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Chapter 4: Sensation and Perception Lecture 6 & 7

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1 Chapter 4: Sensation and Perception Lecture 6 & 7

2 Learning Outcomes Define and differentiate between sensation and perception. Identify the parts of the eye, describe the properties of light and the theories of color vision.

3 Learning Outcomes Describe how visual perception is organized. Identify the parts of the ear; explain the sense of hearing.

4 Learning Outcomes Describe the chemical senses. Identify the skin senses and theoretical explanations for pain.

5 Learning Outcomes Describe the kinesthetic and vestibular senses. Explain why psychologists are skeptical about extra sensory perception.

6 Sensation and Perception

7 What are Sensation and Perception?
“I have perfect vision” –Heather Sellers has problem with her perception. She cannot recognize faces-prosopagnosia (face blindness) “In college, on a date at the Spaghetti Station, I returned from the bathroom and plunked myself down in the wrong booth, facing the wrong man. I remained unaware he was not my date even as my date (a stranger to me) accosted Wrong Booth Guy, and then stormed out of the Station. I can’t distinguish actors in movies and on TV. I do not recognize myself in photos or video. I can’t recognize my stepsons in the soccer pick-up line; I failed to determine which husband was mine at a party, in the mall, at the market” This curious mix of “perfect” vision and face blindness illustrates the distinction between sensation and perception. Truth or Fiction? People have five senses. FALSE People have many more than five senses. Touch is just one of your “skin senses” which also include pressure, warmth, cold, and pain. There are also senses that alert you to your own body position without your having to watch every step you take.

8 1. What are Sensation and Perception?
Her Sensation-the stimulation of sensory receptors and transmission of sensory information to the central nervous system, is normal. Her Perception- the process by which sensations are organized and interpreted to form an inner representation of the world, is almost normal. She recognizes people from their hair, etc., but not face

9 2. Absolute Threshold Weakest amount of a stimulus that can be distinguished from no stimulus at all Detected 50% of the time Truth or Fiction? If we could see waves of light with slightly longer wavelengths, warm-blooded animals would glow in the dark. TRUE If you could see light with slightly longer wavelengths, you would see infrared light waves. Since heat generates infrared light, warm-blooded people, including other people would glow in the dark. Vision – a candle flame viewed from about 30 miles on a clear night Hearing – a watch ticking from about 20 feet away in a quiet room Taste – 1 teaspoon of sugar dissolved in 2 gallons of water Smell – about one drop of perfume diffused though a small house Touch – the pressure of the wing of a fly falling on a check about a distance of about .4 inch

10 2. Absolute Threshold Weakest amount of a stimulus that can be distinguished from no stimulus at all Detected 50% of the time Truth or Fiction? If we could see waves of light with slightly longer wavelengths, warm-blooded animals would glow in the dark. TRUE If you could see light with slightly longer wavelengths, you would see infrared light waves. Since heat generates infrared light, warm-blooded people, including other people would glow in the dark. Vision – a candle flame viewed from about 30 miles on a clear night Hearing – a watch ticking from about 20 feet away in a quiet room Taste – 1 teaspoon of sugar dissolved in 2 gallons of water Smell – about one drop of perfume diffused though a small house Touch – the pressure of the wing of a fly falling on a check about a distance of about .4 inch

11 3. Difference Threshold Minimum difference in magnitude of two stimuli required to tell them apart Detected 50% of the time Weber’s constant Standard of difference - Light – 2% of intensity - Weight – 2% of weight - Sound – one-third of 1% change in pitch (frequency) -Taste – 20% difference in saltiness Weber’s constant Light – 2% of intensity Weight – 2% of weight Sound – one-third of 1% change in pitch (frequency) Taste – 20% difference in saltiness

12 4. Influences on Perception
Stimulus characteristics and psychological factors interact to influence whether a stimulus is detected. Psychological factors such as learning, motivation, and psychological states (attention) Perceptual set- what we expect to perceive - Rosenhan et al., (1973) Attention (Inattentional blindness) Social perception Truth or Fiction? People sometimes hear what they want to hear. TRUE Sometimes we detect stimuli we are searching for. Stimulus characteristics – intensity of signal, degree to which signal can be distinguished from background, individual’s sensory system Psychological factors – learning, motivation, psychological states (fatigue, alertness)

