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PSYC1000 - Module 17

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PSYC 1000
Harvey Marmurek

Course: PSYC*1000 (DE) Professor: Harvey Marmurek Schedule: Summer, 2012 Textbook: Psychology – Tenth Edition in Modules authored by David G. Myers Textbook ISBN: 9781464102615 Module 17: Basic Principles of Sensation and Perception • Heather Sellers – face blindness; perception; upside is that she won’t harbour ill feelings when seeing that person again o Underside of brain’s right hemisphere that helps us recognize a familiar face in only about 1/7 of a second What are sensation and perception? What do we mean by bottom-up processing and top-down processing? • Heather Seller’s curious mix of “perfect vision” and face blindness illustrates the distinction between sensation and perception o Sensation – looks at a friend and her sensation is normal o Perception – processes by which brain organizes and interprets sensory input (almost normal in Heather’s case) o May recognize people from their hair, walk, etc., but not their face What three steps are basic to all our sensory systems? • Every second of every day, our sensory systems perform an amazing feat: They convert one form of energy into another (vision processes light energy, hearing processes sound waves. All our senses (a) receive sensory stimulation, often using specialized receptor cells; (b) transform the stimulation into neural impulses (c) deliver the neural information to our brain • In each case, there are three steps to consider – receiving, transforming, and delivering the information to the brain 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. What are the absolute and difference thresholds, and do stimuli below the absolute threshold have any influence on us? • Absolute Thresholds (minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time) o Gustav Fechner (1801-1887), German scientist and philosopher studied awareness of faint stimuli o Signal detection theory predicts when we will detect weak signals – vary as circumstances change *why do people react differently to the same stimuli; why reactions vary as circumstances change o Subliminal – below one’s absolute threshold for conscious awareness o Prime – activating certain associations o Masking stimulus – interrupts brain’s processing before conscious perception o Dual-track mind at work: much of our information processing occurs automatically, out of sight, off the radar screen of our conscious mind. • Difference Thresholds (minimum difference between stimuli required for detection 50% of the time) o Really, it’s just a noticeable difference; hearing something out of tune; child’s voice in a crowd • Subliminal persuasion – subliminally presented stimuli can subtly influence people, experiments discount attempts at subliminal advertising and self-improvement o Anthony Greenwald experimented – commercial subliminal messages – self-esteem and memory What three factors will make it more likely that you correctly detect a text message? (1) you are expecting a text message; (2) it is important that you see the text message and (3) you are alert Using sound as your example, illustrate the distinctions among these concepts: absolute threshold, subliminal stimulation, and difference threshold. Absolute threshold is the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular sound (such as an approaching bike on the sidewalk behind us) 50% of the time. Subliminal stimulation happens when, without our awareness, our sensory system processes that sound (when it is below our absolute threshold). A difference threshold is the minimum difference for us to distinguish between two sounds. Sensory Adapt
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