When we smell a fragrant flower

When we smell a fragrant flower - psychology

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When we smell a fragrant flower, are we experiencing a sensation or a perception? In everyday language, the terms "sensation" and "perception' are often used interchangeably. However, as you will soon see, they are very distinct, yet complementary processes. In this section, we will discuss some concepts central to the study of sensation and perception and then move on to discuss vision and the perception of pain (it is not possible in the scope of these notes to discuss all the senses). I. Sensations and Perceptions Sensations can be defined as the passive process of bringing information from the outside world into the body and to the brain. The process is passive in the sense that we do not have to be consciously engaging in a "sensing" process. Perception can be defined as the active process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting the information brought to the brain by the senses. A) HOW THEY WORK TOGETHER: 1) Sensation occurs: a) sensory organs absorb energy from a physical stimulus in the environment. b) sensory receptors convert this energy into neural impulses and send them to the brain. 2) Perception follows: a) the brain organizes the information and translates it into something meaningful. B) But what does "meaningful" mean? How do we know what information is important and should be focused on? 1) Selective Attention - process of discriminating between what is important & is irrelevant (Seems redundant: selective-attention?), and is influenced by motivation. For example - students in class should focus on what the teachers are saying and the overheads being presented. Students walking by the classroom may focus on people in the room, who is the teacher, etc., and not the same thing the students in the class. 2) Perceptual Expectancy - how we perceive the world is a function of our past experiences, culture, and biological makeup. For example, as an American, when I look at a highway, I expect to see cars, trucks, etc, NOT airplanes. But someone from a different country with different experiences and history may not have any idea what to expect and thus be surprised when they see cars go driving by. Another example - you may look at a painting and not really understand the message the artist is trying to convey. But, if someone tells you about it, you might begin to see things in the painting that you were unable to see before.
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ALL OF THIS IS CALLED Psychophysics C) Psychophysics can be defined as, the study of how physical stimuli are translated
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2010 for the course PSYCH 439343 taught by Professor Landon during the Spring '09 term at Aarhus Universitet.

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When we smell a fragrant flower - psychology

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