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Ch5 - Sensation and Perception

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

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5 Sensation and PerceptionFebruary 3 2014137 AM How Do We Sense Our WorldsSensationThe sense organs response to external stimuli and the transmission of these responses to the brainInvolves the detection of external stimuli eg light pressure odours etc responses to those stimuli and the transmission of these responses to the brainIt is an elementary experience such as colour or motion without the more complex perceptual experience of what is being seen or what is movingInitial gathering of information from the external world responding and transmitting that information to the brainPerceptionThe processing organization and interpretation of sensory signalsIt results in an internal representation of the stimulus and a conscious experience of itThe essence of perception is construction of useful and meaningful information about a particular environmentOften based on prior experiences which shape expectations about new sensory experiencesWhat we sense is the result of brain processes that actively construct perceptual experiences and as a result allow us to adapt to our environments detailsEverything is experienced in the brain the world we live in is a mental constructContext and change are importanteveryones experiences are completely subjectiveSensory codingour sensory organs translations of stimulis physical properties into neural impulsesDifferent features of the physical environment are coded by different neural impulse patternsTransductionprocess by which sensory receptors pass impulses to connecting neurons when they receive stimulation eg from pressure on the skin in the case of touchIts the first step in sensory codingTranslates properties eg light waves into neural codinga language that the brain is able to understandMost of this information except for smell goes first to the thalamus before being directed to a particular part of the cortex where the information is then interpreted as sight smell taste etcTo function effectively our brains need qualitative and quantitative information about a stimulusWe can identify qualitative differences because different sensory receptors respond to qualitatively different stimuliQuantitative differences in stimuli are coded by the speed of a particular neurons firinga more rapidly firing neuron is responding at a higher frequencyIn most sensory systems receptors provide coarse coding in which sensory qualities are coded by only a few different types of receptors each of which responds to a broad range of stimuli
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