What Are The Examples Of Bottom-Up Processing?

What Are The Examples Of Bottom-Up Processing?
What Are The Examples Of Bottom-Up Processing?

What Are The Examples Of Bottom-Up Processing? Bottom-up processing explains the idea that the human brain starts to perceive objects with sensation, contrary to the brain’s conceptual ideas. Bottom-up processing is data-driven, that is, based on the data we gather with our senses. It happens in real-time.

Consider this example— You’re at a friend’s place for a night’s stay. You wake up at midnight and walk to their kitchen to satisfy your midnight cravings. In the kitchen, you cannot use your memory to locate things but must turn the light on to see where you are going unlike the kitchen back at home using your prior knowledge and experience.

Everyday Examples Of Bottom-Up Processing :

Example 1


Prosopagnosia patients are not able to recognize individuals by top-down processing. Looking at a person’s face, they can perceive what they see.

They can identify the person’s facial features like freckles, eye color, etc.

However, they can’t recognize seeing that face. Individuals with face blindness recognize the faces of other people through bottom-up processing. 

Example 2

Road Sign Interpretation

Road markings illustrate well how affordances support the bottom-up processing theory. Markings on the road use numerous affordances to communicate both speed requirements and directions.

On a country road, we don’t drive using top-down processing.

We use bottom-up processing by observing signs on the roadside to find out where we are going (direction) and how fast we are going (speed).

Example 3

Bottom-up Assessments

What are the ways of knowing how someone is feeling?

They express it. Another way could be to use clues from their behavior (which is the approach taken by many professional therapists during assessments.)

These are referred to as “bottom-up assessments” because they are similar to the bottom-up approach.

Example 4

Bottom-Up Tests

Based on the type of therapy being used, bottom-up processing and approaches can differ.

People seeking CBT may be required to answer a series of questions about a memory or a subject. Therapists listen carefully to what patients have to say.

They also monitor the patient’s physical behavior like sweating, fidgeting, etc. From this information, they assess the patient.

Example 5

Blind Taste Test

Did you ever witness someone performing a blind taste test? Perhaps it might have been on a cooking show where they had to guess what they were eating.

They might already have some clue about the food they will eat. However, they must assess what they eat using a bottom-up approach.

Sensory information is sent to the brain with some or no context from the taste buds. The brain does the work to determine what the person just consumed.

Example 6

Unusual Stomach Ache

Did you ever experience a sudden stomach pain that just seemed to come out of nowhere? To determine the cause of the symptoms, bottom-up processing is used.

When we experience something unusual, we get a sign that sometimes might be wrong. We also consider how we feel mentally at the moment or whether we ate anything that could have caused the stomach ache.

There are times in your past when we might have experienced similar feelings. In cases where we anticipate stomach pain due to an allergy or a situation that may cause stomach pain, we may use top-down processing to assess our symptoms.

Example 7

Detecting Fire far Away

Bottom-up processing does not require that one be blind or have their eyes closed. Imagine you are in a forest.

There are trees around you and things seem normal but suddenly there is a loud popping noise and you can smell smoke faintly. Eventually, your body starts feeling warm on one side. You may want to run or check if everything is okay since all this suggests that there is a fire nearby.

Although you may not yet be able to see the flames directly, bottom-up processing and other senses are telling you what is going on.

Does Bottom-Up Processing work automatically?

Even though it might seem as though we are making assumptions, or interpreting the road signs, or reading images automatically, there is some work involved in bottom-up processing. The more we interact with the world around us, the more advanced these skills become!


James Gibson suggested that the process of analyzing stimuli is dependent on a direct connection between those parts of the brain responsible for analyzing them and those that receive them. Further learning does not influence what the brain perceives.





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