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LEC 5-Psychophysics

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University of Toronto St. George
Michael Inzlicht

Psychophysics -sensation is the stimulation of sense organs -preception is the selection, organization and interpretation of sensory input Thresholds -sensory receptors are tuned to a particular form of energy -auditory receptors in the ear code for sound pressure changes, not for light -sensory systems require a minimum amount of energy of activation (absolute threshold) -Just-noticeable difference (JND): the minimum difference in stimulation that is just noticeable -Weber noted that the JND is a fraction of the original stimulus intensity; the fraction is different from different sense The Visual System -the eye detects electromagnetic radiation (light) -vision is functional -allows for detection of movement (predator or prey?) -allows for detection of colour (ripe or spoiled?) -light detection is useful because -light travels rapidly (no delay, unlike hearing) -light travels in a straight line (no distortion) -light interacts with the surface of objects in the environment (reflected or absorbed) Transduction of Light -light travels through the retina to impinge on photoreceptors at the back of the eye -light bleaches a pigment contained within the photoreceptors -bleaching leads to a graded receptor potential that eventually produces an action potential in the ganglion cell -two types of photoreceptors 1. cones: found in the center of retina (fovea) and are sensitive to fine details and colour 2. rods: found in periphery of retina and are sensitive to movement but not fine detail
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