Chapter 6 - Outline - Sensation and Perception - 10-15-07

Chapter 6 - Outline - Sensation and Perception - 10-15-07 -...

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Psychology – Chapter 6 Outline – 10/15/07 SENSATION AND PERCEPTION Sensation – The detection of physical energy emitted or reflected by physical objects Sense organs: o Eyes o Ears o Tongue o Nose o Skin o Internal body tissues Perception – The process by which the brain organizes and interprets sensory information o Our sense of vision produces a 2-D image on the back of the eye, but we perceive the world in 3-D OUR SENSATIONAL SENSES THE RIDDLE OF SEPARATE SENSATIONS Sense receptors – Specialized cells that convert physical energy in the environment or the body to electrical energy that can be transmitted as nerve impulses to the brain. The sensory nerves use neural impulses for communication Nervous system encodes messages o 1 st Kind of code – anatomical – Discoverer: Johannes Muller Muller describes the code in his Doctrine of specific nerve energies o The principle that different sensory modalities exist because signals received by the sense organs stimulate different nerve pathways leading to different areas of the brain. o 2 nd Kind of code – functional Functional codes rely on the fact that sensory receptors and neurons fire (or are inhibited from firing), only in the presence of specific sorts of stimuli. Neurological equivalent of Morse code. Synesthesia – A rare condition in which stimulation of one sense also evokes a sensation in another.
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MEASURING THE SENSES Psychophysics – Concerned with how the physical properties of stimuli are related to our psychological experience of them. ABSOLUTE THRESHOLDS Absolute threshold – Smallest quantity of physical energy that can be reliably detected by an observer o Reliable detection – when a person can detect a signal at least 50% of the time Difference threshold – The smallest difference in stimulation that can be reliably detected by an observer when two stimuli are compared ( Just noticeable difference) . SIGNAL-DETECTION THEORY Signal-detection theory – A psychophysical theory that divides the detection of a sensory signal into a sensory process and a decision process. o Sensory process – Depends on the intensity of the stimulus o Decision process – Is influenced by the observer’s response bias. SENSORY ADAPTATION When a stimulus is unchanging or repetitious, sensation often fades or disappears. Sensory adaptation – The reduction or disappearance of sensory responsiveness that occurs when stimulation is unchanging or repetitious. Sensory deprivation – The absence of normal levels of sensory stimulation SENSING WITHOUT PERCEIVING Selective attention – The focusing of attention on selected aspects of the environment and the blocking out of others.
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