Perspective vs Perception? What’s the difference?

Have you ever had a perspective based on your perception of perspective? If you’re confused about the wording of this question, don’t worry you’re not alone. There is a fine line between a perception versus a perspective. While both can have associations with one another, they are quite different.

Basically, when you have a “perception,” it refers to something you can infer from using the senses (sight, sound, hearing, taste and smell). Also, “perception” can indicate how you regard or interpret something. “Perspective,” on the other hand, means to have a point of view based on a specific set of beliefs, feelings or attitudes.

While both these words have additional meanings, particularly in regards to “perspective,” the confusion over which is in the definitions as listed above. After all, both words are nouns and they reference ideas.

Perception

When you have “perception,” you are able to conceptualize it through your senses. Or, it relates to how you regard, interpret or understand something. For example:

The smell really changed my perception.

Beauty is a perception, not a fact.

My perception changed after watching the riots on TV.

Perspective

The word “perspective” is a viewpoint. These can come from someone’s feelings, beliefs, or personal experiences. But, “perspective” can also refer to a specific concept in literature. Consider the following:

I don’t have a political perspective.

Her perspective about beauty isn’t common.

The fiction story has a first-person perspective.

In Literature

In the case of literature, there are three general perspectives a story has. These indicate the point of view of the main character(s).

  • First Person: I, me, my (from the perspective of the main character)
  • Second Person: You (the reader becomes the main character)
  • Third Person: Him, her, them (characters are distant)

Mnemonic Device

To recall the difference between the two, think of them this way:

Perception comes from the senses and perspective is an opinion based on an experience of the senses.

To clarify, refer back to the first question that started the article:

Have you ever had a perspective based on your perception of perspective?

In other words, have you ever had an opinion based on how you see a point of view?

Conclusion

To have a perception means basing ideas on something smelled, heard, seen, tasted, or touched. This perception influences perspective, or an opinion because of ideas about the experience.

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