Psychology Lecture Three
Consciousness and Attention: Modules 7, 17, 18
Cognitive Neuroscience: Aims to understand neural basis of the mind
-Using imaging machines, vegetative patients have been seen to produce brain activity similar to a
normal patient when asked certain questions involving motor imagery (imagining doing certain
Unconscious parallel processing is faster then sequential conscious processing.
Sequential Conscious processing is better at solving new problems.
Blind sight: Loss of conscious vision following damage to the visual cortex. Sometimes, these
people are able to sense objects in their path.
Selective Attention: Focussing of conscious awareness on specific aspect of stimuli
Divided attention: Multitasking.
Inattentional blindness: Consequence of selectively attending to one thing can cause blindness to
other things. If someone is focussed intently on a task, they may not notice things unrelated to
their task around them.
Change blindness: Failing to notice changes in environment
Pop-out phenomenon: Such powerful stimuli, it demands attention.
Sensation and Perception
Sensation: Sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus
Perception: Organization and interpreting sensory information which allows us to recognize
Bottom up processing: Begins with senses and goes up to the interpretation of it
Top down processing: Begins with information processing through mental processes which draws
on our experiences.
Subliminal: stimulus so weak or brief that, although received by senses, cannot be perceived
Do subliminal messages affect attitudes or behaviour?
Difference Threshold: For an average person to notice a difference, the two stimuli must differ by a
Visual Information Processing:
-Face perception occurs separately from object perception
Parallel Processing : Brain divides scene into sub dimensions (colour, motion, form, depth) and
works on each aspect simultaneously.
Perceptions are then constructed by integrating the separate but parallel work
Colour Sight: Retina has three types of colour receptors which are sensitive to red, green and blue.
These receptors can mix to create other colours.
Those that are colour blind will only have one or two working colour receptors meaning they
cannot see certain colours. Perceptual Constancy: Perceiving objects as unchanging even as illumination and retinal images
Color Constancy: Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent colour even if changing
illumination alters wavelengths. Colour is seen relative to the objects surrounding it. Brightness
determined by the amount of light an object reflects relative to its surroundings.
Comparisons govern our perceptions.
Form perception, depth perception, motion perception and perceptual constancies illuminate how
we organize visual experiences.
Critical period for sensory and perceptual development in humans and animals.
BBC: Is Seeing Believing? Documentary Questions
1. Magic :
What do people perceive in the vanishing ball illusion?
-They see the ball leave the hand and disappear
o Do the eyes follow the trajectory of the vanishing ball?
-Using eye tracking equipment, they do not follow the trajectory