreted, we cannot make sense of the world. This is the function of Perception. In the day today conversations we use the term perception as well. Here it conveys a more general meaning of perceiving or being aware. Let us observe the following sentences:
1. You are deceived by the perception of a serpent on a rope.
2. Your perception is wrong.
In both the sentences, you can find that the word ‘perception’ is used in the sense of ‘sight’ and hence, the first sentence can be rewritten as ‘you are deceived by the sight of a serpent on a rope’, and the second sentence can be rewritten as ‘your sight is wrong’. It is interesting to note that perception is one of the proofs of valid knowledge according to some schools of thought or philosophy. Anything that can be perceived or seen is the proof of valid knowledge. Also, it is interesting to note that the word ‘sensation’ is derived from the secondary noun ‘sense’ that means ‘sense organ’. These are the differences between sensation and perception.
What is the Difference Between Sensation and Perception?
• Sensation is the process of sensing through touch, smell, sight, sound and taste.
• Perception is the manner in which we interpret the world through our senses.
• Sensation is usually followed by Perception.
1.Sensation_White_2008_Silvester_-_LTU_Arena,_Düsseldorf by Marcus Vegas from Tallinn, Estonia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
2.Perception_process by Laurens van Lieshout (eigen werk / self-made) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons