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Lecture 6

PSY1101 Lecture 6: PSY1101 - Chapter 6-8 Notes

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University of Ottawa
Eleanor Resin

Chapter 6: Sensation and Perception Basic Concepts of Sensation and Perception Sensation: receptors and nervous system receive and represent external stimuli Perception: organizing sensory information; recognize objectsevents in a meaningful way Bottomup process: starts at sensory receptors and works up to higher levels of processing Topdown process: constructs perceptions from the input by drawing on our experience and expectations Transduction o Def: conversion of stimulus energies into neural impulses our brain can interpret o All our senses receive sensory stimulation, transform that stimulation into neural impulses and deliver the neural information to our brain Thresholds o Absolute Thresholds Absolute thresholds: minimum stimulation needed to detect a stimulus 50 of the time Ex: Can see a faraway light in the dark Signal detection theory: predicts how and when we will detect a faint stimulus amid background noise; detection of a weak stimulus depends on strength of the signal and our experience, expectations, motivation, and alertness Subliminal: below the absolute threshold for conscious awareness; stimuli you cannot detect 50 of the time Priming: activating, often unconsciously, associations in our mind, setting us up to perceive, remember, or respond to objects or events in certain ways Ex: Pixie stick experiment in class; eat pixie sick every time you hear loud noise; eventually, that noise will make you salivate o Difference Thresholds Def: minimum difference a person can detect between any two stimuli half the time; increases with stimulus size Webers law: to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (not a constant amount) Ex: bags with pennies, almost equal amount, guess which is heavier Sensory adaptation: diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation o Provides freedom to focus on informative changes by reducing background chatter o We perceive the world not exactly as it is, but as it is useful for us to perceive it Perceptual set: mental tendencies and assumptions that affect (topdown) what we sense o Through experience we form concepts (or schemas) that organize and interpret unfamiliar information; preexisting schemas influence topdown processing to interpret ambiguous sensation Context Effects o A given stimulus may trigger different perceptions because of our differing perceptual sets and the immediate context.
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