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Perception is the process by which individuals organize and interpret the signals received through their sensory organs to give meaning to their environment. What we perceive is definitely influenced by the environment which generates the signal received by sensory organs. But the same signals are not perceived by all individuals in the same way. There are differences. As a matter of fact there may be difference in the way an individual perceives the same object in the environment under different conditions.
The factors that influence perception include the characteristics of the perceiver, target perceived, and the situation or context within which the perception takes place.
Personal characteristics of individual like attitudes, motives, interests, past experience and expectations impact his or her perception. Then the characteristics of the object or the target being perceived also influence the perception. But it is important to note that what the individual perceives is not exact replica of the reality. The target consists of many constituent elements and the way these are organised cause the individual to perceive some while leave out the others. Similar the arrangements of the elements also tends to enlarge or shrink in our mind the significance of different features of the target. The context within which the perception takes place is also a very important determinant of how the physical reality of the target will be perceived by the individual. Things like time at which an object is seen, the location where it is seen, heat, light, and many other factors influence perception.
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