Sensory Perceptions

Can you really trust your senses and the interpretation of sensory data to give you an
accurate view of the world? Describe and discuss the accuracy and the weaknesses of
the human senses as they pertain to thinking in general and to your own thinking in
Write a two to three (2-3) page paper in which you:

  1. Provide at least three (3) reasons for believing in the accuracy or inaccuracy of
    sensory information.
  2. Identify and describe at least three (3) factors contributing to the accuracy of sensory
  3. Discuss the role of memory with regard to the interpretation and evaluation of
    sensory data.
  4. Use at least two (2) quality resources in this assignment. Your textbook may count as
    one (1) source. At least one (1) of your sources must be obtained from the collection of
    databases accessible from the Learning Resources Center Web page.
    Your assignment must:
    � Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch
    margins on all sides; citations and references must follow APA or school-specific
    format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
    � Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the
    professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page
    are not included in the required assignment page length.

Sensory Perceptions

The human body is compacted with different senses serving different functions such
as sight which is enabled through rode and cone cells found in the retina of the eye. The nose
has olfactory sensory neurons to enable the sense of smell. The skin has numerous nerve
endings that facilitates the sense of touch while for taste the tongue has taste buds
(Shephered, 2007). Perception entails a process where a person processes sensory
information to interpret and understand the happenings in the world. It is important to note
that the development of perception improves with maturity. This is because the sensory cells
and memory require many years’ experience to fully develop (Rosenblum, 2013). This paper
seeks to discuss how accurate the senses are in regards to how they influence people’s
thinking processes. People subscribe to different explanations about the accuracy of the
information they receive from their senses.


One of the reasons to believe in the inaccuracy of sensory information is memories
about the past experiences (Auvary & Spence, 2008). This can be explained by an example
about sight perception whereby a girl may see her girlfriend walking and because of
insecurity emanating from unfaithful relationships in the past, the girl may perceive the
situation that the boyfriend may be committing infidelity albeit wrongly. Another reason is
because of environmental influences that interfere with the interpretation of sensory
information. For instance, one may be crossing the road around a bend and on looking around
before crossing around; a vehicle driven in a fast speed suddenly appears and knocks the
person down. The person’s sensory data is rendered inaccurate because of the external
influence that was unforeseen indicating that our sensory information is not always accurate
enough as the environment can interfere with the information. The third reason why sensory
information is not accurate enough is that people’s opinions and ones’ background
information about beliefs of certain forms such as political or religious (Rallof, 2008). For
instance, people that believe supernatural beings may claim to see demons or God which
others may not be able to see. Their senses may be inaccurate because such things may not
exist at all (Diaz, 2010).
There are factors that influence one’s sensory data accuracy. One of them is the
person’s state of mind. For instance, one’s mental illness would affect the ability to interpret
sensory information because of the impairment (Rallof, 2008). Their interpretation of the
world is based on illusions and hallucinations that are not based on reality which affects the
accuracy of their sensory data. Another factor that affects accuracy of sensory data is one’s
nurturing. The environment that one grows up in determines their responses to environmental
stimuli perceived partially through senses. For instance one may be socialized to fear certain
things such as the forests although the sensory organs may not perceive them as dangerous.
Another factor is nature, which is informed by ones’ biological make up. Certain people have


a genetically informed tendency against loud noises and this may contribute to their
preference for quiet serene environments away from the noise. The noise may not necessarily
be hazardous to the ears although the persons’ perception views the noise as damaging (Diaz,
Memory plays a significant role in the interpretation of sensory information. As one
picks environmental stimuli from the environment through the senses, they develop a thought
pattern based on their subjective reality, which is influenced, by ones’ background,
environment, and genetic predisposition. This thought pattern is stored in a memory module
in the brain. The subject’s interpretation and evaluation of sensory data from subsequent
sensory stimuli is influenced by the information that is already stored in the memory modules
(Frith, 2009).
Essentially, the accuracy of sensory information and its interpretation depends on
different external and internal factors. The environment, past experiences stored in one’s
memory modules, nurture and nature play a vital role in influencing the accuracy of sensory
information. If all sensory data could accurately perceive the world, it means that all people
would think in a similar way. However, people think differently because it takes more than
sensory information such as touch to interpret reality accurately.




Auvary, M., & Spence, C. (2008). The Multisensory Perception of Flavour. Consciousness
and Cognition, 17, 1016-31.
Diaz, D. (2010). Sensation and Perception. Sensation and Perception, 83-116.
Frith, C. (2009). Making up the Mind; How the Brain Creates Our Mental world. New York:
John Wiley & Sons.
Rallof, J. (2008, January 19). Judging Science May be Too Skeptical of Research Done with
Juries in Mind. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from Science News:
Rosenblum, L. (2013). A Confederacy of Senses. Scientific American, 308(1), 1-4.


Shephered, G. (2007, November). The Major Senses: Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell and
Touch-The Dana Guide. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from The Dana Guide to Brain

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