Sens and Perc Paper

Sens and Perc Paper - Interaction between Different Sensory...

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Interaction between Different Sensory Modalities Oliver Barry Professor Rideout 12/6/07
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The study of sensation and perception involves gaining a better understanding of how different sensory modalities function and how our brain deciphers that information. And an important area that isn’t covered particularly extensively is how one sensory modality affects another. Do auditory stimuli affect the functioning of the visual perception system? What is the result, if there is one, of interaction between the visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory senses? The most prominent sense utilized by human beings is their sense of sight. While the consequences of losing any of the senses can often be severe, none possess the multitude of limitations that go along with blindness. Blind individuals are unable to operate automobiles, and have much greater difficulty safely traveling by foot. The utilization of a seeing-eye dog, a dog specially trained to assist the blind in safely traveling by foot, is common. The blind are unable to attain any form of employment that would require sight. Their lifestyle must center around, or at least accommodate their disability. People with the use of their sense of sight utilize it, at least consciously, for the vast majority of their daily activities. One thing that is indisputable is that visual and/or auditory impairments do affect people’s quality of life. It is possible to adjust your lifestyle to such sensory failings to accommodate. While in some cases functioning may approach that of someone with normal sensory modalities it is often only a semblance of normal functioning. (Chia et al., 2007) Because of how important the visual system is to everyday functioning it is important to understand how the functioning of our systems for sensation and perception of visual stimuli are impacted by other senses. One study on the subject focused on the Inattentional Blindness (IB)
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phenomenon. This is how people can fail to consciously perceive visual events that are outside their focus. (Sinnett, Soto-Faraco, & Costa, 2006) For example, someone studying a sign in the distance might completely miss a friend walking by right in front of them. There are no biological or cognitive abnormalities in their visual system. This is merely a byproduct of our ability to focus our eyes on a particular object or area. But what would the result be when our attention is split across the visual and the auditory system? Would it show a higher tendency for inattentive blindness than within the same modality, or a lower one? This study examines inattentive blindness for words across the visual and auditory sensory modalities. The goal of the study is to determine whether dividing attention between different senses has the same effect as diving it between senses. Subjects were told to follow a series of images presented concurrently with random words sometimes shown on the screen, other times as spoken. The
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This note was uploaded on 04/27/2008 for the course PSYC 320 taught by Professor Rideout during the Spring '08 term at Ursinus.

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Sens and Perc Paper - Interaction between Different Sensory...

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