Chapter6NarrativeSummary - Chapter 6 Summary CHAPTER...

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Chapter 6 Summary CHAPTER 6 (SUMMARY): PERCEPTION Overview Perception involves the selection, organization, and interpretation of sensory information. It quickly became one of psychology’s primary concerns as early researchers attempted to explain illusions. In organizing sensory data into whole perceptions, our first task is to discriminate figure from ground. We then organize the figure into meaningful form by following certain rules for grouping stimuli. We transform two-dimensional retinal images into three-dimensional perceptions by using binocular cues, such as retinal disparity, and monocular cues, such as the relative sizes of objects. Our brain computes motion as objects move across the retina. A quick succession of images can also create an illusion of movement. The perceptual constancies enable us to perceive objects as enduring in shape, size, and lightness, regardless of viewing angle, distance, and illumination. The constancies explain several well-known illusions. Studies of sensory deprivation reveal that, for many species, infancy is a critical period during which experience must activate the brain’s innate visual mechanisms. For example, when cataracts are removed from adults who have been blind from birth, they can distinguish figure and ground and they can perceive color, but they are unable to distinguish shapes and forms. At the same time, human vision is remarkably adaptable. Given glasses that turn the world upside down, people manage to adapt and move about with ease. Clear evidence that perception is influenced by our experience comes from the many demonstrations of perceptual set and context effects. Because perceptions vary, they may not be what the designer of a machine assumes. Human factors psychologists study how people perceive and use machines and how machines and physical environments can be better suited to that use. Although parapsychologists have tried to document ESP, most research psychologists remain skeptical, particularly because the results of experiments have not been reproducible. How the process of perception is directed and limited by selective attention. Selective attention means that at any moment, awareness focuses on only a limited aspect of all that we are capable of experiencing. For example, even if a stimulus figure can evoke more than one perception, we consciously experience only one at a time. The cocktail party effect provides another example of selective attention. The ability to attend to one voice among many enables us to converse coherently in the midst of auditory chaos. Selective attention also limits our perception, as many stimuli will pass by unnoticed. This lack of awareness is evident in studies of change blindness.
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