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Module #3: Sensing, Perception and States of Consciousness

Units #4 and #5

Carrie Hindenach

on 1 December 2016

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Transcript of Module #3: Sensing, Perception and States of Consciousness

Hearing Or Audition
Sensation and Perception (Unit 4)
Sensing the World: Basic Principles

Bottom- up processing
(start with sensory receptors and work up to higher levels of processing).

Top-Down Processing
(Our experiences and expectations from the brain about the physical world)
Selective Attention
Selective Inattention
Inattentional Blindness
Change Blindness
Choice Blindness
Choice Blindness Experiment:
Pick the attractive face and explain
Signal Detection Theory
Subliminal Stimulation
Absolute Thresholds
Much of the world we are blind and deaf to.
There is only so much of the physical world we can detect......
psycho physics
We open up just enough to understand the world
minimum to detect through your senses 1/2 of the time
Why do we react differently to the same stimuli?
By definition it is below the threshold
The power of priming
Conclusion: Much of our informational processing occurs automatically, out of sight, off our radar of our conscious mind.
Sensory Adaptation
Allows us to focus on informative changes
our diminishing sensitivity to an unchanging stimulus
We perceive the world as it is useful to see it!
"We need above all to know about changes; no one wants or needs to be reminded 16 hours a day that his shoes are on"
Weber's Law Experiment
Which envelope weighs more?
Mix them up now and put them in your shoes - which one weighs more?
How much of a pay raise would you need to notice the difference?
How much % do you need off to purchase a good?
How many points does a test have to be for it to mean something?
The Other Senses: Touch, Tastes and Smell
Light Energy: Terms to know
transduce, wavelength, intensity, electromagnetic spectrum, hue, waves
The EYE:
Rods = Black/White
Cones = Color
Rods = Black/White
Rods = Black/White
Rods = Black/White
Rods = Black/White
Rods = Black/White
The eye sees upside down...
The mind makes sense of the world
Light passes through the eye which helps process vision but full understanding of the world and what you see happens in the visual cortex (back of the brain).
Feature Detectors in the visual cortex pass information to other cortical areas where teams of super cell clusters respond to complex patterns to help you recognize your surroundings.
The BRAIN sees:

The Mind's Eye by
the BBC
Turn eyes to the left - close them
gently rub the right side of your right eyelid
what happens? Why?
Know the vocab (as usual): frequency, pitch, decibels, etc.
Know how we perceive loudness
Know how we perceive pitch
Place Theory v. Frequency Theory
high pitch
low pitch
cochlea's membrane stimulation
match the frequency of the tone
loudness sounds the same to deaf and hearing people!
Locating sound....
strike one ear sooner and more intensely than the other
Touch is essential from birth
Top down process - we touch from the brain down.
Vision is connected with kinetics
(Kinesthesis - your sense of position and movement)
Vestibular Sense: Monitors our head's position and movement.
Stand up and spin around:
Vestibular Sense
Stand on right leg with eyes open
v. eyes closed. (movement is connected to vision)
Understanding pain:
Gate Control Theory
Spinal Cord has a neurological 'gate'
Gate blocking (massage, acupuncture, rubbing a stubbed toe)
Pain tolerance is explained by differences in the brain and hormone levels of endorphins.

We can also 'think' our way out of pain (psychological influence) Lamaze, athletes, distraction etc.
Phantom Limb sensations
Psychological Influences:
Phantom limb experiment in reverse (Armel, Ramachandran 2003)

Social-Cultural Influences:
Empathize pain.

Sensory interaction -
smell + taste + texture = FLAVA!
Perception: How do we organize our sensations to become our perceptions of reality?
Gestalt: Whole
Reversible Figure and Ground
Depth Perception: 3D
Visual Cliff
Binocular Clues and Retinal disparity - The finger test.

