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Picture Perception

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Ankita loves to explore various aspects of science and is passionate about writing on topics of her interest.


What is Picture Perception?

When it comes to describing a picture, people come up with different perceptions of the same picture. It is interesting how picture perception varies from person to person. Is picture perception innate or people acquire the skills later in their life? Researchers are yet to know the exact reason but the concept had been really fascinating over the years.

To perceive means to immobilize... we seize, in the act of perception, something which outruns perception itself.

— Henri Bergson

The Theories Put Forward

defined as when reality and cognition meet. Gombrich(1969) believes picture do not tell their stories. It is the viewer who have to construct a meaning to define it. Pictures are interpreted according to the eyes of the beholder. What the viewers expect to see or what they see defines their mental sets and attitude. Margaret Hagen, in her thesis, described the differences between what people see in their surroundings and what thy actually interpret looking at the pictures. Picture perception is more about the generativity and creativity of the perceiver and is based on the ecological geometry.

According to Rudolf Arnheint, picture perception refers to arranging lines in different shapes based on the laws of structure. He argues that the laws of organisation is seen on many art forms from different periods.

John M. Kennedy supported the thoughts put forward by Arnheint but opposed to Gibson. He says it is the picture maker who tries to communicate with the viewers through the pictures and picture perception should be seen in more broader terms. Pictures communicate ideas and is not just made up to show scenes.

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Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic.

— Edward de Bono

Picture Perception as Personality Test

From a person's interpretation of a picture, people around him or her can perceive something about his personality. This is because a person perceives a picture based on his or her past experiences and the attitude which develops eventually.

It is believed, previous experiences based on our communication with the environment influences our behavior and living later in life. We see what we expect to see. Perception is partly based on our expectations to visualize pictures the way we have encountered it in the past. The other factors which determine our ability to perceive include interests and values.

In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is - as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.

— Josef Albers

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