Perception is the term used to refer to how a particular person views a particular thing, his or her opinion more or less. Perceptual psychologists work within the area of cognitive psychology that focuses on and studies how humans perceive various things. In your work as a perceptual psychologist you will be working to understand the complex processes and how they interact as a person perceives, or takes in, their environment.
It may surprise you to learn that the research that is conducted by perceptual psychologists is used to plan marketing and advertising campaigns or to hire employees that will appropriately fit the needs of a company. For instance, your work may have you researching how perceptual biases may influence decisions we make about hiring particular employees. Although your specific job functions may vary slightly, it will be possible for you to work for educational institutions or for privately owned companies who have an interest in cognitive psychology.
Generally speaking, perceptual systems psychologists study the brain processes that are thought to be the reasons that human phenomena, such as perception, occur. In your capacity as a perceptual psychologist you will likely spend much of your time exploring the pathways that ultimately contribute to touch, hearing, smell, taste, and sight. Should you want to explore any perceptual phenomena that have yet to be completely understood, your training and knowledge will make it possible for you to conduct research in an attempt to better understand. In scenarios such as this you would use a variety of tools in conjunction with brain imaging within an experimental setting. It is common for perceptual psychologists to study vision. This is largely due to the fact that the biological processes that exist behind a person’s vision are quite complex; in fact, many mistakes in this area have been made in the past. In addition, you could spend your time studying the cognitive processes that are used to determine how a human being processes the visual information that he or she comes across.
In your research as a perceptual psychologist you will find yourself using a wide variety of tools and techniques to measure a person’s perceptual abilities and systems; this research most commonly serves the purpose of establishing an informative baseline from which researchers can refer to. Furthermore, you will probably be interested in studying about the perceptual processes that take place behind the scenes as sensory information is perceived and interpreted. In this career field, it is also quite common for individuals to research how real-world perceptual biases can affect how people may interact with experiences or with other people. This type of research is typically performed in the field and consists of controlled environments that will allow you to test a specific hypothesis.
As a perceptual systems psychologist it will be possible for you to work as an educator or a researcher in an academic setting. It would also be feasible for you to work as a consultant in the medical field, to work for a privately owned organization, or to become employed for a governmental agency. Unless you are working as an educator, it is likely that you will be working to uncover perceptual clues that can help identify problems within the human brain. In order to be prepared to enter this career field, you will want to select a college or university that offers a degree program that is focused on cognitive psychology. The coursework within this degree program will make it possible for you to gain the knowledge and skills that will be necessary to achieve success in this career path.