Monocular Clues: Vertical v. horizontal (St. Louis Gateway Arch)
Shape and Size
Size and Distance
Relative Size
Relative Motion
Relative luminance
Color and shades come from everything around the object too.
We are amazing: Perceptual adaptation, perceptual set, contextual effects, emotions and motivations.
States of Consciousness (Unit 5)
Consciousness = awareness
Cicardian Rhythm
Biological Clock: Body temperature cycles
Bright light SCN decreases melatonin levels
Fight jet lag by going outside all day.
90 minute sleep cycle of 5 stages -
REM sleep discovered by Eugene Aserinsky
Stage 1: slowed breathing, irregular brain waves, maybe hallucinations - sensory experiences without stimulation.
Stage 2: Sleep spindles - bursts of rapid, rhythmic brain wave activities, sleep talking. This stage gets longer as the night progresses.
Stage 3: Transitional stage - large slow delta waves
Stage 4: Deep sleep - children may wet bed or sleep walk. More slow delta waves - hard to wake up.
Stage 5: REM sleep - 10 minutes, Brain waves become rapid and saw=toothed, more like those in stage 1. Heart rate rises, breathing becomes rapid and irregular, eyes dart around, genital arousal regardless of dream, essentially paralyzed (paradoxical sleep - body internally aroused and externally calm). 100 minutes
REM dreams are crazy! (Emotional, story like, hallucinations, etc)
Sleep patterns are genetically and culturally influenced
We are sleeping less because of the modern world
Sleep debt (the brain counts)
for about 2 weeks and
a marathon sleep session
does not help
Years of sleep on average
The importance of sleep:
Health, better immune system, more energy, regulates hunger, increases concentration, builds brain power, puts you in a better mood....
have difficulty studying, diminished productivity, tendency to make mistakes, irritability, and fatigue...."IT MAKES YOU STUPID!" (Oh and fatter.)
Immune system gets deprived also - more susceptible to infectious disease and some say cancer.
Sleep Theories:
Functions of Sleep:
1. Sleep protects - it fits our ecological, historical and evolutionary survival.
2. Sleep helps us recuperate - it restores and repairs brain tissue.
3. Sleep is for making memories - reenacts
and promotes recall of the days events.
4. Sleep feeds creativity -
5. Sleep helps us grow -
Sleep disorders
Insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, night terrors, (sleep walking and talking)
REM Dreams -
hallucinations of the sleeping mind
6 years dreaming
"Manifest Content" - traces of the day
Outside influences (telephone, noise, alarm, sprayed water).
"Latent Content"(Freud) - underlying meaning of dreams
Functions of dreaming:
1. Satisfy our own wishes (safe place to feel and experience the unacceptable).
Freud manifest content is a censored symbolic version of the latent content. Which is the unacceptable desires.
2. To file away memories
Information processing (like defragmenting a computer)
3. To develop and preserve neural pathways.
4. To make sense of neural static (random neural activity and dreams attempt to make sense of it.
5. To reflect cognitive development
Question of the Day: Is it possible or TV magic?
Explaining Hypnosis
People are like actors caught up in a role
Hypnotist's ideas become the subjects thoughts.
Extension of everyday life
Divide Consciousness: A split between difference levels of consciousness. Ice bath - disassociate the sensation of the pain stimulus
Social Phenomenon
Drugs and Consciousness
Psychoactive drugs are chemicals that alter mood, perception, etc. by interacting with the neural synapses. Many of which are legal.
Fact: It takes a while to become addicted to a drug (don't tell anyone)

Fact: People often recover on their own without group therapy or help

Fact: Addiction is different from compulsive behavior.
Alcohol: lowers inhibitions, slows neural processing, disrupts memory formation and reduces self-awareness.
The urges you feel sober are the ones you will likely act on when drunk. (Angry people can suppress their anger when sober)
When sober we think driving drunk is bad....that's only when we are sober unfortunately
Drugs do have an effect but we also expect the effect so our behavior changes sometimes independently from the alcohol.
The most dangerous drinking happens when your young and in college or high school. Not because you are going to die but because of sexual assault
Barbiturates :
Tranquilizers and deadly when mixed with alcohol.
Opiates (opium/heroin) - breathing slows and lethargy
most dangerous and addicting because the brain stops producing its own opiates so cravings are intense and difficult to fight.
Amphetamines and Methamphetamine:
Very strong stimulants - increase hear and breathing rates, energy and self-confidence rises.
Big cost = depression, fatigue, headaches, irritability.
Meth: reduces baseline dopamine levels, leaving user permanently depresses.
extremely addicting: withdraws included irritability, insomnia, hypertension, seizures, social isolation, depression and occasionally violent.
Caffeine: Highly recommended....kidding
Philip Morris - role of corporate American in smoking and our lives.
Smoking through Pictures
Emotional disturbance, suspicious, convulsions, cardiac arrest and respiratory failure.
MDMA: stimulant and hallucinogenic.
Dehydrating effect.
Decrease output of serotonin levels afterward (risk of permanent depression).
LSD: similar to a near death experience? What?

