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Psychology unit 3: Sensation and Perception
Transcript of Psychology unit 3: Sensation and Perception
the acquiring of information from the environment through the senses
Vision: a single candle from 30 miles away on a clear dark night.
Smell: a drop of perfume diffused in a 3-room apartment
Taste: a single teaspoon of sugar in 2 gallons of water
Hearing: a watch’s tick from 20 feet away in a quiet room.
Touch: a bee’s wing falling on your cheek from 1 cm away.
There is a minimum amount of each stimulus that humans can recognize as a sensation.
(The standard is that the stimulus should be recognized 50% of the time)
the smallest amount of change in stimulus needed to be noticed as a change
The larger a stimulus is, the more change is needed to be noticed.
If we are constantly exposed to a stimulus, eventually we will fail to notice it
Number of Scent Receptors
When our senses pick up and process stimuli, but without our conscious awareness.
Even though these stimuli are outside our awareness, they can still effect our behavhior
the focusing of conscious awareness on only one particular stimulus
failure to notice seemingly obvious changes in the environment
turning environmental information into neural impulses
Sight: transduction occurs within the eye – where neural impulses are created from
Hearing: transduction occurs within the ear – neural impulses are created from
Smell: occurs within the nose – created from a chemical reaction (
Touch: occurs within the skin – created from
Taste: occurs on the tongue – created from a chemical reaction with
what we ingest
(includes pressure, pain, and temperature)
(also known as proprioception)
orientation of the body in the world
orientation of the body to itself and all of it's parts
Is the information we get from our senses reliable?
Do we perceive the world as it truly is?
the process through which we interpret and consciously experience information from the senses
It is estimated that we receive 11,000,000 pieces of information per second
Of that information, we can only consciously attend to 40 pieces at a time
Amount we are consciously aware of
Let's say my classroom is empty
Then these two girls come in and start talking and doing homework
I'm clearly going to notice the increase in noise, right?
My classroom is very full and VERY loud
The same two girls from before enter and starting talking/doing homework
Think I'll notice the change in noise this time?
You can feel them now, but were you really conscious of that feeling before?
Pay attention to how your clothes feel on your body right now.
Wanna know a secret?
It turns out that subliminal messages...don't really work
Outside layer of eye
Bends light toward center of the eye
The colored part of your eye
it shrinks or grows to control how much light gets in
the hole in the iris through which light enters the eye
The lens can bend, allowing us to focus on things that are both close and far away
Almost the entire back of they eye is covered by the retina
The retina contains all of our rods and cones
Rods and cones are two types of photoreceptors
Rods deal with low light conditions
Humans have three different kinds of cones
Various combinations of these three colors make up the visible spectrum
Point on the back of the eye where the majority of light from outside hits
The fovea also contains the highest concentration of cones
the nerve through which all of the eyes signals are sent to the brain
Point just in front of the optic nerve where there no rods or cones whatsoever. Therefore, you are blind in that spot
Trichromatic Theory of color
The amount of light being received.
Characteristics of color
This theory lines up better with color blindness
3 types of Color blindness
The purity of the color.
Is it only one wavelength being received or a mixture?
The name of the color, which is the wavelength being received
The sense of touch as we normally think of it is a result of several different kinds of sense receptors, all located within the skin
(and a few other places)
the frequency of the waves
the complexity of the waves
the height of the waves
(we register it as loudness)
Characteristics of Sound
Hammer, Anvil, and/or Stirrup
Occurs as a result of problems with one of 3 areas...
...is the body's early warning system
Gate Control Theory
Signals from all skin receptors have to take the same route up the spinal cord to the brain.
If there are other signals competing with the pain signals, our experience of pain will be less
It's like two people trying to squeeze through a door at the same time
The tongue is covered with many little bumps called Fungiform Papillae, on which are your taste buds. Your taste buds can detect 5 different flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (savory)
gas molecules enter through nostril
molecules get caught in mucus
they sit there until the nose can process them
General rules that describe how we organize/group sensory information
Similarity: We tend to see similar objects as part of the same thing
Continuation: We expect that a line will continue the way it is going, not suddenly change direction
Proximity: We tend to see objects that are close together as part of the same thing
Closure: We can mentally connect the dots to see one picture instead of several parts
Simplicity: We tend to see what is easiest to see
What do you See?
In everything we see, there has to be a figure and a ground. In these pictures, you can alternate them
We tend to believe that things move in a consistent manner
In order to simplify our world, our brain makes us perceive some things as constant and unchanging.
Once the size of an object is known we believe that size to remain the same.
So the approaching ball isn’t getting bigger, it is just getting closer.
Once the color of an object is known we believe that color to stay the same regardless of environmental change.
The same is true of light and shadow of an object
Space and movement
Light and Shadow
Brightly lit objects appear closer, while objects in shadows appear further away
If two objects overlap, we assume that the one that is partially covered must be further away
If something is bigger, we usually think it is closer
If something is higher up, we usually see it as farther away
The closer an object is the more detail we notice
The Visual Cliff
Our eyes actually receive two slightly different images, and our brains calculate depth using the differences between the two
Interestingly, this works in reverse with things above the horizon
Retinal Disparity is used to make 3D films
Extra Sensory Perception (ESP)
the ability to read someone else’s mind
The perception of information not gained through the regular human senses.
The ability to move an object without touching it
perceiving objects without sensory information
The ability to see the future
Theories of Color Vision