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Hank Davis (14)
Chapter 4

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PSYC 3100
Hank Davis

Chapter Four  Senses are products of evolution  Purpose of seeing is knowing/knowledge  Purpose of perception is not only knowledge but to guide action  Evolutionary psychologist perception is for moving around in space not for judging distances  Trail Marker: perceptual abilities evolved to guide actions that lead to fitness.  Avoid bumping into things- use the rate of expansion of visual image (image projects onto retina grows larger at rapidly increasing rate as we near even when speed constant.  When about to collide the image explodes on retina causes stop short of object The Economics of Organs  Natural selection requires ever organ in body to pay own way by increasing our fitness Building and Maintaining Organs is Metabolically Expensive  Every organ of body costs valuable energy to build and maintain- energy otherwise spent growing bigger, finding mate, tending offspring, escaping predator  Senses magnificent examples biological engineering thus must provide correspondingly valuable increases in ability to reproduce.  More than half brain devoted to processing sensory info  Perception cant just to gain knowledge has to help us behave increase fitness  Trail Marker: organs must provide fitness benefits to justify their costs  Principle organs costly requires sense organs have control of action as priority What are the Senses For? What We Are Good At  Walking without falling, recognizing faces, deciding what good to eat, chewing/swallowing food without biting tongue/choking, extracting messages from complex strings of vocals, finding way home  What we are good at is really important  Take perceptual abilities for granted until have trouble doing one of them  Cant design vision on computer Perception is a Mirror of the World  Perception is veridical (leads us to behave appropriately in world)  Veridical means truthful or not illusory  Organism eyes led mistake rock for hallow cave disadvantage escape predator  Rare occasions eyes fool us (perceptual illusions)  Trail Marker: perception is a mirror of the world  Bumps lighter on top (reverse for dents) regularity natural world that light comes from above when light comes from bottom is form of deception Depth Perception as a Mirror of the World  Depth of perception: see in 3D when info on retina only 2D  Perceive depth monocularly (with one eye) excellent  Monocular cues of depth based on regularity of physical world that brain uses to tell depth (shading, linear perspective: parallel lines converge to point on horizon)  Disconnect between ability see depth and draw on paper illustrates perception is for action not knowledge Sensory Ecology  All senses adapt to take advantage of physical energy in environment  Physical energies use find food and avoid predators considerations of sources energy available major senses helps understand what designed do  Vision light small part electromagnetic spectrum and because electromagnetic energy travels fast in straight line provides info about geometric properties of objects (permits us to see shapes). Air allows light pass without scattering can carry info great distances farther than sound (vision is one of distance senses)  Abundance of light (sun)  Reasons why eyes didn’t evolve to sense other portions electromagnetic spectrum: sun provides plenty energy in visible range. Wavelengths shorter than visible light (UV
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