PSYB51 Textbook Notes.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Matthias Niemeier

CHAPTER 1IntroductionHeraclitusyou can never step into the same river twice Everything is always changing Perception does not depend only on energy and events that change in the world Perception also depends on the qualities of the perceiver AdaptationA reduction in response caused by prior or continuing stimulation Democritusbelieved that sensations are caused by atoms leaving objects and making contact with our sense organs Taste and olfaction our sense of smell come closest to Democrituss theory In those chemical sense we detect molecules not isolated atoms binding to receptors on the tongue or deep inside the nose Democritus primary qualities directly perceived ie weight and texture secondary qualities require interaction between atoms from objects and atoms in the perceiverSensation how information from the world is picked up by sense organs and detected by the owners of those organs Sensory transducers eyes ears skin nose tongue a receptor that converts physical energy from the environment into neural activity Perception deals with interpretation of signals Is more likely to depend more on experience than sensory reception does NativismEmpiricismPlato emphasized the limitations on what our senses can tell us about realitytruest sense of reality comes from deep within peoples minds and souls Believed that the body and the mind are separate entities and that certain mental abilities must be innatethis is known as nativism Rene Descarteshad a dualist view of the mind Mind is does not take up space and has no substance It is distinct and survives death from the body I think therefore I amDualism the idea that both mind and body exist Paul Bloom children come into the world ready to hold the dualist belief that humans have both material bodies and immaterial minds Monism The idea that mind and matter are formed form or reducible to a single ultimate substance or principle of being Materialism The idea that physical matter is the only reality and everything including the mind can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena Materialism is a type of monism Mentalism The idea that the mind is the true reality and objects exist only as aspects of the minds awareness Mentalism is another type of monism Mindbody dualism Originated by Rene Descartes the idea positing the existence of two distinct principles of being in the universe spirit soul and matter body Problem with mindbody dualism how does that mind having no substance and occupying no space have any effect on the physical bodyEmpiricism The idea that experience from the senses is the only source of knowledgeThomas Hobbesprovided a mechanical model of humans and of society more broadly In Hobbes universe of matter alone he argued that all knowledge must arise from the senses Rejected the nativist ideas of Plato and Descartes Hobbes wrote that imagination is nothing but decaying senseJohn Locke Tabula rasabelieved that our rich experiences of the world around us and our subsequent ideas all begin when the simple stimulation of our sense organs is conveyed to the mind These first sensory impressions were called simple ideas and they may be thought of as primary qualities The combination of simple qualities comes only through experience Locke and Molyneux agreed that people who were born without sight but later gained the ability to see would not be able to recognize objects that they had previously only touched or heard because they had never seen the world with their eyes Project Prakashdemonstrates that children can achieve visual proficiency on many tasks despite several years of blindness Treatment during childhood does not appear to be accompanied by emotional disturbances George Berkelyobservers must use several visual cues to perceive distance Berkeley concluded that we learn how to perceive distance by experiencing many objects and scenes in the world David humereliability and validity Believed that we perceive the world as real because our senses are highly reliable even if limitations on perception do not permit our perception to be completely valid Reliability refers to the consistency of measurements Validity refers to the relationship of the measurement to what is measured Gustav Fechner Proposed that the mind or consciousness was present in all of nature This panpsychismthe idea that mind exists as a property of all matter extended not only to animals but to inanimate things as well Called both his methods and his theory psychophysicsthe science of defining quantitative relationships between physical and psychological subjective events Ernst Webertested the accuracy of our sense of touch using a device much like the compass we use for geometry Fechnertwopoint touch threshold the minimum distance at which two stimuli eg two simultaneous touches are just perceptible as separate Judgement of lifted weights when the standard was relatively light people were much better at detecting a small difference when they lifted the comparison weight Called the difference required for detecting a change in weight the JND Just Noticeable Difference Weber noticed that the JNDs changed in a systematic way the smallest change in weight that could be detected was always close to onefortieth of the standard weight Weber fraction The constant of proportionality in Webers law Webers law The principle that the JND is a constant fraction of the comparison stimulus Fechner also gave Webers observation a mathematical formula the size of the detectable difference delta I is a constant proportion K of the level of the stimulus I In Webers findings Fechner found a way to describe the relationship between mind and matter Assumed that the smallest detectable change in a stimulus delta I could be considered a unit of the mind because this is the smallest bit of change that is perceived Fechners law Sk log RSpsychological sensation which is equal to the logarithm of the physical stimulus level R multiplied by a constant k Equation describes the fact that our psychological experience of the intensity of light sound smell taste or touch increases less quickly than the actual physical stimulus increases Absolute Threshold The minimum amount of stimulation necessary for a person to detect a stimulus 50 of the time Psychophysical MethodsMethod of Constant Stimuli A psychophysical method in which many stimuli ranging from rarely to almost always perceivable are presented one at a time Participants respond to each presentation yesno same different and so on
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