Note: Page numbers enclosed in parentheses are citations from The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler: A systematic presentation in selections from his writings. (H. L. and R. R. Ansbacher, Eds.). © 1964, Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Used by permission of Perseus Books Group.
Apperception refers to the personal values and interests determining the mode in which an individual perceives self, others, and the world. The mode of perceiving is biased by convictions; thus, each individual has a biased apperception of both subjective and objective experience. The schema of biased apperception defines the individual's phenomenological field.
[After the first four or five years of life] a well-determined schema of apperception (Apperzeptionsschema) is established, and the child's conclusions and actions are directed in full accord with the final [self-] ideal end form to which he aspires (pp. 181-182).
Perception can never be compared with a photographic apparatus; it always contains something of the individual's uniqueness. Not everything one sees is also perceived, and if one asks for the perceptions of two persons who have seen the same picture, one receives the most varied answers. The child perceives in his environment only that which. . . fits his previously formed uniqueness (p. 210).
What a person perceives, and how he does so, constitutes his particular uniqueness (p. 210) 1.
The child will not perceive given situations as they actually exist, but under the prejudice of his own interests (p. 189).
The world is seen through a stable schema of apperception: Experiences are interpreted before they are accepted, and the interpretation always accords with the original meaning given to life. Even if this meaning is very gravely mistaken, even if the approach to our problems and tasks brings us continually into misfortunes and agonies, it is never easily relinquished (p. 189).
People find it very difficult to free themselves from the schema into which they have grown during the first years of life (p. 190).
Denying the connection between the experience and the schema of apperception is like taking single notes out of a melody to examine them for their value and meaning (p. 183).
1Bruner, Jerome S. (1951). Personality dynamics and the process of perceiving. In R. R. Blake & G.V. Ramsey (Eds.), Perception: An approach to personality (pp. 121-147), New York: Ronald Press. "I find it hard to decide whether I have been discussing the role of personality factors in the process of perceiving or the role of perceptual factors in personality functioning" (p. 145).
© Griffith, J., & Powers, R. L. (2007). The Lexicon of Adlerian Psychology: 106 terms Associated with the Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler (2nd ed.). Port Townsend, WA: Adlerian Psychology Associates (p. 6).
Definitions of concepts are used by permission of Jane Griffith. A comprehensive list of concepts and definitions can be found in The Lexicon of Adlerian Psychology: 106 Terms Associated with the Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler by Jane Griffith and Robert L. Powers, available for purchase on Amazon.com.