• Background
  • Illustration
  • Quiz


Through our senses, we are presented with an incredibly rich and varied experience of the world, including the aroma of roasting coffee, the texture of fine silk, the taste of dark chocolate, the sound of our favorite musician, and the sight of a glorious sunset. The senses unflinchingly—positive or negative—bring to us an immense range of experiences from the world around us.

Using our senses, like seeing, is a complex process. In order to understand this photograph, you must sense the colors and images, but cognitive processes aid in understanding what it is you are looking at. Without some cultural knowledge, the sensation makes little sense. However, to our conscious selves, the process of perceiving the coastline is seamless. So let’s take a look at the perceptual process—that is, the sequence of mental operations that bring us from the initial sensory input to our understanding of our conscious experience.