Sensation and Perception

Sensation and Perception - Psychology Notes Chapters 5,6,8...

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Psychology Notes Chapters 5,6,8 Sensation and Perception Sensing the World: Some Basic Principles Sensation-receiving and representing stimulus energies from our environment-involves bottom-up processing. Perception- the process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting sensory information- involves top-down processing. Psychophysics is the study of how sensations are perceived. 1. What is absolute threshold, and are we influenced by stimuli below it? a. We sense only a portion of the sea of energy that surrounds us. Our absolute threshold for any stimulus is the minimum stimulation necessary for us to be consciously aware of 50% of the time. We can process some information from stimuli too weak to recognize, but the effect is too restricted to enable unscrupulous opportunists to exploit us with subliminal messages. 2. How does the magnitude of stimulus influence our threshold for detecting differences? a. The difference threshold (also called just noticeable difference or JND) is the barely noticeable difference we discern between two stimuli 50% of the time. In humans, a difference threshold increases in proportion to the stimulus-a principle known as Weber’s Law. 3. What function does sensory adaptation serve? a. Sensory adaptation, our diminished sensitivity to constant or routine odors, sounds, and touches, helps to focus our attention on informative changes in stimulation, rather than on unchanging aspects of the environment. Vision 4. What are the characteristics of the energy that we see as visible light? a. Each sense receives stimulation, transforms it into neural signals, and sends these neural messages to the brain. In vision, we convert light energy into these neural impulses. The energies we experience as visible light are a thin slice from the broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. The hue (blue, green, and so on) and brightness we perceive in a light depend on the wavelength and intensity. 5. How does the eye transform light energy into neural messages? a. After entering the eye and being focused by a camera like lens (through the process of accommodation), light waves strike the retina, the inner surface of the eye. The retina’s light- sensitive rods and color-sensitive cones convert the light energy into neural impules, which travel along the optic nerve to the brain. The point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye is the blind spot. 6.
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This note was uploaded on 11/03/2009 for the course PSYC 107 taught by Professor Hull during the Spring '07 term at Texas A&M.

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Sensation and Perception - Psychology Notes Chapters 5,6,8...

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