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Lecture 5

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PSYC 2500
Kim O' Neil

Lecture 5 Sensation and perception - Sensation refers to the ability of detecting of sensory information • Sensory awareness: visual, auditory, etc... - Perception refers to interpretation of sensation • Perception implies organization and understanding of meaning of sensations • How the brain interprets sensation  Ex: if 2 people hear someone speaking, 1 person might hear it as normal, the other as loud - Attention refers to selective perception • Focus on certain stimuli while ignoring others Research methods - Habituation • New experience gets more attention. Once that new information has been experiences, the person’s reaction returns to being normal (not as much attention) • In a state of habituation, you have no reaction. Not an increase or decrease. • Disbahituation would get a higher reaction - High amplitude sucking method • Child rigged to a machine that measures baseline to sucking on a pacifier, and then new info introduced, and there will be an increase in sucking on the pacifier. Once it is represented, there is a return to baseline. Sensory capabilities of babies - Pain: Babies react with cries and heart rate changes to skin damage (pin prick) - Touch: Sensitivity to touch can be demonstrated in the womb • Tactile stimuli elicit a variety of reflexes in the newborn (rooting [touch cheek, the infant will open mouth], palmar reflexes) • Smells elicit facial expressions in baby • Positive: Banana, strawberry  Evolutionary: safe food will smell good • Negative: Rotten eggs, fish - Taste: Various tastes will either elicit a facial expression or change the rate of sucking (e.g. sweet tastes) • Can differentiate between salty, sour, bitter and sweet tastes - Hearing:A28 week old fetus shows reactivity to sound (eyelids clamp) • Newborn babies show changes in sucking rate to mother versus a strange female  Infants can discriminate their name by 4 ½ months • Newborns can discriminate languages  French versus Russian • Newborns are better at hearing low frequencies than high frequencies in general, but specifically better at hearing sounds within the range of the human voice Visual capacity of babies - Newborn babies can differentiate light from dark - Newborn babies are sensitive to movement (mobiles) - Visual acuity refers to the clarity of visual images • The visual acuity of a newborn is not developed. Images are “foggy” • The neural circuits that govern visual accommodation (flexing of lens) are not functional in a newborn • Peripheral vision and color vision are present, but not fully developed in newborns – by 3 to 4 months these functions are significantly improved Infants prefer visual patterns - Infants pay more attention to images that look like faces, then more complex images (such as writing), then patterns, and the colors have less attention because they cannot make out colors yet Infants scan facial features - Quiet person=
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