Authors: Jerome S. Bruner, Leo Postman.

Article: Perception under stress.

Publication: Psychological Review (American Psychological Association). 55(6), 314–323 1948 | DOI: 10.1037/h0058960


A study was made to discover the consequences for perceptual organization when the construction of a stable and meaningful environment is thwarted. Material was presented tachistoscopically to experimental and to control groups. After the initial series, the experimental group were subjected to perceptual frustration by very brief exposure time and criticism. The control group, with adequate exposure of stimuli and no criticism successfully performed the task. With the frustrated group, perceptual responses deteriorated. There was an increase in responses reflecting aggression and the need to escape the situation. Perceptual behavior became less adaptive.

Tagged as: disorientation, perception, perceptual disruption, and perceptual frustration


Postman, L., & Bruner, J. S. (1948). Perception under stress. Psychological Review, 55(6), 314–323.

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