13 5. Transduction & Adaptation
Sensory receptors- detect and respond to one type of sensory stimuli- light, smell, etc. Transduction-the sensory receptors convert the sensory stimulation into neural impulses. After a time, the sensory receptors grow accustomed to constant, unchanging levels of stimulus-sights, smell, etc.- we notice it less & less- adaptation

14 6. Vision Light Spectrum of electromagnetic energy Vary in wavelength Human eyes can perceive only a very thin band of electromagnetic waves, known as the visible spectrum (400 – 700nanometers) Within visible light, color is determined by wavelength

15 The Visible Spectrum Figure 4.1 The Visible Spectrum. By passing a source of white light, such as sunlight, through a prism, we break it down into the colors of the visible spectrum. The visible spectrum is just a narrow segment of the electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum also includes radio waves, microwaves, X rays, cosmic rays, and many others. Different forms of electromagnetic energy have wave-lengths which vary from a few trillonths of a meter to thousands of miles. Visible light varies in wave-length from about 400 to 700 billionths of a meter. (A meter = inches.)

16 The Eye Light enters through a narrow opening Cornea – transparent eye cover Iris – muscle; colored part of the eye Pupil – opening in the iris Sensitive to light and emotion

17 Transmission of Light Through the Eye
Transmission of Light Through the Eye. See the path of light waves from the outside world into the brain. PLAY VIDEO

18 8. The Eye Light Sensitive Surface Retina Photoreceptors Rods, Cones, Bipolar and ganglion cells Optic Nerve Axons of ganglion neurons form optic nerve Conducts sensory input to brain (occipital lobe)

19 Anatomy of the Eye Anatomy of the Eye. 3D picture of the eye which can be rotated to see different structures. PLAY VIDEO After clicking ‘Play Video’ use your mouse to manipulate this active figure.

20 9. Rods and Cones Cones Most densely packed in center of retina (fovea) Provide color vision, fine details Rods Provide vision in black and white More sensitive to dim light than cones

21 Blind spot (demonstration/handouts)
10. Visual Acuity Greatest in the fovea Blind spot (demonstration/handouts) Point in retina where ganglion cells converge Nearsightedness, image in front of retina Farsightedness-behind Presbyopia See Figure 4.3 in textbook for active illustration of the blind spot. Nearsightedness – See close objects most clearly – Elongated eyeball - Distant objects focus in front of retina Farsightedness – See distant objects most clearly – Eyeball is too short - Images of nearby objects are focused behind the retina Presbyopia – Brittle lenses – difficult to focus

22 11. Light Adaptation Dark adaptation Process of adjusting to lower lighting Cones reach maximum adaptation in about 10 minutes Rods continue to adapt up to 45 minutes Adaptation to bright light Process occurs within a minute or so

23 Figure 4.6 Place a sheet of white paper beneath the book, and stare at the black dot in the center of the flag for at least 30 seconds. Then remove the book. The afterimage on the paper beneath will look familiar. In the classroom, have students stare at the black dot in the center of the flag for at least 30 seconds. Then look at a white wall and the afterimage will appear.

24 Perceptual Dimensions of Color
Afterimage Persistent sensations of color are followed by perception of the complementary color when the first color is removed

25 Sensitive to red, green, or blue Opponent-Process Theory
12. Theories of Color Trichromatic Theory Three types of cones Sensitive to red, green, or blue Opponent-Process Theory Three types of color receptors Red-green, blue-yellow, and light-dark

26 13.Color Blindness Trichromat Normal color vision Monochromat Totally color blind Dichromat Partial color blindness Discriminate between two colors (red & green, or blue &yellow) More common in males (sex linked trait)

27 Plates from a Test for Color Blindness
Figure 4.7 Plates from a Test for Color Blindness. Can you see the numbers in these plates from a test for color blindness? A person with red-green color blindness would not be able to see the 6, and a person with blue-yellow color blindness would probably not discern the 12. (Caution. These reproductions cannot be used for actual testing of color blindness.)

28 Visual Perception Lecture 7

29 1. Visual Perception Process used to organize sensory impressions caused by the light that strikes our eyes Sensation is a mechanical process Perception is an active process Involves experience, expectations and motivations

30 1. Visual Perception Process used to organize sensory impressions caused by the light that strikes our eyes Sensation is a mechanical process Perception is an active process Involves experience, expectations and motivations

31 1. Visual Perception Process used to organize sensory impressions caused by the light that strikes our eyes Sensation is a mechanical process Perception is an active process Involves experience, expectations and motivations

32 2. Perceptual Organization
Figure – Ground Perception Ambiguous, unstable figures, we shift back & forth Example of Figure and Ground are available in the textbook, Figure 4.9.

