You may want to consider the bottom-up approach if you want to change your perception at work. Since it is a perception strategy, bottom-up processing can help in analyzing information. As a result, you can become more aware of your work environment and make better decisions at work. 

This article aims at examining bottom-up processing, describing how it works, comparing it to top-down processes, and providing examples that might be helpful in understanding.

Psychologically speaking, it refers to how one perceives the world. Under bottom-up processing, sensory input is used to assess the environment before considering anything else(concepts). 

To use bottom-up processing, the brain is centered on sensory information like observation, smell, sound, taste, and other physical sensations instead of relying on prior knowledge, past experiences, or what it anticipates.

Then, we interpret the sensations to form our perceptions. We gain a better understanding of something new when we analyze what we observe.


How does the bottom-up process work?

Both voluntary and involuntary actions are involved. Being conscious of one’s surroundings through the use of the senses can help one begin the bottom-up process. Sensory information is processed by the body after being absorbed. Based on this, one can take action or make sense of a situation.


Follow these steps to apply bottom-up processing to your job:


Collect Sensory Details

To begin the process, observe and gather simple information in your workplace. Consider what you can see, hear, and feel at the moment regardless of your prior knowledge of the place or situation. While collecting details, you may take into account gestures,  movement, facial expressions, smells, sounds, size, shape, brightness, contrast, etc. 


Transmit Sensations (Eye to Brain)

During the bottom-up process, the gathered sensory information moves to various parts of the body. The information is transferred from the eye to the brain through electrical impulses. This transition is an involuntary action. After sensory information has been collected, the process occurs quickly, which aids in the quicker interpretation of data.


Finally, Draw A Conclusion

Upon reaching the brain, simple sensory information is used to form complex ideas. Consequently, you might be able to make more informed decisions, form better opinions, or perceive your environment better, which, in turn, may help you achieve your professional goals.


Example 1

At Andrew’s workplace, everyone takes a lunch break at noon every day. As he watches his colleagues, he notices that they are all standing up simultaneously, gathering their belongings and putting them inside the desk drawers. He notices that some of them have turned off their desktop. He can feel his stomach growling. He smells his colleague reheating food in the microwave in the common room nearby. Andrew understands that it is lunchtime by using bottom-up processing. 

Example 2

Larry works for a recycling goods company as an outside sales representative. A potential client is asking her for a demo of their product for which he travels through the countryside. He drives safely by keeping an eye on his surroundings since there are no road signs. While driving, he notices three buffaloes standing by the road. One of them stepped onto the road. By using bottom-up processing, he is able to recognize that the buffaloes are trying to cross the road, thus allowing him to avoid them.

Example 3

In her role as a customer service representative at an electronics store, Larissa provides assistance to customers. Bringing a paper bag to Larrisa’s counter, a customer seeks help. The customer pulls out a box for a smartphone box. It is covered with wrapping paper. A gift receipt is placed next to the smartphone. The bottom-up approach enables Larissa to comprehend that the smartphone was given as a gift and that the customer would like to return it.

Example 4

Marry is a chef at a bakery where she bakes several types of bread. A smell of charcoal catches her nose as she kneads a ball of dough. Her eyes are drawn to the blackened loaf of bread in the oven. Opening the oven, she sees smoke rising. She is able to assess that the bread has been burned because of bottom-up processing.

The bottom-up processing is data-driven. Its focus is on the raw data arising from direct experience and relies on interpreting sensory information and takes place in real time. We hope these examples helped you gain a better understanding of the bottom-up process.