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17-basic principles of sensation and perception.docx

2 Pages

Course Code
PSYC 1000
Benjamin Giguere

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BASIC PRINCIPLES OF SENSATION AND PERCEPTION  Sensation the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment  Perception the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events  In everyday experiences, sensation and perception blend into one continuous process  Our bottom-up processing starts at the sensory receptors and works up to higher levels of processing  Our top-down processing constructs perceptions from the sensory input by drawing on our experience and expectations Transduction  Conversion of one form of energy into another  All our senses: receive sensory stimulation, often using receptor cells; transform that stimulation into neural impulses; deliver the neural information to our brain  Psychophysics the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them What is the rough distinction between sensation and perception? Sensation is the bottom-up process by which the physical sensory system receives and represents stimuli. Perception is the top-down mental process of organizing and interpreting sensory input Absolute Thresholds  Absolute threshold the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time  Detecting a weak stimulus depends not only on signal’s strength but also on our psychological state- our experience, expectations, motivations, and alertness  Signal detection theory a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on a person’s experience, expectations, motivation and alertness  Stimuli you cannot detect 50% of the time are subliminal- below the absolute threshold  Under certain conditions, you can be affected by stimuli so weak that you don’t consciously notice them  An unnoticed image or word can reach your visual cortex and briefly prime your response to a later question  In a typical experiment, the image or word is quickly flashed, then replaced by a masking stimulus that interrupts the brain’s processing before conscious perception Difference threshold  To function effectively we need absolute thresholds low enough to allow us to detect important sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and smells  We also need to detect small differences among stimuli  The difference threshold is the minimum difference a person can detect between any two stimuli half the time  That difference threshold increases with the size of the stimulus  Weber’s law this law states that for an average person to perceive a diffe
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