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PSY100.Lecture (4).docx

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Dan Dolderman

PSY100: Perception Learning Sensation and Perception -sensation: refers to how sense organs respond to and detect external stimulus Step One: reality Step Two: sensory receptors contact reality Step Three: transduction – physical energy of the stimulus is converted to electrical energy, which is sent in pulses to the brain Step Four: thalamus – the sensory-message switchboard operator, which figures out where to sent it next Step Five: primary sensory cortex – initial processing of information occurs Hierarchical Processing -processing of visual information occurs in a series of steps, from initial coarse processing of relatively basic features (ex. line orientation, colour, movement), to more complex processing (ex. face and object recognition, 3D space) -Hubel and Wiesel (1963) examined the firing rate of single cells in the primary visual cortex, many were specialized to respond to particular features: “primitives” -specialized for horizontal lines -tracking degree of line Step Six: further processing in many other brain areas, linked to higher level cognitive and perceptual tasks: ex. the “what” and “where” pathways  where: dorsal pathway  superior ventral lobes  parietal lobes; processes spatial location  what: ventral pathway  inferior temporal lobes; specializes in object recognition Step Seven: Deciding and Acting -many other brain areas (involving memory, planning, motivation, self-control, etc.) then decide what do, and tell our motor cortex to communicate the appropriate action to muscles in the body What We Learn From Cats -raised kittens who, from birth, were only allowed to see out of one eye -afterwards, if you take the patch off the eye, the eye would still function but had become functionally disconnected from the brain -find that the brain is only responding to signals from the unpatched eye -cells in the visual cortex respond almost entirely to signals from the normal eye, so that the blocked eye is functionally disconnected from the brain -raised kitten with two functional eyes, but one eye was only exposed to vertical stripes and the other to horizontal stripes -cortical cells had become specialized for the input from only one eye, and responded to only the kind of stimuli which that cat had been exposed to -cats raised in tubes that had vertical stripes -not only did they find the same cortical specialization, they also observed the cats in normal environments (ex. could see table legs, but not table tops) -our ability to see a complex world is because we have been exposed to it all our life -in gradual, bidirectional process of brain-environment adaptation, experience teaches our brains how to perceive reality, giving us knowledge about what the world looks like -we then use this knowledge to guide how we construct perceptions What Knowledge Does the Brain Use to Guide Perception? 1. chronic habits of the mind  highly accessible pieces of information  ex. if you think about the connections between people and the environment, you’ll drive yourself slowly crazy because you’ll be constantly aware of the environmental impacts of your actions  or if you’re a big fan of Julie Andrews, and just loved the Sound of Music you’ll find it much easier to decode pieces of information about Julie Andrews 2. whatever is currently (or very recently) on your mind  the particular knowledge structures that are “activated” and can guide information processing Top-Down Processing -the brain evolved to detect patterns, and make the environment make sense -the various ‘rules’ the brain uses to construct representations of the world -NOTE: these are functional almost all the time, which is of course why our brains have automatized them so universally Top-Down Processing: Context Effects -a similar effect occurs as a result of how our brains rely on contextual cues -many illusions occur as a result of misleading contextual clues (or simply no contextual cues), which our brains rely heavily upon to make proper inferences about what they see In Sum -we’ve looked at how our brains construct a (usually) reasonable representation of reality, based on limited information -they learn to do this through an iterative process of bottom-up learning, which informs top-down processes of construal -this process of construction occurs for the most basic perceptions (ex. lines) as well as much more complex and abstract perceptions (interpersonal behaviour) Subliminal Perception: The Myth -in 1957, James Vicary flashed the words “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Hungry? Eat Popcorn” onto a movie screen in New Jersey -he claimed the sales of Coke and popcorn went up -decades later, he admitted that he lied -however, thi
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