Chapter5Review - Chapter 5 Chapter 5 Sensation Sensing the World Some Basic Principles To study sensation is to study an ageless question How does

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Chapter 5 Chapter 5, Sensation Sensing the World: Some Basic Principles To study sensation is to study an ageless question: How does the world out there get represented in here, inside our heads? Put another way, how are the external stimuli that strike our bodies transformed into messages that our brains comprehend? Thresholds Each species comes equipped with sensitivities that enable it to survive and thrive. We sense only a portion of the sea of energy that surrounds us, but to this portion we are exquisitely sensitive. Our absolute threshold for any stimulus is the minimum stimulation necessary for us to detect it 50 percent of the time. Signal detection researchers report that our individual absolute thresholds vary with our psychological state. Experiments reveal that we can process some information from stimuli too weak to recognize. But the restricted conditions under which this occurs would not enable unscrupulous opportunists to exploit us with subliminal messages. To survive and thrive, an organism must have difference thresholds low enough to detect minute changes in important stimuli. In humans, a difference threshold (also called a just noticeable difference, or jnd) increases in proportion to the size of the stimulus—a principle known as Weber’s law. Sensory Adaptation The phenomenon of sensory adaptation focuses our attention on informative changes in stimulation by diminishing our sensitivity to constant or routine odors, sounds, and touches. Vision
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This note was uploaded on 02/14/2010 for the course PSY 101 taught by Professor Jackson during the Spring '08 term at Michigan State University.

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Chapter5Review - Chapter 5 Chapter 5 Sensation Sensing the World Some Basic Principles To study sensation is to study an ageless question How does

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