PSYB51H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Psychophysics, Retina, Olfactory Bulb

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Published on 13 Jun 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB51H3
PSYB51 - Perception Lecture Slides
Textbook Slides
Lecture 1 - Introduction
Early Philosophy of Perception
-PlatosThe Allegory of the Cave” (380 BCE): story of prisoners in a cave who were
only able to see the wall in front of them. Their complete reality is only of the
shadows on the wall facing the prisoners of those behind the opposite wall.
oOur conception of reality is critically dependent on information gathered through
our senses
-Perception and your sense of reality are the products of evolution:
oHave evolved to encourage survival
oHave evolved to match the sorts of energy in the environment important for
survival (i.e. light, vision)
-Some animals are able to sense stimuli that humans cannot (i.e. bees can see ultraviolet
light, humans cannot)
-Plato:
oPerception depends on events and energy (that change) in the world
oOur understanding of reality is restricted to things that we can perceive
-Heraclitus (540-480 BCE):You can never step into the same river twice.
oeverything is always changing
oidea that the perceiver cannot perceive the same event in exactly the same manner
each time
experience/learning
adaptation
change
-Adaptation: a reduction in response caused by prior or continuing stimulation
-Democritus (460-370 BCE): The world is made up of atoms that collide with one another
osensations are caused by atoms leaving objects and making contact with our sense
organs
operception is the result of the physical interaction between the world and our
bodies
oidea of primary qualities and secondary qualities
primary qualities: qualities that could be directly perceived (i.e.
texture, weight) (the senses that could detect primary qualities were
the most reliable)
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secondary qualities: qualities that required interaction between atoms
of the object and atoms in the perceiver
olow-level sensation vs. high-level perception
-Sensory transducer: a receptor (found in eyes, ears, skin, noses, and tongues) that
converts physical energy (light, sound, pressure, chemical composition) from the
environment into neural activity
Nativism and Empiricism
-Nativism: the idea that the mind produces ideas that are not derived from external
sources; (Plato) the body and mind are separate entities and certain mental abilities
must be innate
-Plato: the truest sense of reality comes from peoples minds and souls
-(2000 years later) Descartes’ (1596-1650) dualist view of the world:
oBoth mind and body exist (separately)
oDescartes also believed that only humans had mind; similarities between
humans and animals could only be body structures and function
-Mind-body dualism: the idea positing the existence of two distinct principles of being in
the universe: spirit/soul and matter/body
-Monism: the idea that mind and matter are formed from, 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.
-Empiricism: the idea that experience from the senses is the only source of knowledge
-Hobbes (1588-1678) believed that everything that could ever be known or even imagined
had to be learned through the senses; only matter exists, rejected the concept of spirit;
model of human nature relied entirely on experience
oImagination is “nothing but decaying sense
-Locke (1632-1704) sought to explain how all thoughts, even complex ones, could be
constructed from experience with a collection of sensations
o“tabula rasa” = ‘blank slate’; idea that a newborns mind is like a blank slate,
on which experience writes
oAll ideas – created through experience
The Dawn of Psychophysics
-Psychophysics: the science of defining quantitative relationships between physical
and psychological events
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