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Introduction to Perception Theories

Perception is a process through which people interprets outside information from environment and make views about it. The information is selected and interpreted by individual. This meaningful content is then used to make decisions. Sensory impressions are organised by individual in order to get meaning of that. Present essay describes about two theories which are related to perception. Moreover, comparison of these theories and contrast has been illustrated in the essay. Theory of naive realism and representative theory is described in the essay. Similarities and differences between both the theories have been illustrated.


In simple words, perception refers to the level of understanding towards the external environment. In the psychology it refers to the process of the recognising and interpreting sensory stimuli. Broadly there are two types of perception that are internal and external.

Internal perception refers to the awareness of mental act present in the human bodies and on the other than external perception refers to the inner and organ sense. There are different types of theories which are involved perception. Some of them are given below. The information is selected and interpreted by individual.

Naive Realism

This theory is related to the social psychology. As according to this theory describes that human see world on the basis of objects. and those people who are disagreed must be irrational or biased. This theory is also called theory of direct realism. There are different types of assumptions which are followed by this theory. The first assumption of this theory is that human see the world objectively. They expect that other will also come with similar conclusion and the person, who do not follow the similar view must be ignorant, irrational or biased. Naive realism followed social psychology in the modern world. Naive realism gives a base for various cognitive biases which generally includes mistakes and errors in decision making activity. Errors includes impact of false statements, blind spot bias and error and fundamental attribution.

The theory is based on following beliefs:

  • World is full of materialistic things and objects.
  • Statements regarding these objects are can be true by using sense experience.
  • These object persists in exits in both perceiving and non-perceiving conditions. Perception object are independent of perception.
  • Person uses sense for perceiving the world directly. Main aim of perceiving is to justify things as they are.
  • Individual derives the meaning from senses. Sometimes it is also called face value.
  • Same thing may be different for different people. Meaning of one object sometime differs for one person at different times.
  • For example apple look red in day but at bight seems to be tint of grey. If naïve realism theory is considered then colour of apple changes consistently and it totally depends upon light around it. It concludes that apple are as they used to be and colour of it depends on perception of person.

Importance of Naive Realism

One of the psychology's fundamental lessons is that perception is a subjective construction in the world. Psychological fundamental of the naive theory is that view of individual regarding things is matter of subjective construction. Beliefs and views of people are function of both materialistic things and psychological processes. These features are used in translating meaning of objects. For example parents judge their children's marks on the basis of their perception. Whereas, the same marks are judged in school on the basis of their grade system. This is because parents love their children and their point of view is different from the school teachers. Each individual see things distinctly from others. On some specific thing views of person does not match. If perception of the perception of the people do not match they sometimes get biased. Sometimes these perceptions are the causes of dispute among people. In condition of dispute both the parties think that other side is biased and illogical. Person who have different perceptions for others are called uniformed. Sometimes rational persons have same point of view. For instance when some people see chair is in front of them, others see they are in the front of chair.

Representative theory of perception

This theory of perception is also known as indirect realism. Representative theory of perception is physiological position which states that world seen by people is not the actual universe itself. It is simply a copy of universe in the form of internal representation. People only know their ideas and interpretation in the world full of objects.. It explains ideas of people comes according to their mental state. This state represents the attribute of world which is perceived. Sometimes the view attracts but problem is that these mental states are only on which can be accessed by person. Comparison of these features cannot be done with the features of world. This comparison would be like comparing a picture with human being. Indirect realism is generally characterised as Locke which describes ideas of person as primary quality of body. Charge on which the theory is base is scepticism regarding outside world.

Perception philosophy is involves difficulties with ideas of representative mental situation. Unlike naïve realism representational theory says that ideas in mind of person comes from sensing data or though mental images. When person sees image of real and outside world, perception about that is made. This theory also argues epistemological fact that it is not possible to gain experience without sensory surface. Dreams, illusion and comprehensiveness indicates that world seen by person is not the same things as universe itself. Representative theory of perception is psychological position which states that world seen by people is not the actual universe itself. It is simply a copy of universe in a form of internal representation. Indirect realism also look to give responses to disputations by common sense. Representative theory denies the fact of first-hand knowledge which is seen and understood by person. Indirect realism is same as point of view in natural science. It illustrates that thing seen by person are not the real objects itself.

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Representative theory of perception considers that humans only see the replica of the objects in the world. What people see in the world is sometimes not true. It considers perception comes from mind independent objects. Objects are caused by and symbolizes object which are mind independent. This theory argues that sense data depicts physical objects. Realist of representationalism denies the first-hand knowledge. Sensory inputs are acquired from external world. It also claims that perception is mediated. It works on the fact that perception is a causal process. Representative realism sets up a sense data between perception of person and physical world around. It also describes that physical objects have properties like colour, odour, taste sensation etc.

Comparison of naïve and representative theory of realism

Naive realism is an idea that object of perception are independent from their attributes. Whereas indirect realism or representatives realism is dependent on properties of object. It considers perception of person depends upon mind and senses of person. Naïve realism is often termed as direct realism whereas representative realism is termed as indirect realism. Naive realism is generally as philosophy of mind of person that asserts that senses of person gives direct awareness. Universe derived from sense of perception is termed as face value. Objects which are existing in the world have attributes which appears for a person to have. Naive realism has various issues like argument generated from illusion, argument of time lag, hallucination argument and argument from variation in perception. Naive realism gives a base for various cognitive biases which generally includes mistakes and errors in decision making process. Errors includes impact of false statement, blind spot bias and error and fundamental attribution.

On the other hand representative realism is exactly opposite to naïve realism. Direct object that person sees are the object that are dependent on mind. Objects are originated by and symbolizes object which are independent of mind. Indirect realism deviates the fact that sense data represents object which are physical. It argue the fact that senses of person are processed mentally. Sense are not processed exactly what is in the outside world. Indirect or representative realism contradicts scepticism regarding creation of universe. It further contradicts existence of world. It leads to agnosticism regarding nature of outside world. Problems arises from the perspective that object which are mind independent are generated by brain independent object.

However, there are some similarities in these theories like base of both the theories is objects present in world. Both indirect and direct realism works on senses of person's mind. Both the theories takes the real world object to describe the perception of a person. Immediate object are taken to describe the perception of person regarding things. Hallucination is the common factor between naïve and representative theories. Argument of perception generates conflicts and cause biasing. Perception philosophy involves difficulties with ideas of representative mental situation. Unlike naïve realism representational theory says that ideas in mind of person comes from sensing data or though images. Primary qualities are considered to explain about perception of person. It leads to agnosticism regarding nature of outer world. This theory also contradicts the existence of world.


From the above essay, it can be concluded that perception theory describes level of understanding in a person. Perception helps in making decision in daily life of individual. Perception philosophy involves difficulties with ideas of representative mental situation. In this aspect, essay summarized about different theories that describe the different point of views of different human beings. It also illustrates that comparison of these features cannot be done with the features of world. In Present essay different theories such as Naive realism and representative theory of perception are learned. There are various similarities and differences between direct and indirect realism. Perception describes the point of view of person regarding object in the world. On the same thing there can be difference in perception of different people. Sometimes perception is the reason of conflicts among people. Understanding of external environment comes from perception level. It also illustrates that comparison of these features cannot be done with the features of world. From the above essay it can be concluded that representative theory of perception is best because it describes relation of object through representation of pictures. It uses mind dependent object as the basis of it.


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