Psychology Chapter 6.docx - Psychology Chapter 6 Basic...

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Psychology Chapter 6: Basic Principles of Sensation and Perception o Prosopagnosia-face blindness o Nature’s sensory gifts enable each animal to obtain essential information o Sensation: the process by which our sensory receptors & nervous system receive & represent stimulus energies from our environment o Perception: the process of organizing & interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects & events o Bottom-up processing: analysis that starts at the sensory receptors & works up to higher levels of processing o Top-Down processing: constructs perceptions from the sensory input by drawing from our experience & expectations o Transduction: Vision process light energy and hearing processes sound waves All our senses receive sensory stimulation, often using specialized receptor cells All our senses transform that stimulation into neural impulses And deliver the neural information to our brain Transduction: the process of converting one form of energy into another that your brain can use; in sensation the transforming of stimulus energies, such as sights, sounds, smells, into neural impulses our brain can interpret o Thresholds: Absolute Thresholds: the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time; German scientist & philosopher Gustav Fechner To test your abs threshold for sounds, specialist would expose each of your ears to varying sound levels Signal Detection Theory: predicts when we will detect weak signals; a theory predicting how & when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise); assumes there is no single absolute threshold & that detection depends partly on a person’s experience, expectations, motivation, & alertness Seek to understand why people respond differently to the same stimuli & why the same person’s reactions vary as circumstances change Subliminal: the stimuli you can’t detect 50% of the time; below one’s absolute threshold for conscious awareness Priming: the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one’s perception, memory, or response Much of our information processing occurs automatically, out of sight, off the radar screen of our conscious mind We need absolute thresholds low enough to allow us to detect important sights, sounds, textures, tastes, & smells Difference Threshold: the minimum difference a person can detect between any 2 stimuli half the time; we experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference (or jnd) Weber’s Law: the principle that, to be perceived as a different, 2 stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount) o Sensory Adaptation Sensory Adaptation: when we are constantly exposed to a stimulus that doesn’t change, we become less aware of it because our nerve cells fire less frequently; diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation
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