Visual Processing / Eyes : Training, Diagnosis, School
Visual Perception: Its Role in the Act of Reading
Reading must be regarded as an act of communication. There is a communicator (the author of the book that the reader is reading), there is a message (transferred to the reader via symbols on paper), and there is a recipient of the message (the reader). Visual perception plays a major role in the reception of the message.
The reading act is a unitary occurrence, meaning that the actions taking place while one is reading occur simultaneously. However, for the purpose of this discussion, these actions will be divided into steps, and a schematic diagram representing these steps of the reading act is shown below. Visual perception plays a major role in the reception of the message.
This article focuses on the role of visual perception in the reception of the written message. When a reader concentrates on a written message, the next step is that the message must be perceived. In other words, perception must take place.
Before one can learn anything, one has to become aware of it through one of the senses. Usually one has to hear or see it. Subsequently one has to interpret whatever one has seen or heard. In essence then, perception means interpretation. Of course, lack of experience may cause a person to misinterpret what he has seen or heard. In other words, perception represents our apprehension of a present situation in terms of our past experiences, or, as stated so succinctly by the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): "We see things not as they are but as we are."