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is perception innate?

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Is Perception Innate? There has been an on going argument between psychologists to answer the question, "Is Perception innate?" Many studies have been done to try to answer this question; however no conclusion has yet been reached. This essay will look at a few of these studies and argue how it shows perception is or is not innate. I should then be able to come to a conclusion based upon these studies. Gilling and Brightwell (1982) supports the idea that perception is learned. Gilling and Brightwell replicated an earlier study by Stratton where a student wore inverted goggles for a period of seven days. To start with she struggled to get to grips with it and said it was very strange, she had difficulty making a drink and other simple tasks like that. However towards the end of the seven day period she could do normal things such as ride a bike, run and climb stairs. This study could suggest that the mind has learned to perceive the world from a different angle; Stratton said in his study that after the seventh day he found he forgot he was wearing the goggles. Here his mind perceives the upside down as normality; this suggests that perception is learned. ...read more.


This study therefore doesn't prove that perception is innate but proves that we do have depth perception at a very young age, and has not ruled out the possibility that it is innate. A study to oppose Gibson and Walk, which suggests perception is not innate, is Deregowski's cross cultural study of perception. Deregowski looked at a variety of studies in different cultures to do with perception. Possibly the most significant of these studies was those done by William Hudson. One of Hudson's studies involved asking Zambian school children to draw the ambiguous trident and comparing their efforts to those of people from western culture. The depth cues in an ambiguous trident make the picture look like it should be three dimensional however the lines do not make sense for it to be so. It turned out that the people from western cultures found this much more difficult than the Africans. This may be because people from western cultures perceive things in 3D and people from Africa perceive in 2D. This difference in the way in which we perceive suggests that perception must be learned and the Africans have learnt it differently to those from western cultures. However there are problems with this study which mean it is not true to life, one of these is that Hudson's ...read more.


Also in this study Bower does not prove that the babies can actually perceive the depth, all he proves is that the babies cannot see any difference between the real cube and the illusion, so his theory doesn't have good evidence to support it. Looking at these four studies we can see there are arguments that suggest both sides of the argument. However it is very difficult to do a study which will prove that perception is innate as there is always time for the children to learn before the study, unless the study is done the second a child is born, however a study to test perception requires a response, which may be difficult to test for on a newly born baby. What is clear from these studies is that if perception is in fact learned then it is learned very quickly at a very young age. The information does suggest that perception is innate; however there is also a lot of information that suggests it is learned. Also there are many different types of perception, and some of these studies look at different ones. Some could be innate, and some could be learned, it could be that none of these studies reach the wrong conclusion. It would be apparent that some factors are indeed innate and some are learned, but we are definitely born with the potential to have perception. Paul Gilbert ...read more.

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