Cognitive perception refers to the mental process of interpreting sensory information to give meaning and understanding to the world around us. It is a complex process that involves several stages, including attention, perception, memory, and reasoning. In this article, we will take a closer look at what cognitive perception is and how it works in psychology.

Stages of Cognitive Perception

Cognitive perception is a multistage process that starts with attention. Attention involves focusing on certain stimuli while ignoring others. For example, if you are reading this article in a noisy coffee shop, you may have to focus your attention on the text while ignoring the background noise.

The next stage is perception. Perception refers to the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information from our environment. This includes processing visual information such as colors and shapes, auditory information such as sounds and speech, and tactile information such as touch and pressure.

Memory is the third stage of cognitive perception. Memory involves storing and retrieving information from our past experiences. This stage plays an important role in how we interpret new sensory information based on our previous experiences.

Finally, reasoning is the last stage of cognitive perception. Reasoning involves using logic and critical thinking skills to make sense of new information based on what we already know.

Theories of Cognitive Perception

There are several theories that attempt to explain how cognitive perception works in psychology. One popular theory is the Gestalt theory, which proposes that our brains organize sensory information into patterns or wholes rather than individual parts.

Another theory is the constructivist theory which suggests that we actively construct our perceptions based on our past experiences and current context.

Factors Affecting Cognitive Perception

Several factors can influence cognitive perception including age, culture, mood, attention span, motivation level, and individual differences in cognition.

For example, older adults may experience changes in their attention span or memory capacity which can affect how they perceive sensory information. Similarly, individuals from different cultures may interpret the same sensory information differently due to cultural and social influences.


In conclusion, cognitive perception is a complex mental process that involves several stages and factors. It plays a crucial role in how we interpret and make sense of the world around us. Understanding cognitive perception can help us improve our attention, memory, and reasoning skills, which can ultimately enhance our overall cognitive functioning.