This episode compares and contrasts two models of sensation and perception, and how it’s possible that both models might be correct. Bottom–up processing refers to processing sensory information as it is coming in. … Top–down processing, on the other hand, refers to perception that is driven by cognition. Your brain applies what it knows and what it expects to perceive and fills in the blanks, so to speak.
Each approach can be quite simple—the top–down approach goes from the general to the specific, and the bottom–up approach begins at the specific and moves to the general. These methods are possible approaches for a wide range of endeavors, such as goal setting, budgeting, and forecasting.