H. Bouma, D.G. Bouwhuis, E.P. Köster, J.H.A. Kroeze, E.J.M. Eijkman, F.L. Engel, J. Hart, 't, A.J.M. Houtsma, F.L. Nes, van, J.A.J. Roufs

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Human perception is taken here as the physicochemical interface between the outside world and the human brain, plus the sensory and cognitive processing of the data transforming these into information. Each sense organ is generally activated by its specialized type of stimulation and gives rise to its specific set of sensory attributes. Senses that take in stimulation from distant sources are hearing, through certain acoustical vibration, vision, through certain electromagnetic radiation, and smell, by a number of volatile chemical substances. Sense organs that react to stimulation from close sources are taste, by certain chemical substances in the mouth, and the skin senses (and kinesthetic senses), from mechanical stimulation at the outside or inside of the body. Within each of the senses, the sensory attributes and their dynamic variations are subjected to processes of recognition, i.e., interpreted within a framework of evolved experience and recent context. An important special case is the recognition of spoken language (speech) through the ear or written language (reading) through the eye, where the language elements are symbolic carriers of information between humans. In the overwhelmingly rich sensory stimulation to which humans are exposed, powerful perceptual selection processes make the chaotic input amenable. All perceptual functions are far from constant because they are in active development over life from one's earliest to final moment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of human biology
EditorsR. Dulbecco
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Publication statusPublished - 1991


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