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Chapter 3

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University of Toronto St. George
Susanne Ferber

Jan 16, 2012, PSY270 chapter 3- Perception  Perception: experiences resulting from stimulation of the senses. Perceptions can change, based on added information  Arriving at a perception can involve a process.  Bottom up processing: processing that begins with stimulation of the receptors. E.g. RBC  Recognition-by-components (RBC) theory: perceive objects by perceiving elementary features.  Geons: perceptual building blocks that can be combined to create objects  We can recognize an object if we are able to perceive just a few of its geons  Principle of componential recovery: recover an objects geons, we can identify the object  Top- down processing: processing that begins with a person’s prior knowledge or expectations. Involved in our ability to recognize are obscured  Feedback signals: signals that travel down from higher centers to influence incoming signals  Perception of an object is based on signals representing the object plus signals representing other aspects of the environment and feedback signals representing prior knowledge or expectations  Perceptual system takes depth into account helps us more accurately perceive the size of the faraway object  Perception system’s use of information about the creatures’ distance and their size relative to the tracks illustrates how information in addition to the size of the image on the retina helps determine the perception of their size  Size constancy: tend to perceive objects as remaining the same size even when they move to different distances  Perception of the size of an object does not depend solely on the size of the objects image on the receptors  Experiment: Robert Teghtsoonian (1978): asked participants in a lab situation to rate the odor intensity of different odorants and found that participants gave almost identical ratings for weak sniffs and strong sniffs  Speech segmentation: sound signal for speech is generally continuous, when there are breaks in the sound, they do not necessarily occur between words. Based on knowledge of the language, we are bale to tell when one word ends and the next one begins  Knowledge that a person brings to the situation can influence position  Theory of unconscious inference: Helmholtz: some of our perceptions are the result of unconscious assumptions that we make about the environment. theory proposed to account for our ability to create perceptions from stimulus information that can be seen in more than one way  Likelihood principle: we perceive the object that is most likely to have caused the pattern of stimuli we have received  Gesalt psychologist: perceptual organization: the way elements are grouped together to create large objects  Laws of perceptual organization: indicates how elements in the environment are organized, grouped together  Law of continuation: points that when connected, result in straight or smoothly curving lines are seen as belonging together, the lines tend to be seen in such a way as to follow the smoothest path. Objects that are overlapped by other objects as are perceived as continuing behind the overlapping object. E.g. ropes  Predicts that what we perceive is based on what usually happens in the environment  Law of pragnanz/law of good figure/ law of simplicity: every stimulus pattern is seen in such a way that the resulting structure is as simple as possible. E.g. Olympic symbol Jan 16, 2012, PSY270 chapter 3- Perception  Law of similarity: similar things appear to be grouped together. Causes us to perceive a number and in environmental scenes helps to define individual objects E.g. dots of same colour  Law of familiarity: things that from patterns that are familiar or meaningful are likely to be grouped together E.g. black and white shapes  Gestalt laws are heuristics: rules of thumb that provide a best-guess solution to a problem. Can sometimes lead to incorrect perceptions  Algorithm: procedure that is guaranteed to solve a problem. E.g addition, subtraction and lo
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