Plasticity of Perception: Meaning And Significance

Plasticity is the ability to shape, mold, or alter something; neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to adapt or change over time by creating new neurons and building new networks. Scientists used to believe that the brain stopped growing after childhood. From our daily life example, the Plasticity of Perception can be dealt with in various manners, depending on the change in time and perception from one person to another. Taking examples from daily life, it can also be stated that two people used to be best friends since their school days. Nevertheless, after so many years of friendship, some tragic incident happened in the life of one of the friends for which the person started blaming his/her best friend. This is how perception changes from time to time, as due to obvious reasons, the mentality of a person changes from time to time, with an increase in their experience. Here, observation and experience play a major role in changing one's perception to another. Also, it must be said that Perception is a very subjective term and process that depends from one person to another over the course of time.

What is Perception?

Perception is the process or outcome of becoming aware of objects, relationships, and events through the senses, including recognizing, observing, and discriminating. Perception varies from person to person, making it a subjective thing. Perception mainly occurs after a person comes in contact with a surrounding, irrespective of prior surroundings or a new one, gathers information about the circumstance the person is currently in, draws observation, and comes into inference at the very end. Perception varies from time to time, depending on the nature, environment, or surroundings and at the time; at which time the person belongs. These factors mainly contribute to the occurrence of perception by a person.

Types of Perception

Major types of perception are

  • Visual Perception
  • Auditory Perception
  • Olfactory Perception
  • Haptic Perception
  • Gustatory Perception

Stages of Perception

Perception is divided into five basic stages depending on the time, the nature of humans, and the environment. These are −

  • Stimulation (understanding stimuli exist)
  • Organization (comparing existing knowledge with the stimuli)
  • Interpretation (making meaning of the stimuli)
  • Memory (Storage of one's experience about the stimuli)
  • Recall (Using the stored knowledge in the future)

Plasticity of Perception

Sensory processing is characterized by plasticity. Sensory systems must constantly recalibrate to optimize coding for the current context as environments change over time and space. Importantly, the sensory apparatus varies greatly between individuals. Even within an individual, there are dramatic differences over time, for example, development and aging and space, as in, between central and peripheral vision. Plasticity must therefore account for the properties of both the world and the observer. These changes can occur at various structural levels, ranging from large-scale cortical reorganization, for example, when cortical areas normally dedicated to one sense are recruited by other modalities when that sense is lost to local synaptic dynamics and sensitivity regulation within cells and networks. Regardless of developmental stage or complexity, plasticity appears to be a universal property of nervous systems. Perceptual plasticity in higher mammals' visual systems has been extensively studied during development and adulthood. However, in recent years, there have been some significant debates about the existence and properties of visual plasticity following permanent damage to the adult visual system. Researchers are interested in studying perceptual plasticity in damaged adult visual systems for several reasons.

  • It is a useful tool for determining the relative contribution of individual visual areas to visual learning, adaptation, and priming, among other plastic phenomena.

  • Secondly, it can provide critical knowledge for developing effective therapies to rehabilitate the growing number of people who suffer the functional consequences of damage at various levels of their visual hierarchy. This review summarizes the available evidence and proposes that visual plasticity may be as common after damage as it is in the intact visual system. Damage, on the other hand, may alter visual plasticity in ways that are still unknown.

Plasticity is demonstrated when a solid piece of metal is bent or pounded into a new shape because permanent changes occur within the material. The transition from elastic to plastic behavior is called yielding in engineering. Past experiences, education, values, culture, preconceived notions, and current circumstances all impact perception. Finally, the perception you create becomes your reality. People act instinctively based on their perceptions, and we act in response to what we perceive. If you believe your significant other is overly preoccupied with socializing with her friends, your interactions with her will reflect that.

Human Plasticity

Human Plasticity is the brain's ability to make long-term structural changes in response to environmental demands that the organism's current functional capacity cannot fully meet.

Factors affecting Plasticity Development

There are eight basic principles of brain plasticity that have been identified. These are:

  • Sensory stimuli
  • Psychoactive drugs
  • Gonadal hormones
  • Parental-child relationships
  • Peer relationships
  • Early stress
  • Intestinal flora
  • Diet all influences brain development and function.


Neuronal plasticity is a biological process that allows for changes in neural circuitry, which can alter the structure and function of the brain. These changes allow learning and memory to function properly, and deviations from this function are associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. Although the literature suggests that plastic changes in the brain promote improved motor and cognitive functions, plastic changes in the brain can also interfere with behavior. At the same time, Perception is an important part of the decision-making process because it assists decision-makers in organizing the data received. Decision-makers should contrast their experiences with others, providing a complete picture of a specific scenario.