3 - Introduction to the Study of Psychology PSYC1001 -...

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Introduction to the Study of Psychology PSYC1001 - Section F
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In today’s class… Chapter 5 How do we detect and process information from our environment? How are environmental stimuli received and turned into neural patterns?
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From the text… What are Sensation & Perception, how do they differ, and how do they work together? What is the nature of the sensory processes? How do we detect and interpret the world around us? How do each of the five senses work? How do they translate environmental stimuli into neural impulses?
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In order to survive, organisms need to “know” the world around them. The primary function of our sense organs is to provide information that can guide behaviour. The way this information is transmitted and processed, influences the way we perceive, interpret, and think about, the world around us.
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Sensation – the detection of simple properties of stimuli (without making “sense” of them – i.e. no perception or interpretation) Distal Stimulus – the stimulus in the environment (I am a distal stimulus to you). Proximal Stimulus – the stimulus as it is stimulating our sense receptors (the “image” of me that is being projected onto the back of your retina, and the sound waves that are vibrating your auditory hair cells are the proximal stimuli).
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Perception – the detection of more complex properties of stimuli (i.e. it’s meaning) – this involves learning. Perception is a rapid, automatic, unconscious process where we recognize what is represented by the information provided by our sense organs.
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Perception Involves Processing Bottom-up Processing – examining each of the components of the environmental stimulus first, and then synthesizing the whole. Top-down Processing – using our existing cognitive structures (memories, thoughts) to influence our processing of the environmental stimulus. The memories & thoughts help to influence the processing of the stimuli - helping to fill in the blank information, or helping to quickly organize the existing stimuli
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Transduction Transduction – the conversion of one form of energy into another form of energy. In the nervous system, transduction occurs when environmental energy is transformed into electrical energy. Sense organs convert energy from environmental events into neural activity.
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Coding Receptor Cells – specialized neurons that receive the incoming environmental stimulus and turn this into an action potential (which is then carried toward the Central Nervous System). Anatomical Coding – different types of environmental energy are coded by different neurons. The brain interprets the location and type of sensory stimulus according to which incoming nerve fibers are active.
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Temporal Coding – another way that the nervous system represents information. Some features are coded by the
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This note was uploaded on 11/01/2009 for the course MATH 1009 taught by Professor Dontknow during the Spring '08 term at Carleton CA.

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3 - Introduction to the Study of Psychology PSYC1001 -...

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