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Chapter 5

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Psychology 1000
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Psychology Chapter 5 Sensation and PerceptionSynesthesia mixing of sensesTwo theories1Neural pathways are not distinguished at birth which is why they tend to crossover Furthermore different parts of the brain are interconnected which links different senses together for people with synesthesia 2Deficit of neural inhibitors that keep input from once sense from overflowing into other sensory areas The binding problem is studied by cognitive psychologists It is where they study how people bind all the sensations of an object together ie refer to the rose analogy in the book touch smell lookSteps from sensation to perception1Stimulus is received by sensory receptors2Transduction when sensory receptors translate sound waves a chemical molecule or pressure into nerve impulses so your brain can understand them3Feature detectors break down and analyze the specific features of the stimuli4Stimulus features are reconstructed into neural representation5Neural representation is compared with previously stored information in the brain6Matching process results in recognition and interpretation of stimuliSensation stimulusdetection process by which our sense organs respond to and translate environmental stimuli into nerve impulsesPerception when our brains match the new stimulus with our internal knowledge which allows us to recognize the stimulus and give it meaning Also defined as the active process of organizing this stimulus from input and giving it meaning Perception can be influenced by context and learned expectationsSensory ProcessesDifferent animals have distinct sensory equipment which has been developed as an adaptation to the environment in which it lives example carrier pigeons use Earths magnetic field sharks use electric currentsPsychophysics studies the relations between the physical characteristics of stimuli and sensory capabilities Psychophysics is concerned with two kinds of sensitivity1Absolute limits of sensitivity the weakest or strongest stimuli that humans can detect2Differences between stimuli the difference between two stimuli which allows humans to pick out that two stimuli are in fact not identicalStimulus Detection The Absolute ThresholdAbsolute threshold lowest intensity at which a stimulus can be detected correctly 50 of the time Thus the lower the absolute threshold the higher the intensitySignal Detection TheoryPeoples apparent sensitivity fluctuates quite a bit A fixed absolute threshold is inaccurate because there is no single point in the detection scale which separates nondetection from detection of a stimulusDecision criterion a standard of how certain they must be that a stimulus is present before they say that they will detect it Can change due to factors such as fatigue expectation and the significance of the stimulusSignal detection theory is concerned with the factors that influence sensory judgmentThe Difference Threshold Difference threshold the smallest difference between two stimuli that people can perceive 50 of the time Webers law the difference threshold is directly proportional to the agnitude of the stimulus with which the comparison is being made and can be expressed as Webers fraction a fraction of original this fraction give you a number that if added to the original number is the stimulus minimum which helps a person differentiate between two stimuli However this law is partially stupid because it breaks down for high and low stimuli Only pretty much works for stumuli found within the middle rangeThe lower the fraction the greater the sensitivity to differences Sensory AdaptationSensory adaptation diminishing sensitivity to an unchanging stimulus is adaptive because it frees our senses from the constant and the mundane to pick up informative changes in the environmentMost sensory systems are finely attuned to changes in stimulation Meaning sensory neurons are programmed to notice differences in stimuli ie diving into a swimming pool cold at first as body temperature sensors respond to the change in temperature but later they get used to the difference
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