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3. Sensation

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PSYC 1101

Sensation Sensation The process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energy Perception The process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events Bottom-up processing (sounds like structuralism) Analysis that begins with the sense receptors and works up to the brain’s integration of sensory information Top-down processing (sounds like functionalism) Information processing guided by higher-level mental processes As when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations Psychophysics Study of the relationship between physical characteristics of stimuli and our psychological experience of them Light- brightness Sound- volume Pressure- weight Taste- sweetness Thresholds Absolute threshold Minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time Difference Threshold Minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50% of the time Just noticeable difference (JND) Signal detection theory Predicts how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise) Assumes that there is no single absolute threshold Detection depends partly on person’s; Experience Expectations Motivation Level of fatigue Subliminal When stimuli are below one’s absolute threshold for conscious awareness Weber’s Law To be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount) Light intensity- 8% Weight 2% Tone frequency- 0.3% Sensory adaptation Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation Needing to listen to music in order to focus on reading Noticing shadows falling across a page of a book, certain light isn’t good to read in, attention disorder Selective attention Focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus As in the cocktail party effect Filtering speakers, but also being able to selectively attend to someone who mentions your name from across the room Losing yourself on a page Vision Waves Transduction Conversion of one form of energy to another In sensation, transforming of stimulus energies into neural impulses Wavelength The distance from the peak of one wave to the peak of the next Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet Hue Dimension of color determined by wavelength of light Intensity Amount of energy in a wave determined by amplitude Brightness Loudness Physical properties of waves Short wavelength = high f
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