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Chp. 6 textbook notes

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Steve Joordens

PSY – Chap 6 Notes: Perception Brain Mechanisms of Visual Perception • Perception is a rapid, automatic, unconscious process. We recognize the information provided by our sense organs. • Module: block of cortical tissue that receives info from the same group of receptor cells; contains ~150,000 neurons. Primary visual cortex contains about 2500 of these modules • Visual perception is a hierarchy: neurons analyze certain aspects of information and send the results to other neurons • The surface of the retina is “mapped” on the surface of the primary visual cortex. • Receptive field: neural circuits analyzed various characteristics of their own particular part of the visual field. Ex. some circuits signal the colour of a line, some signal the width, or orientation etc. • Visual info analyzed by the primary visual cortex is further analyzed in the visual association cortex • Visual association cortex has 2 pathways: o Ventral stream: flow of info ends in the lower temporal lobe. Used to form the perception of an object’s shape, colour and orientation (the “what” system) o Dorsal stream: flow of into ends in the parietal lobe. Used to form the perception of an object’s 3-D location in space and if it is moving (the “where” system) • Visual agnosia: caused by damage to the visual association cortex- the inability to recognize the identity of an object o Prosopagnosia: difficulty in recognizing people’s faces • Specific regions of the brain: o Fusiform face area (FFA): contains face recognizing circuits. Also, when car experts viewed cars, the FFA was activated o Extrastriate body area (EBA): responds to forms resembling the human body. o Parahippocampal place area (PPA): activated by visual scenes. Looking at a picture and being able to identify it as a Beach • Cerebral achromatopsia: the inability to discriminate among different hues, caused by damage to the visual association cortex. • Neurons in the dorsal stream are involved in visual attention and control of eye movements; the visual control of reaching and pointing; visual control of grasping and hand movements; perception of depth • The function of the dorsal stream is not just “where” but also “how”: how to perform the action • Without the ability to perceive the velocity of objects, we could not predict where they will be. • Akinetopsia: the inability to see motion • Form-from-motion experiment: men and women were fitted with light on their bodies and performed movements in a dark room. People who watched the lights were able to identify what the movements were, and even the sex of the individual performing them. Visual Perception of Objects • Gestalt psychology: a branch of psychology that asserts that the perception of objects is produced by particular configurations/arrangements of the elements. o The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Its not just the constituents (of the visual scene), its the relationship between them. • Gestalt laws of perceptual organization: o Law of proximity: elements located closest to each other are perceived as belonging to the same figure. o Law of similarity: similar
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