33 Gestalt Rules for Perceptual Organization
Figure Some Gestalt Laws of Perceptual Organization. These drawings illustrate the Gestalt laws of proximity, similarity, continuity, and closure.

34 3. Gestalt Rules for Perceptual Organization
Common Fate Elements moving together are grouped together (runners) Closure Fit bits of information into familiar patterns; Perception of a complete figure, even when there are gaps in sensory information Proximity Nearness of objects Similarity Similarity of objects Continuity Series of points having unity Examples of closure can be found in text Figure 4.8.

35 4. Perception of Motion (mini class discussion)
Visual perception of motion is based on change of position relative to other objects Illusions of movement Stroboscopic motion (class discussion, how do we know that a train moves?)

36 5. Depth Perception Monocular Cues Binocular Cues Perspective
Clearness Overlapping Shadows Texture gradient Motion parallax Binocular Cues Retinal disparity Convergence Refer to Figure 4.11 for a demonstration of overlapping and shadowing

37 6. Perceptual Constancies
Acquired through experience; creates stability Size Constancy (video) Color Constancy Brightness Constancy Shape Constancy

38 Size Constancy PLAY VIDEO
Size constancy. See a video demonstration of size constancy. PLAY VIDEO

39 Hering-Hemlholtz Illusion Perceive drawing as three-dimensional
7. Visual Illusions Hering-Hemlholtz Illusion Perceive drawing as three-dimensional Müller-Lyer Illusion Interpret length of lines based on experience Refer to Figure 4.13 in the text for an example of both the Hering-Helmholtz and the Müller Lyer Illusion. For some on-line examples of many of the visual phenomena, see Project Lite, an atlas of visual phenomena, created by Kenneth Brecher and Scott Gorlin and funded by an NSF Grant at

40 Hearing

41 8. Sound Sound waves require a medium; air or water Sound waves compress and expand molecules of the medium, creating vibrations A single cycle of compression and expansion is one wave of sound Human ear is sensitive to sound waves with frequencies of 20 to 20,000 cycles per second

42 Frequency (# of cycles per second) Expressed in hertz (Hz)
9. Pitch and Loudness Pitch Frequency (# of cycles per second) Expressed in hertz (Hz) Pitch of women’s voice is higher than men’s Loudness Height (amplitude) of sound waves Expressed in decibels (dB) One cycle per second = 1 Hz Pitch of women’s voice is higher than men’s Women’s vocal cords are usually shorter Vocal cords vibrate at a greater frequency

43 Sound Waves of Various Frequencies and Amplitudes
Figure Sound Waves of Various Frequencies and Amplitudes. Which sounds have the highest pitch? Which are loudest?

44 Decibel Ratings of Familiar Sounds
Figure Decibel Ratings of Familiar Sounds. Zero dB is the threshold of hearing. You may suffer hearing loss if you incur prolonged exposure to sounds of 85 to 90 dB.

45 10.The Ear Shaped and structured to capture sound waves, vibrate in sympathy with them, and transmit auditory information to the brain Three parts: outer, middle & inner ear.

46 The Human Ear Figure The Human Ear. The outer ear funnels sound to the eardrum. Inside the eardrum, vibrations of the hammer, anvil, and stirrup transmit sound to the inner ear. Vibrations in the cochlea transmit the sound to the auditory nerve by way of basilar membrane and the organ of Corti.

47 11.Parts of the Ear Outer Ear Funnels sound waves to the eardrum Middle Ear Eardrum, hammer, anvil and stirrup Acts as an amplifier Oval window – Round window-balances the pressure

48 12. Parts of the Ear Inner Ear Cochlea (3 chambers-two membrane) Basilar membrane Organ of Corti- commend post- 25,000 hair cells Auditory nerve- temporal lobes of cerebral cortex

49 13. Locating Sounds Loudness and sequence in which sounds reach the ear provide cues May turn head to clarify information Try at home: “Virtual Barber Shop” (requires headphones to be appreciated fully). Check it out at

50 14. Perception of Loudness and Pitch
Related to number of receptor neurons on the organ of Corti Sounds are perceived as louder when more sensory neurons fire

