Each generation has a different perception — view, idea or understanding — of what is cool. You wouldn't want to walk around in the paisley patterns of the 1960s or the big hair of the 1980s today!

Based on the Latin root cipere, "to grasp," perception refers to the way you take in the world through your senses. Have you ever thought a stair was bigger than it really was so your step was too heavy? Your depth perception was off. The noun also means the opinions and beliefs you've formed about something. Your perception of your room after you've cleaned it is different than your parents' — you see clean and they probably don't.

Definitions of perception

n the process of perceiving

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constancy, perceptual constancy
(psychology) the tendency for perceived objects to give rise to very similar perceptual experiences in spite of wide variations in the conditions of observation
detection, sensing
the perception that something has occurred or some state exists
beholding, seeing, visual perception
perception by means of the eyes
auditory perception, sound perception
the perception of sound as a meaningful phenomenon
aesthesis, esthesis, sensation, sense datum, sense experience, sense impression
an unelaborated elementary awareness of stimulation
somaesthesia, somatesthesia, somatic sensation, somesthesia
the perception of tactual or proprioceptive or gut sensations
feeling, tactile sensation, tactual sensation, touch, touch sensation
the sensation produced by pressure receptors in the skin
brightness constancy
the tendency for a visual object to be perceived as having the same brightness under widely different conditions of illumination
color constancy, colour constancy
the tendency for a color to look the same under widely different viewing conditions
shape constancy
the tendency to perceive the shape of a rigid object as constant despite differences in the viewing angle (and consequent differences in the shape of the pattern projected on the retina of the eye)
size constancy
the tendency to perceive the veridical size of a familiar object despite differences in their distance (and consequent differences in the size of the pattern projected on the retina of the eye)
the perceptual effect of the juxtaposition of very different colors
face recognition
the visual perception of familiar faces
object recognition
the visual perception of familiar objects
visual space
the visual perception of space
speech perception
the auditory perception (and comprehension) of speech
musical perception
the auditory perception of musical sounds
limen, threshold
the smallest detectable sensation
the blocking of one sensation resulting from the presence of another sensation
vision, visual sensation
the perceptual experience of seeing
odor, odour, olfactory perception, olfactory sensation, smell
the sensation that results when olfactory receptors in the nose are stimulated by particular chemicals in gaseous form
gustatory perception, gustatory sensation, taste, taste perception, taste sensation
the sensation that results when taste buds in the tongue and throat convey information about the chemical composition of a soluble stimulus
auditory sensation, sound
the subjective sensation of hearing something
synaesthesia, synesthesia
a sensation that normally occurs in one sense modality occurs when another modality is stimulated
a physical sensation that you experience
prickling, tingle, tingling
a somatic sensation as from many tiny prickles
an uneasy sensation as of insects creeping on your skin
cutaneous sensation, haptic sensation, skin sensation
a sensation localized on the skin
pressure, pressure sensation
the somatic sensation that results from applying force to an area of skin
pain, pain sensation, painful sensation
a somatic sensation of acute discomfort
the somatic sensation of cold or heat
fusion, optical fusion
the combining of images from the two eyes to form a single visual percept
Type of:
basic cognitive process
cognitive processes involved in obtaining and storing knowledge

n becoming aware of something via the senses

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look, looking, looking at
the act of directing the eyes toward something and perceiving it visually
hearing, listening
the act of hearing attentively
perceiving what a person is saying by observing the movements of the lips
taste, tasting
a kind of sensing; distinguishing substances by means of the taste buds
smell, smelling
the act of perceiving the odor of something
listening to sounds within the body (usually with a stethoscope)
coup d'oeil, gander, glance, glimpse
a quick look
a prolonged intense look
peek, peep
a secret look
the act of squinting; looking with the eyes partly closed
a fixed look with eyes open wide
evil eye
a look that is believed to have the power of inflicting harm
rubber-necking, sightseeing
going about to look at places of interest
observance, observation, watching
the act of observing; taking a patient look
lookout, outlook
the act of looking out
sight, survey, view
the act of looking or seeing or observing
British slang for a look
rehearing, relistening
the act of hearing again
sniff, snuff
sensing an odor by inhaling through the nose
Type of:
sensory activity
activity intended to achieve a particular sensory result

n a way of conceiving something

“Luther had a new perception of the Bible”
Type of:
conceptualisation, conceptuality, conceptualization
an elaborated concept

n knowledge gained by perceiving

“a man admired for the depth of his perception
discernment, perceptiveness
perception of that which is obscure
insight, penetration
clear or deep perception of a situation
range or scope of what is perceived
Type of:
cognition, knowledge, noesis
the psychological result of perception and learning and reasoning

n the representation of what is perceived; basic component in the formation of a concept

percept, perceptual experience
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a unitary percept having structure and coherence that is the object of attention and that stands out against a ground
a relatively homogeneous percept extending back of the figure on which attention is focused
visual image, visual percept
a percept that arises from the eyes; an image in the visual system
eye candy
visual images that are pleasing to see but are intellectually undemanding
field, field of view
the area that is visible (as through an optical instrument)
an instance of visual perception
aspect, panorama, prospect, scene, view, vista
the visual percept of a region
field of regard, field of vision, visual field
all of the points of the physical environment that can be perceived by a stable eye at a given moment
Type of:
internal representation, mental representation, representation
a presentation to the mind in the form of an idea or image

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