Chapter 3 reading
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PSY270 Lecture 3
Perception: experiences resulting from stimulation of the senses.
can change based on added information
can involve process similar to reasoning or problem solving.
Complex process (unconscious)
Allows us to accomplish tasks: memory, knowledge, problems, communication – cognition
Bottom-up processing: processing that begins with stimulation of the receptors (when see image)
Physiological: light reflected from tree stimulates visual receptors in eye, triggers electrical signals
to be sent to brain and thus becomes our perception.
Behavioural: perception can be created by combinations of individual features (Biederman)
oBiederman: “recognition by components (RBC)” theory proposes that we perceive
objects by perceiving elementary features like those in geons.
Geons: perceptual building blocks combined to create object.
Recognize object if we are able to perceive just a few of its geons
Principle of componential recovery – if we can recover (see) an object’s geons,
we can identify the object. (only see partial part of the object)
Perception depends on additional information, such as information about the environment and prior
Top-down processing: processing that begins with a person’s prior knowledge or expectations
involved in our ability to recognize objects based on a few geons, or when large portions of the
object are obscured.
Eg. Knowledge of language makes it possible to perceive individual’s words in conversation even
though the sound signal for speech is often continuous
Feedback signals: signals that travel down from higher centers (of brain) to influence incoming signals.
if two objects are perceived to be at different distances but cast the same sized image on the retina,
perceptual system takes the distance of the farther object into account, so it is perceived as its true
Perceptual system could take into account size of objects relative other objects in the environment.
•size consistency: we tend to perceive objects as remaining the same size even when they move to
•Perception of the size of an object does not depend solely on the size of the object’s image on the
Perceiving odor intensity
Teghtso nian et al.: a s ked p ar ti cipants in lab s e t ti n g to rate o d or intensit y of different o do rants
ofoun d that p ar ticipants g ave al m ost identic al ratings for we a k sniffs an d st ro n g sniffs.
oStr en g th of sniff did n o t influenc e odo r intensity ratin g s – p ar ticipants were takin g
str en g th of sniff into a c c ounts when making ratings.
= > go al of p erc e ptual system is to provide a c c urate information ab o u t o ur en viron ment (impor t ant for
Role of Top-Down proc e s sin g
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