51 15. Perception of Loudness and Pitch
Place theory Pitch is sensed according to place that vibrates Frequency theory Pitch perceived on stimulation of impulses that match the frequency of the sound Both theories work together Place theory - Pitch of sound is sensed according to place along basilar membrane that vibrates in response to it Applies only to pitches at least 5,000 Hz Frequency theory - Pitch perceived on the stimulation of neural impulses that match the frequency of the sound. Best explains pitches between 20 and 1,000 Hz Both theories work together - Explain perception of pitches between 1,000 and 5,000

52 16. Deafness Conductive deafness Damage to middle ear Hearing aids can help Sensorineural deafness Damage to inner ear or auditory nerve Cochlear implants may help with damage to inner ear, but not auditory nerve

53 The Chemical Senses: Smell and Taste

54 Smell Odors trigger receptor neurons in olfactory membrane Odors are sample molecules of substances in the air Sensory information about odors is sent to the brain through the olfactory nerve Odor contributes to flavor of foods

55 Taste Taste is sensed through taste cells Receptor neurons on taste buds Four primary taste qualities Sweet, sour, salty and bitter Umami (fifth basic taste) – savory Flavor of food depends on odor, texture, temperature and taste Individuals have taste sensitivities

56 The Skin Senses

57 Touch and Pressure Sensory receptors in skin fire when skin surface is touched Active touching Some areas of the body are more sensitive Nerve endings are more densely packed More sensory cortex is devoted to perception of sensations

58 Temperature Receptors are located just beneath the skin Skin temperature increases – receptors for warmth fire Skin temperature decreases – receptors for cold fire Sensations for temperature are relative

59 Pain Nociceptors in skin are stimulated Pain is usually sharpest where nerve endings are densely packed Pain can be felt deep within body No nerve endings for pain in the brain

60 Pain Prostaglandins Facilitate transmission of pain message Heighten circulation to injured area (inflammation) Pain-relieving drugs inhibit production of prostaglandins Emotional response and response to stress affect degree of pain

61 May involve activation of nerves in the stump of missing limb
Phantom Limb Pain 2 out of 3 combat veterans with amputated limbs report phantom limb pain May involve activation of nerves in the stump of missing limb May also involve reorganization of motor and somatosensory cortex Truth or Fiction? Many people experience pain “in” limbs that have been amputated. True About 2 out of 3 combat veterans with amputated limbs report feeling pain in missing, or “phantom,” limbs.

62 Gate Theory of Pain Nervous system can only process a limited amount of stimulation Rubbing the pained area competes for neural attention Closes the “gate” on pain messages to the brain

63 Acupuncture Ancient Chinese method of pain control Research shows it stimulates nerves to the hypothalamus releasing endorphins Endorphins are similar in structure and effect to morphine

64 Kinesthesis and the Vestibular Sense

65 Kinesthesis Sense that informs you about the position and motion of your body Sensory information is sent to the brain from sensory organs in joints, tendons and muscles

66 Vestibular System Housed mainly in semicircular canals in your ears Monitor your body’s motion and position in relation to gravity

67 ESP: Is There Perception Without Sensation? Video

68 Extrasensory Perception - ESP
Perception through means other than sensory organs Precognition Psychokinesis Telepathy Clairvoyance Precognition - Able to perceive future events in advance Psychokinesis - Mentally manipulating or moving objects Telepathy - Direct transmission of thought or ideas from one person to another Clairvoyance - Perception of objects that do not stimulate sensory organs

69 Method for studying the existence of ESP
Ganzfield Procedure Method for studying the existence of ESP No reliable evidence for existence of ESP Truth or Fiction? Some people can read other people’s minds. FALSE There is no adequate scientific evidence that people can read other people’s minds.

70 Beyond the Book

71 Video Connections: The Ames Room
Based on what you learn from the video about the Ames Room, how do visual artists use illusions to create a sense of depth in two-dimensional paintings? Learning Objectives of Video Connections: The Ames Room. Explain the source of confusion in the Ames room. Understand how our perception can sometimes be “tricked.”

72 The Ames Room PLAY VIDEO

73 Video Connections: The Ames Room
Have you ever been surprised at how large the moon looks on the horizon, “resting” atop buildings or trees in the distance? How do you explain why it looks larger under these circumstances than when it is high in the sky? Can we rely on our past experience of rooms to make sense of the Ames Room? Why or why not? Learning Objectives of Video Connections: The Ames Room. Explain the source of confusion in the Ames room. Understand how our perception can sometimes be “tricked.”

74 Virtual Reality Perception of events that are fed directly into the sense via electronic technology Computer generated images used to overcome phobias Cybersex


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