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Chapter 6

Chapter 6

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Psychology 2040A/B

Psych 2040A Chapter 6: Early Cognitive Foundations: Sensation, Perception, and Learning distinguish between sensation and perception sensation: detection of stimuli by the sensory receptors and transmission of this information to the brain perception: process by which we categorize and interpret sensory input recognizing what we see, understanding what is said to us, etc big question: are newborns born with the innate ability to detect and interpret stimulus? or is this something learned over the years? Early Controversies about Sensory and Perceptual Development Nature vs. Nurture Empiricist philosophers believed that an infant was a tabula rasa (blank slate) who must learn to interpret sensations (nurture) Nativist philosophers (ie. Rene Descartes and Immanuel Kant) believed that many basic perceptual abilities are innate born with an understanding of spatial relations Today, we believe that BOTH nature and nurture interact and contribute to our growth and development as humans Enrichment vs. Differentiation enrichment theory: theory specifying that we must add to sensory stimulation by drawing on stored knowledge in order to perceive a meaningful world we add to our cognitive schemes as we come across new things differentiation theory: theory specifying that perception involves detecting distinctive features or cues that are contained in the sensory stimulation we receive our tasks as receivers is to detect the differentiating information with the help of distinctive features - characteristics of a stimulus that remain constant; dimensions on which two or more objects differ and can be discriminated (sometimes called invariances or invariant features) Research Methods Used to Study the Infants Sensory and Perceptual Experiences in the early 1900s, medical texts indicated that babies were born deaf, blind, mute and impervious to pain for several days after birth The Preference Method The preference method: method used to gain information about infants perceptual abilities by presenting two (or more) stimuli and observing which stimulus the infant prefers Robert Fantz determined whether infants could discriminate between visual patters - found that infants preferred patterned stimuli such as faces or concentric circles big limitation: if infant shows no preference between the stimuli, we dont know if the infant failed to discriminate between the two or simply found them equally interesting. The Habituation Method habituation: the decrease in ones response to a stimulus that has become familiar through repetition this is a simple form of learning this method is also known as familiarization-novelty to test an infants ability to discriminate between two stimulus, a rst one is presented until the infant stops responding (habituates). then, the 2nd stimulus is presented - if the infant discriminates between the two, the infant will dishabituate - increase in responsiveness that occurs when stimulation changes change in responsiveness can be detected by a change in heart rate or respiration The Method of Evoked Potentials another way of determining what infants can sense or perceive is to present them with a stimulus and record their brain waves evoked potential: a change in patterning of the brain waves that indicate an individual detects (senses) a stimulus produce different patterns of electrical activity The High-Amplitude Sucking Method the high-amplitude sucking method: a method of assessing infants perceptual capabilities that capitalizes on the ability of infants to make interesting events last by varying the rate at which they such on a special pacier measures the infants base like sucking rate before presenting them with stimulus as the infant reachers a certain rate of sucking, the sensory stimulation is activated and presented if the infant nds this stimuli interesting, they can make it last by displaying bursts of high-amplitude sucking can present another stimulus (second one) and if the infant displays a change in the sucking rate, then we can conclude that the infant can differentiate between the two stimuli Infant Sensory Capabilities Hearing with the evoked potential method, researchers have found that soft sounds that adults hear must be made noticeably louder for neonates to hear/detect insensitivity to softer sounds could be due to uids that have seeped into the inner ear during the birth process other than this limitation, neonates can hear very well Reactions to Voices usually attentive to high-pitched female voices newborns are more attentive to their mothers voices than any other voice there is a suggestion that infants may need to see facial expressions to help them distinguish adult emotional states Reactions to Language babies are able to distinguish basic speech sounds - phonemes infants less than 1 week old can tell the difference between the vowels a and i infants are actually better than adults at perceiving certain phonemes that are not a part of the language their companions speak by 4.5 months, they turn their heads to their own names, but not to other names even if its similar hearing is highly developed at birth, but infants in their rst 6 months of life are now always consistent in responding to noises when presented Taste and Smell infants usually are born with a sweet tooth, they suck faster and longer for sweet liquids than for bitter, sour, salty, or neutral (water) solutions sweets reduce crying, produce smiles and smacking of lips also capable of detecting odours and display expressions of disgust to unwanted smells each of us has a unique olfactory signature - a characteristic odour that babies can
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