Sensation - Chapter 4 Sensation 1 Introduction To survive...

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2/2/2009 1 1 Chapter 4: Sensation Introduction To survive we must know the world around us because most objects in the world are charged with meaning. So “Where does knowledge come from?” The simple answer is through our senses . 2 3 The Origins of Knowledge
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2/2/2009 2 The Origins of Knowledge Empiricisms (experience) says that we collect information from our senses and transform that experience into knowledge. John Locke (1632-1704) www.artunframed.com John Locke says that human mind is like a blank tablet ( tabula rasa ) on which experience writes. Empiricists argued that all knowledge comes through stimuli that excite the senses. 4 Stimuli To get information, energy from objects or events ( distal stimuli ) impinges on the sensory surface generating proximal stimuli. http://www.stlukeseye.com Distal Stimulus Proximal Stimulus 5 Empiricism However, there are problems with empiricism, e.g., how do we perceive qualities like, depth , size, and shape, not directly given in the proximal stimulus? The empiricists answer by asserting that much of perception is built up through learning by association . How is the hand closer than the car, for they cast an image on the retina that is similar in size. 6
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2/2/2009 3 Empiricism Empiricists argue that our perception of depth , size, and shape etc., are embedded in the proximal stimulus, as cues. And the use of these cues are based on learning (association). Henderson State University: Garrison Hall Size of the pillars gets smaller as it recedes in the picture and gives us the sense of depth. We learn to associate seeing the pillars get shorter as we move in the corridor and thus perceive depth by associating seeing with our previous learning. 7 Nativism Philosophers like Kant pointed out that humans do not perceive sensory information by simple association only, but use innate mental categories to perceive incoming stimuli. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) http://www.markrietmeijer.nl 8 Categories 1. We perceive an object as a whole and not as bits of experience as the associationists claimed. The apple is a single object (category: unity) and not bits of texture, color, and brightness etc. 2. Likewise, perception of depth is also a unitary experience, not bits of objects perceived, that differ in size. 3. Kant suggested that perception was based on categories like these which were inborn (innate). 9
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2/2/2009 4 10 Psychophysics Psychophysics The dispute between empiricists and nativists was a debate among philosophers… The charting of relationship between physical stimuli and psychological experiences began with the field of psychophysics founded by Gustav Fechner. Psychophysics asks questions like, what changes in our perception of a sound as the frequency of the sound waves change? 11
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This note was uploaded on 03/09/2010 for the course PSY 1073 taught by Professor Ahmad during the Spring '08 term at Henderson.

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Sensation - Chapter 4 Sensation 1 Introduction To survive...

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