Word Confusion: Apperception versus Perception

Posted June 21, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

It was the apperception that caught my eye. I had no idea what it meant, so I went exploring. We’re all aware of perception, and apperception is quite close in meaning.

Both apperception and perception are about understanding and interpreting what we experience. Apperception, however, is more about a conscious comprehension whereas perception is an interpretation of what one’s senses are saying.

My apperception of the difference is that apperception notes the reality and comprehends what that means, i.e., I see snow falling, and I know it is snowing. Or, I see a coffee shop, and I know there’s coffee available inside.

My perception of either event is that snow is cold, so I’d better bundle up before heading out. As for that coffee, if I saw someone walking past with a Starbucks cup, I’d perceive that a coffee shop was in the vicinity. Of course, it’s possible that I smelt the coffee in the air, which would cause my perception to veer towards the same idea…get some coffee!

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Apperception Perception
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: apperception and perception; Oxford Dictionaries: apperception; The Free Dictionary: apperception

Young man sitting in an empty hot tub

Is This How It Works? by ActiveSteve is under the CC BY-ND 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.

Actually sitting in the hot tub is an apperception for how one is situated in the object.

Turkey fryer bubbling away cooking the turkey

Turkey Bubbling in the Hot Tub by tbertor1 is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.

My perception is that the fryer is a whole lot hotter than a hot tub would be!

Part of Grammar:
Noun, mass
Plural: apperceptions
Noun, mass
Plural: perceptions
[Psychology; dated] The process of understanding by which newly observed qualities of an object are related to past experience

  • Fully conscious perception with full awareness
  • Comprehension

The attainment of full awareness of a sensation or idea

The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses

  • The state of being or process of becoming aware of something through the senses
  • A way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something
  • A mental impression
  • Cognition
  • Intuitive understanding, recognition, and insight
  • [Psychology & Zoology] The neurophysiological processes, including memory, by which an organism becomes aware of and interprets external stimuli

The result or product of perceiving, as distinguished from the act of perceiving

  • A mental concept that is developed as a consequence of the process of perception

[Law] The taking into possession of rents, crops, profits, etc.

He had an immediate apperception of a unity lying beyond.

The line of use, by habit of apperception, becomes the line of beauty.” – George Santayana. The Sense of Beauty.

This could throw additional light upon the unconscious psychodynamic processes governing the perception and apperception, both sensory and extrasensory, of potentially threatening stimuli.

Performances provide another such context as audiences are brought together in a heightened awareness of sharing patterns of embodied apperception.

Where people differ is in the way that each of them typically makes use of the equipment; and this typical mode of apperception and responsiveness is what is meant in psychology by their type.

“This can bring about the “awakened state” that Buddhists and other spiritual aspirants strive for: apperception of the dreamlike, illusory nature of what we normally call waking life.” – Andrew Holecek, Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep

“On Kant’s account, transcendental apperception cannot be equated with inner perception or personal awareness.” – A note on some contemporary readings of Hegel’s master-servant dialectic

It is possible to go beyond the normal limits to human perception.

There will be the perception of pain when I tap this section of your brain.

Hollywood’s perception of the tastes of the American public are scary.

Even though he had done nothing illegal, the public’s perception was that he had acted dishonestly, and he was forced to resign.

We need to challenge many popular perceptions of old age.

“He wouldn’t have accepted,” said my mother with unusual perception.

She was an artist of rare perception.

Honest and straightforward, this duo has amazingly accurate insight and perception.

Drugs can alter your sense of perception.

No one can tell you what your perception is of a situation, for each of us has our own perception.

Having a working model of the brain, or even the incredibly complex neocortex, should help researchers understand processes like thought, perception, and memory.

“From a legal standpoint, the appearance of partiality is key, and defense lawyers pointed to the flurry of news coverage surrounding McSpadden’s remarks, as well as Internet comments as evidence of the public perception of bias.” – Keri Blakinger, “Judge Booted From Death Row Case After Racial Comments“. Houston Chronicle. 22 May 2018

With political candidates raising such large percentages of money from special interests, the public perception is that elected officials are being improperly influenced by campaign contributors.

Adjective: apperceptive, unapperceptive
Adverb: apperceptively
Noun: preapperception
Verb, transitive: apperceive, apperceived, apperceives, apperceiving
Adjective: nonperceivable, nonperceptional, perceivable, perceptional, unperceivable, unperceptional
Adverb: nonperceivably, perceivably, unperceivably
Noun: nonperception, perceivability, perceivableness, perceiver, reperception, self-perception
Verb, transitive: perceive, perceived, perceives, perceiving

History of the Word:
Mid-18th century from the French aperception or the modern Latin aperceptio(n-), which is from the Latin ad- (to) + percipere (perceive). Late Middle English, from the Latin perceptio(n-), which from the verb percipere meaning seize, understand.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Snow by vagueonthehow is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.

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