This article will help you to differentiate between Sensation and Perception.
J. J. Gibson maintains that sensations are cues, clues, signs, indicators, and messages. In his view, there are no pure sensations. According to him “sensations are occasional symptoms of perceptions, and not causes of it.” Perception is the function of the stimulation by the physical energy proceeding from the environment.
R. H. Forgus defines perception as the process by which an organization receives or extracts certain information about the environment. G. Murphy describes perceiving as the process of coming in terms with the environment, playing up with certain features, and playing down with others. In brief, there is no sharp line of demarcation between sensation and perception.
However, some of the subtle differences between sensation and perception may be stated below:
(1) Sensations are the integral elements in perception. They are the simple awareness of qualities e.g., colour, sound, taste, odour, heat, cold, etc. due to the excitation of the sense-organs and interpretation of the meanings of sensations in the light of past experience and awareness of objects in the environment, and of their relations to one another.
(2) Perception is more complex than sensation. It is a fusion of sensation with ideas.
(3) Perception involves selection of stimuli and combination of them into a pattern. Sensation does not involves selection and combination.
(4) Perception involves the stimulation of the sense-organs, conduction of nerve current from the sense-organs by the sensory neurons to the sensory area of the cerebrum, and the excitation of the association areas. But sensation does not involve the excitation of the association area.
Woodworth defines sensation as the first response of the brain, and perception as the second response of the brain, because sensation is the response of the sensory area of the cerebrum, and because perception is the response of the association area as well as the sensory area.