Sensations and perceptions
one molecule, multiple perceptions
When a stimulus, such as a perfume, which is made of volatile molecules, reacts with our senses (sensation) the captured information is sent to the brain to be processed (perception).
This implies that, while sensation is a physiological and objective fact, perception is a psychological process, a subjectiveelaboration made by brain of the data gathered by the sense organs. Perception is closely related to the experiences that each subject has gained during his life in reference to that particular stimulus.
For instance, the same odorous molecules can be perceived as “blue cheese” or as “foot odour” by different subjects, despite the sensation arising from the sense organs being identical. Sometimes, we realize that something is reacting with our senses but we are unable to identify the stimulus. This happens because we have not yet gained experience in relation to that particular stimulus or we are unable to associate it with an experience. In these cases, our evaluation remains at the sensation stage and cannot be converted into perception.
Since the sensory evaluations are composed of a physiological and a psychological experience, it is good to foresee (and prevent) the possible errors associated with these two experiences. Only in this way can we obtain scientifically valid data and transform the evaluation into a real analysis.