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Chapter 4

Psychology 46-115 Chapter 4: 46-115 Notes on Sensation Perception

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University of Windsor
Ken Cramer

Chapter 4: Sensation and Perception (Page 160 – 195) • Sensation  detection of physical energy by sense organs (eyes, nose, mouth, skin, tongue), which then send information to our brain • Perception  brain’s interpretation of these raw sensory inputs Sensation • Transduction  the process of converting an external energy/substance into neutral activity • Sense receptor  specialized cells that transduces s specific stimulus • Absolute threshold  lowest level of stimulus needed for a nervous system to detect a change 50% of the time • Just noticeable difference  smallest change in the intensity of a stimulus we can detect • Weber’s Law  the stronger the stimulus, the bigger change needed for it to be noticeable • Signal detection theory  determine how we detect stimuli under uncertain conditions • Signal-to-noise ratio  becomes harder to detect a signal when background noise increases • Response biases  tendencies to make one type of guess over another when in doubt • Specific nerve energies (Muller)  the sensation we experience is determined by the nature of sense receptor, not the stimulus • McGurk Effect  we integrate visual and auditory information when processing spoken language • Subliminal perception  processing of sensory information that occurs below the level of conscious awareness • Subliminal Persuasion  influenced by our product choices, votes in elections, and life decision o Illusory placebo effect  subject did improve, but not for the correct reason Perception • Our mind puts pieces together: (a) what’s in the sensory field, (b) what was just there a moment ago, and (c) what we remember from the past • Perceptual Hypotheses o Perceptual sets  the relation between a stimulus and its context  We tend to group things together  We tend to perceive the world with our preconceptions o Perceptual Constancy  the process where we perceive stimuli consistently across varied conditions  Shape, size, colour • Selective attention  allow us to select one channel and turns off the others o Done by the reticular activating system (RAS) and basal forebrain o Filter theory of attention  views attention as a bottleneck through which information passes Seeing • The human visible spectrum  wavelengths of light o Brightness  the intensity of the reflected light that reaches our eyes o Hue  the colour of light (red, green, blue)  Addictive colour mixing  mixing any colours  Subtractive colour mixing  mixing any colours in paint or ink • The eye o Sclera  the white of the eye o Iris  the coloured part of the eye  Chemical responsible for the eye  pigments o Pupil  circular hole where light enters the eye o Cornea  a curved, transparent layer covering the iris and pupil  Curvature is responsible for bending light to focus it at back of the eye o Lens  unlike the cornea, changes its curvature o Accommodation  process of lens changes shape to focus light on the back of eye to adapt to different light conditions o Retina  thin membrane at the back of the eye  Rods  long and narrow receptor cells that enable us to see basic shapes and forms (rhodopsin  chemicals that change following exposure to light)  Cones  colour vision o Fovea  central part of the eye; responsible for acuity (sharpness of vision) Visual Perception • Gestalt principles  rules governing how we perceive objects as wholes
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