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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Part II PS101.docx

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Carolyn Ensley

PS101 Chapter 4 – Sensation and Perception Week 7 Our Sense of Hearing: The Auditory System -Provides input about the world, but not until incoming information is processed by the brain -A distal stimulus – a screech of tires, someone laughing – produces a proximal stimulus in the form of sound waves reaching the ears The Stimulus: Sound -Sound waves are vibrations of molecules, which means that they must travel through some physical medium, such as air -Sound waves are generated by vibrating objects -Sound waves can be generated by forcing air past a chamber, or by releasing a burst of air -Sound waves are characterized by their amplitude, their wavelength, and their purity Human Hearing Capacities -Wavelengths of sound are described in terms of their frequency, which is measured in cycles per second -Higher frequencies are perceived as having higher pitch -Humans can hear sounds ranging from as low of 20 Hz up to a high of about 20 000Hz -Sounds at either end of this range are had to hear -The greater the amplitude of sound waves, the louder the sound perceived -Perceived loudness doubles every 6-10 decibels -Very loud sounds can jeopardize the quality of your hearing -Amplitude is the principal determinant of loudness, but loudness ultimately depends on an interaction between amplitude and frequency -People are sensitive to variations in the purity of sounds Sensory Processing in the Ear -Your ears channel energy to the neural tissue that received it -The human ear can be divided into three sections: the external ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear -The external ear depends on the vibration of air molecules -The middle ear depends on the vibration of movable bones -The inner ear depends on waves in a fluid which are finally converted into a stream of neural signals sent to the brain -The external ear consists mainly of the pinna, a sound-collecting cone -Sound waves collected by the pinna are funnelled along the auditory canal toward the eardrum, a taut membrane that vibrates in response -In the middle ear, the vibrations of the eardrum are transmitted inward by a mechanical chain made up of the three tiniest bones in your body (the hammer, anvil, and stirrup), known collectively as the ossicles -The ossicles serve to amplify tiny changes in air pressure -The inner ear consists largely of the cochlea, a fluid filled, coiled tunnel that contains the receptors for hearing -Sound enters the cochlea through the oval window -The basilar membrane, which runs the length of the spiralled cochlea, holds the auditory receptors -The auditory receptors are called hair cells because of the tiny bundles of hair that protrude from them -Waves in the fluid o the inner ear stimulate the hair cells PS101 Chapter 4 – Sensation and Perception Week 7 Auditory Perception: Theories of Hearing Place Theory -Holds that perception of pitch corresponds to the vibration of different portions, or places, along the basilar membrane -Assumes that hair cells at various locations respond independently and that different sets of hair cells are vibrated by different sound frequencies Frequency Theory -Holds that perception of pitch corresponds to the rate, or frequency, at which the entire basilar membrane vibrates -The whole membrane vibrates in unison in response to sounds Auditory Localization: Perceiving Sources of Sound -Auditory localization – loc
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