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Lecture 1

PSYB51H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Experimental Psychology, Panpsychism, Monism

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Matthias Niemeier

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- Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
o we are like prisoners, born, chained to a wall; and all we’ll see is mere
shadows of objects projected by fires at the back of the cave
oour perception is extremely limited
oour conception of reality is dependent on info gathered through our
senses—important & true
obelieved our understanding of reality restricted to things that we can
- perception and your sense of reality are the products of evolution
venus fly trap
senses vibrations of fly & elicits a response
oimportance of type of energy in the envir. determines which senses
have developed
ie. We might not sense the entire reality, but we prob don’t
need to worry too much
- Heraclitus
oPanta rhei everything flows
oIdea that perceiver cant perceive the same event in exactly the same
manner each time— EVERYTHING CHANGES!!
Adaptation A reduction in response caused by prior or
continuing stimulation
Changedifference in time, things next to each other..
- Democritus
oThe world is made up of atoms that collide w one another
Sensations are caused by atoms leaving objects and making
contact w our sense organs
Perception is the result of the physical interaction btwn the
world and our bodies
- Sensory transducer
oA receptor that converts physical energy from the enivornment into
neural activity
oThe idea that the mind produces ideas that are not derived from
external sources
oWere born with these ideas
- Plato
otruest sense of reality comes from people’s minds and souls
2000 yrs later…
-Descartes’ dualist view of the world
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oBoth the mind and the body exist
oMond-body dualism existing of 2 distinct principles of being in the
universe: spirit/soul and matter/body
oThe idea that the mind and matter are formed from, or reducible to, a
single ultimate substance or principle of being
Eg. idealism
The idea that physical matter (ie atoms) is the only reality, and
everything including the mind can be explained in terms of
matter and physical phenomena. Materialism is a type of
oThe idea that experience from the senses is the only source of
your mind comes from this
Believed that everything that could ever be known or even
imagined had to be learned through the senses
Sought to explain how all thoughts, even complex ones, could
be constructed from experience with a collection of sensations
oInvented “psychophysics,” thought to be the true founder of
experimental psychology
oPioneering work relating changes in the physical world to changes in
our psychological experiences
oFounder of experimental psych
oThe idea that all matter has consciousness (Fechner)
Matter has weight…
- Psychophysics
oThe science of defining quantitative relationships between physical
and psychological (subjective) events
oWas interested in the smallest difference/change in a stimulus that
can be detected.
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oThe smallest detectable difference between two stimuli, or the
minimum change in a stimulus that can be correctly judged as
different from a reference stimulus. Also known as difference
Example: two-point threshold
-– The minimum distance at which two stimuli (e.g., two simultaneous
touches) can be distinguished
oDiscovered that the JND is a constant proportion of the stimulus level
—“Weber’s Law”
oA principle describing the r/s between stimulus magnitude and
resulting sensation magnitude such that the magnitude of subjective
sensation increases proportionally to the logarithm of the stimulus
-Absolute threshold
oMinimum amount of stimulation necessary for a person to detect a
stimulus 50% of the time
-**Neurons fire in an all or none fashion for each spike, and the number of
spikes per second indicates how excited the neuron is
-**Each action potential starts near the cell body of a neuron and propagates
down the axon towards the axon terminal
ohodkin-huxley cycle: electrochemical process involving Na+ and K+
ions moving in and out of the neuron
-Hodgkin-Huxley cycle: electrochemical process involving Na+ and K+ ions
moving in and out of the neuron
-Hodgkin-Huxley cycle: electrochemical process involving Na+ and K+ ions
moving in and out of the neuron
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