Concept and What is: Cognition, Perception and Apperception | Psychology

Cognition, Perception and Apperception


One of the great scholars of knowledge acquisition process was John Locke (1632-1704) which had as its main concern the cognitive process, ie, how the mind acquires knowledge. Locke rejected the idea of ​​Descartes on the existence of innate ideas, presenting the argument that the human being was born with no prior knowledge, this argument has been defended by the philosopher Aristotle, who claimed to be the man a tabula rasa or blank slate at birth.

In this "empty slate", sensations and impressions of the world were recorded. Locke admitted that some concepts, such as the perception of God, were innate to the adults, but only because it was taught in childhood and do not remember the time in which we had no knowledge of them. This apparent existence of innate ideas was explained by Locke, the concept of learning and habit. Hence the question arises: How the mind acquires knowledge?

Locke, as Aristotle believed that the mind acquires knowledge through experiences that passes. He admitted two types of experiences: the feeling and reflection.

The ideas resulting from sensation, derived from sensory experience (of sense) directly with physical objects in the environment, are simple impressions of sense, operating in the mind, which also operates on feelings, making a reflection to form the ideas. This cognitive function or mental reflection as a source of concepts depends on sensory experience, since the ideas produced by the mind is based on the impressions previously perceived by the senses.

During life, through experiences of the senses, we riding our repertoire of feelings and this repertoire is necessary for the act of reflection, for without the existence of a reservoir of sensory impressions, there is no way the mind reflect on them. During the reflection, rescued the past sensory impressions and reflect on them, combining them to form level abstractions increasingly higher. Every abstraction is the result of sensation and reflection.


One of the most famous scholars of the perception process was the German Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Kant said that when we realize what we call object, we find the mental states that seem made up of bits and pieces. For him, these elements are arranged so that they have some sense, not simply through association processes.

During the process of perception, the mind creates a complete experience. Thus, the perception is not a passive printing and a combination of sensory elements, but an active organization of the elements to form a coherent experience.

Ernst Mach (1838-1916) discussed the sensations of spatial and temporal point of view and say that they did not depend on the individual elements, for example, that the area of ​​the area of ​​a circle can be black or white, big or small, but still keep the circular elemental quality. He said further that an object does not change, even if we change our orientation towards him. Thus, when a table is a table, even if we look at the top, side or any other angle. Likewise sound will be perceived in the same way, even if played slower or faster.

A very strong influence on the concept of perception was made by phenomenology, doctrine based on the description of the experiences impartially, without any judgment or criticism, as it occurs. Experience is not analyzed, nor reduced to its elements or abstracted somewhat artificial. It involves a almost naive experience of common sense and not an experience reported by a trained observer, endowed with orientation or systematic trend.

Another important experiment was performed by Wertheimer, which consists in describing the apparent motion, that motion is perceived when there is no actual physical movement. This perception can be confirmed by observation, today, illuminated signs where the letters seem to move on the panel, when in fact, a point of light goes off and the bullet next to lights.


It is the process whereby mental elements are arranged. The doctrine of apperception was developed by Wundt, who said that the process of organizing the mental elements forming a unit, is a creative synthesis, which creates new properties by mixing or combination of elements.

He declared that all psychic compound is endowed with characteristics that are different from the sum of the characteristics of the elements that form. This statement gave rise to the famous phrase: the whole is not equal to the sum of its parts. This can be proved by the chemical, wherein the chemical combination of elements gives rise to compounds with properties not found in the elements separately.

Thus, a sensory experience may have different accounts of those involved, none of which are incorrect, since in every experience will be very affective attributes and ideational (what the subject has the right one for you) and the sum of its elements components, generates a new compound psychic different elements alone.

The law of psychic or creative synthesis resulting finds expression in aperceptivas roles and imagination and comprehension activities. It is the ability to interpret the sensory stimuli giving it meaning, based on personal experiences of the subject, your emotions and your knowledge of the world.

The apperception is responsible for the meaning of the thing or that is the thing itself. In this case, the essence of things is determined more by the thought and emotion that the neurological perception, this (the essence of things) will always be personal and individual, then the essential meaning of things is also personal and individual.


History of Modern Psychology - SCHULTZ, Duane P .; SCHULTZ, Sydney Ellen - 9th edition - Publisher Cengage Learning - Toronto, 2009.
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