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Chapter 6

PSY 1305 Chapter 6: Chapter 6 notes

Course Code
PSY 1305
Danielle Young

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Chapter 6 Notes
Chapter Overview
Basic Concepts of Sensation and Perception
Vision: Sensory and Perceptual Processing
The Nonvisual Senses
Basic Concepts of Sensation and Perception
Sensation and perception are actually parts of one continuous process.
Bottom-up mental process
Sensory receptors and nervous system receiving sensory input, takes it all the way
to the brain
Top-down mental process
Organizing and interpreting sensory input/info that we get. Brain filtering
All our senses
Receive sensory stimulation
Transform that stimulation into neural impulses
Deliver the neural information to our brain
Conversion of one form of energy into another
Signal detection theory
Predicts how and when we will detect a faint stimulus amid background noise.
Absolute threshold
Minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time
Individual absolute thresholds vary person to person
Hearing-smallest level that can be detected
Vision-smallest amount of light
Smell- smallest concentration of a scent
How much stimuli does it take to have a sensation?
Absolute threshold
Stimuli below the absolute threshold for conscious awareness, can have subvisual
subliminal messages- generated for a few seconds and people don’t typically see the, (flash
picture of a banana during a movie and at the end of the movie ask what fruit they want
and people usually say banana), subaudial- low audial que that is playing as you are
listening to something louder but still can perceive the small noise
Activating, often unconsciously, associations in our mind (a lot of our processing happens
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Difference threshold (just noticeable difference JND)
Minimum difference a person can detect between any two stimuli half the time; increases
with stimulus size
Weber’s law
For an average person to perceive a difference, two stimuli must differ by a constant
minimum percentage (not a constant amount), fixed proportion of actual stimulus, ex: hold
a five pound weight (reference level) then add one pound, the increase in weight is
significant but if you are super bulky and just add one pound then they probably wont
detect the difference
Basic Concepts of Sensation and Perception
Sensory adaptation: diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation (someone
playing loud music and at first you are super annoyed but over time you don’t notice it as much)
Aids focus by reducing background chatter
Influences how the world is perceived
Influences emotions
A good thing
Perceptual Set
Perceptual set: mental tendencies and assumptions that affect what we hear, taste, feel, and see
What determines our perceptual set?
Schemas organize and interpret unfamiliar information through experience
Preexisting schemas influence top-down processing of ambiguous sensation interpretation
Top down
Vision: Sensory and Perceptual Processing
Distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Determine the
hue of a wave
The number of complete wavelengths that can pass a point in a given time, depends on the
length of the wave.
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Dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light.
Amount of energy in a light wave or sound wave, which influences what we perceive as
brightness or loudness. Height (amplitude), smaller amp-more dull, larger amp-more
Color/Hue and Brightness
Vision: The Eye
The Retina’s Reaction to Light
Cornea: protect eye
Pupil: small adjustable opening, gatekeeper allowing as much or as little light, size of pupil regulated by
the iris
Iris: eye color, two layers of it
Lens: behind pupil, focus rays by changing curvature-accommodation
Retina: light, sensitive surface, contains preceptors for visual processing
Optic nerve: travel here to process, end
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