Marijuana: THC - mild amplification to colors, sounds, tastes and smells. Effects memory and recall. Please don't drive!
Why use drugs then?
Biological Influence: Genetic from one or more parents,
Psychological and Social
PRIOR knowledge

11 BILLION TO 40 (no billion...just 40)
Over selectivity and Autism
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabridge Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
The study of how physical stimuli are translated into psychological experiences
The dividing line between what is detectable energy and what is not.
Think of your brain as an automatic light sensor. Motion is its threshold and it turns on...so does your brain to physical stimuli.
The greater the intensity - the greater the change needed to produce noticeable change.
EX: 5lb weight v. 10lb weight
100lb v. 105 lb
Detection of a stimulus involves some
decision making process
as well as a sensory process. Both sensory and decision making processes are influenced by many more factors than just intensity.
Our attention, emotional state, amount of sleep, etc.
Can we think of examples?
1. Text from your mom when you are doing something wrong?

2. Mother's ability to detect her child's cry from others?
Quick Facts about Autism and Over Selectivity:
Individuals tend to focus on individual characteristics of an object instead of the whole.
EX: instead of seeing a whole car, a child may see only the wheels which interfers with the understanding of the true meaning of a car.
This hinders a child's ability to learn and interpret the relevant meaning of their environments. This is why sometimes they get so frustrated!

Another tendency is for individuals to focus only on one specific object or activity for a great length of time (uninterrupted).
EX: A child my only play with trains and refuse to play with cars. This behavior may impede a child's ability to appropriately shift his/her attention to other people or activities when socially necessary.
we swim in an ocean of moving molecules of air
our ears detect the air pressure changes
ears transform the vibrating air into nerve impulses
our brains decode the sound.
As you take this hearing test - think of the biology of the ear.

Can you explain what is happening?
Laws of Perceptional Organization
Gestalt Psychology: Counter to William Wundt and focuses on how we see the world.
How are we blind sometimes? How are we deaf? When have you been unaware?
Fun Homework!
Get a sleep app on your iPhone or Android if possible
Track your sleep for the rest of the week
Friday - Reflection: Are you sleep deprived and how is that affecting your performance (physical and mental)?
How do we make sense of the world?
Through our senses and how we perceive our senses

Unit #4 Sensing and Perceiving

Example of Bottom Up and Top Down working to process our reality
the point where we can detect a stimulus 1/2 of the time (light, sound, pressure, taste)
Our state of mind matters
Subliminal messaging?
Jury says yes and no. Not in the traditional 1984 sense but.....there is

The idea that for us to notice something....it has to be noticeable!
Just noticeable enough for us to change our behavior or perception.
And it is proportional. You add $100 a week of salary to a waitress, and she will notice a big difference. You add $100 to a doctor, not so much.
The smell of your room
Dream Activity: Write down a summary of a dream of your own that you are comfortable sharing. Trade dreams with another person. List on the sheet of paper each dream theory, numbered 1-5. Using all of the 5 theories of dreaming, analyze the dream of one of your classmates. In other words, how can the dream be explained from the perspective of each dream theory?
Lucid dreaming: A dream in which you consciously know you are dreaming while you are dreaming.
Have you ever learned anything from a dream or gained a sense of wisdom, healing insight, or self-discovery?

What do you think about lucid dreaming? Is it real? Have you experienced it?

Hybrid state of consciousness
Are these two different or just on a specturm?

Find your blind spot:
6-8 inches apart
On a sheet of paper...
Cocktail Party Effect: Your ability to focus among chaos
Attention is at one moment when needed - that's why cell phones are distracting!
moments when we are completely unaware - it happens all the time
Pop out phenomenon
Example of how the brain can biologically fail us: Face Blindness
As we watch - is face recognition top down or bottom up?
We don't see color but pulses of electromagnetic energy that we perceive as color.
We only see a portion of the spectrum
More rods than codes
Rods see at night (this is how we know dogs/animals see black and white - they have more rods and few cones.
Search 3D Barber shop on your phone
Put your head phones on.
Use your notes to figure out what is happening inside your head
Be ready to discuss tomorrow in class.
Take the sleep survey on schoology!
Drug Addition: Why do we get addicted to drugs?
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