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PSYB51H3 (301)
Chapter 1

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Matthias Niemeier

Sensation and perception. Chapter 1. Philosophy of perception -Plato’s allegory of the cave: our senses = prisoners and the shadow. We are prisoners of our senses, yet that’s all we have to shape our sense of reality. : Perception and senses are the products of evolution, it encourage survival, senses evolved to match the environment, hence we don’t need to hear like bat, bee, mice… etc. -Heraclitus: everything is constantly changing. “You can never step into the same river twice”. No two experiences can ever be identical. Perception depends on the environment and the perceiver. Perceptual systems are acutely sensitive to change. Adaptation: senses adapt to constant stimulation. Steady/predictable conditions are less salient than changing ones in the environment. -Democritus: sensation are atoms leaving and making contact with our sense organs. Primary senses are texture and weight, because they are direct contact. Secondary: atoms interacting from object to observer, such as sight, sound… etc. This involves sensory transduction. sensory transducer: any substance/structure that change energy from one form to another. It transform information from the environment to neural signal. Perception is the interpretation of these signals. Likely depends more on experience than sensation does. Nativism & Empiricism Nativism: (Plato)—true sense is from the mind and soul. Mental abilities must be innate. Dualism (Descartes): immaterial mind is the source of true ideas, can’t trust the senses. *Problem: how can immaterial mind control the body? Monism: 1 substance made up the whole universe. Materialism vs mentalism (100% mind/soul). Empiricism: (Hobbes): completely matter, you must relies on experience. -Locke: Tabula rosa. Experience begin with stimulation of senses, conveyed to the mind. Complex thoughts could be constructed from experience with a collection of sensations. -Molyneux: restore sight in blind, some still can’t see normally. Thought kids do recover some degree of vision. -Berkeley: we rely on several visual cues to perceive distance, depth. Experience with the world is most important, all our knowledge are from experience, although perception is limited. -Hume: realibility—consistency of measurement. Validity—relationship of the measurement to what is being measured. Perception is highly reliable, illusions are reliable but not valid. Dawn of
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