Psychology_ch5 - Chapter 5 Sensation and Perception...

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Chapter 5 – Sensation and Perception Sensation –process of receiving, converting, and transmitting info. from outside world->brain Perception – the process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting raw sensory data into useful mental representations of the world. Bottom-up processing – analysis that begins with sensory receptors and works up to the brains’ integration of sensory information Top-down processing – information processing guided by higher-level mental process Constructing perceptions from experience and expectations. Psychophysics – study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them. Absolute thresholds – minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time (ex: faintest smell you can detect) Sensitivity to light, sound, pressure, other stimuli varies with diff. people and location Sensory Thresholds – ideal conditions (ex: smelling 1 drop of perfume diffused thru a 6-room apartment) The absolute threshold for each of our senses is remarkably low. Taste Smell Touch Hearing Vision These figures apply only under ideal circumstances – in extremely quiet or dark or taste-free or smell-free environments. In reality, absolute thresholds vary depending on the level and nature of ongoing sensory stimulation. Sensory adaptation – adjustment of senses to level of stimulation they’re receiving Really loud -> hearing less acute Really soft -> hearing more acute With each of our senses, what we notice most is change – change from stimulation to stimulation, or change from less stimulation to more (and vice versa). Difference threshold – AKA just noticeable difference – smallest change in stimulation that can be detected 50% of time Varies according to strength/intensity of original stimulus Difference thresholds tell us something about the flexibility of sensory systems. For example, adding 1 pound to a 10-pound load would be very noticeable. But adding 1 pound to a 100-pound load would probably not be noticed. The difference threshold varies according to the strength or intensity of the 1
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original stimulus. In other words, the greater the existing stimulus, the greater the change necessary to produce a just noticeable difference. Can feel 1 lb being put on 10 lb weight Can’t feel 1 lb being put on 100 lb weight Selective attention – Focus resources on what’s important. the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus Cocktail party effect – everybody’s talking, but you only pay attention to whoever you’re talking to Even then, your brain is processing info w/o your conscious awareness (other people talking, but you’re not paying that much attention to it) If someone across the room says your name, you’ll be aware of it Vision Transduction – transforming light waves into neural impulses our brain can interpret. Conversion of one form of energy into another.
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