An approach to perception associated with psychologists Gregory and Rock, in which it is conceptualized as a very active cognitive process of meaning-making (see also constructivism). The emphasis is on top-down processes and on perception as primarily theory-driven: led by schemata, hypotheses, and expectations which draw on our past experience and knowledge of the world (which can be seen as constituting an internal representation of it). These may be modified by sensory data in particular contexts (such data may also trigger a change in which schemata or hypotheses are currently active, where these offer a better fit to the data). Processes of inference allow us to go beyond the available data. Both top-down and bottom-up processes feature in Neisser's perceptual cycle. Compare direct perception.
Subjects: Media Studies.