Chapter Five Notes - Part one
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Sensation: Detection of simple properties of stimuli (brightness, colour, warmth, and
Perception: Detection of objects (both animate and inanimate), their locations, their
movements, and their backgrounds.
I.E.: Seeing the colour red = sensation
Seeing a red apple = perception
Sense organs detect stimuli provided by light, sound, odour, taste, or mechanical contact
with the environment
Transduction: process by which sense organs convert energy from environmental events
into neural activity.
In most sense: receptor cells (specialized neurons) release neurotransmitters that stimulate
other neurons, altering the rate of firing of their axons.
In somatosenses (body senses) dendrites of neurons respond directly to physical stimuli,
without intervention of specialized receptor cells.
Brain uses anatomical coding because it has no direct information about physical energy
impringing on a given sense organ
Uses it to interpret location and type of sensory stimulus according to which incoming
nerve fibres are active
Sensory coding for the body surface = anatomical
Coding of information in terms of time
Simplest form of temporal coding = rate
By firing at a faster or slower rate according to the intensity of a stimulus, an axon can
communicate quantitative information to the brain
Psychophysics (nineteenth century) Systematic study of the relation between the physical
characteristics of stimuli and the sensations they provide
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