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Modules 16 & 17. 3 How do we form meaningful perceptions from sensory information? We organize it. Gestalt psychologists showed that a figure formed.

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Presentation on theme: "Modules 16 & 17. 3 How do we form meaningful perceptions from sensory information? We organize it. Gestalt psychologists showed that a figure formed."— Presentation transcript:

1 Modules 16 & 17


3 3 How do we form meaningful perceptions from sensory information? We organize it. Gestalt psychologists showed that a figure formed a “whole” different than its surroundings.

4 4 Organization of the visual field into objects (figures) that stand out from their surroundings (ground). Time Savings Suggestion, © 2003 Roger Sheperd.

5 5 After distinguishing the figure from the ground, our perception needs to organize the figure into a meaningful form using grouping rules.



8  Our tendency to see patterns and therefore perceive things as belonging together if they form some type of continuous pattern.


10 10 Although grouping principles usually help us construct reality, they may occasionally lead us astray. Both photos by Walter Wick. Reprinted from GAMES Magazine..© 1983 PCS Games Limited Partnership

11 11 Visual Cliff Depth perception enables us to judge distances. Gibson and Walk (1960) suggested that human infants (crawling age) have depth perception. Even newborn animals show depth perception. Innervisions

12  Visual Cliff Video

13  Monocular Cues  those cues which can be seen using only one eye.  They include:  Relative size  Interposition  Relative clarity  Texture gradient  Relative height  Relative motion  Linear perspective  Light and shadow  Binocular Cues  those depth cues in which both eyes are needed to perceive.  There are two important binocular cues:  Convergence  Retinal disparity.

14  The fact that the closer an object, the more inward our eyes need to turn in order to focus. The farther our eyes converge, the closer an object appears to be.

15  Convergence- Eyes move toward or away from each other  Accommodation- Lens moves to bring the vision into focus  Good up to 20 feet

16  The 2.4 inch (6 cm) distance between the two pupils causes us to see two slightly different images of the world. This displacement between the horizontal positions of corresponding images is called binocular disparity.  Our eyes see two images which are then sent to our brains for interpretation, the distance between these two images, or their retinal disparity, provides another cue regarding the distance of the object. Gives us stereoscopic vision

17 17 Retinal disparity: Images from the two eyes differ. Try looking at your two index fingers when pointing them towards each other half an inch apart and about 5 inches directly in front of your eyes. You will see a “finger sausage” as shown in the inset.

18 18 Relative Size: If two objects are similar in size, we perceive the one that casts a smaller retinal image to be farther away.

19 19 Interposition: Objects that occlude (block) other objects tend to be perceived as closer. Rene Magritte, The Blank Signature, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Photo by Richard Carafelli.

20  those objects covering part of another object is perceived as closer.

21  Similar to texture, objects tend to get blurry as they get farther away, therefore, clearer or more crisp images tend to be perceived as closer.

22  Objects tend to become smoother as the object gets farther away, suggesting that more detailed textured objects are closer.

23 23 Relative Height: We perceive objects that are higher in our field of vision to be farther away than those that are lower. Image courtesy of Shaun P. Vecera, Ph. D., adapted from stimuli that appered in Vecrera et al., 2002

24 24 Relative motion: Objects closer to a fixation point move faster and in opposing direction to those objects that are farther away from a fixation point, moving slower and in the same direction.

25 25 Linear Perspective: Parallel lines, such as railroad tracks, appear to converge in the distance. The more the lines converge, the greater their perceived distance. © The New Yorker Collection, 2002, Jack Ziegler from All rights reserved.

26 26 Light and Shadow: Nearby objects reflect more light into our eyes than more distant objects. Given two identical objects, the dimmer one appears to be farther away. From “Perceiving Shape From Shading” by Vilayaur S. Ramachandran. © 1988 by Scientific American, Inc. All rights reserved.

27 27 Perceiving objects as unchanging even as illumination and retinal images change.

28 28 Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color even when changing illumination filters the light reflected by the object. Color Constancy

29 29 The distant monster (below, left) and the top red bar (below, right) appear bigger because of distance cues. From Shepard, 1990 Alan Choisnet/ The Image Bank

30 30 Both girls in the room are of similar height. However, we perceive them to be of different heights as they stand in the two corners of the room. Both photos from S. Schwartzenberg/ The Exploratorium

31 31 The Ames room is designed to demonstrate the size- distance illusion.

32 32 The color and brightness of square A and B are the same. Courtesy Edward Adelson


34 34 Immanuel Kant ( ) maintained that knowledge comes from our inborn ways of organizing sensory experiences. John Locke ( ) argued that we learn to perceive the world through our experiences. How important is experience in shaping our perceptual interpretation?

35 35 After cataract surgery, blind adults were able to regain sight. These individuals could differentiate figure and ground relationships, yet they had difficulty distinguishing a circle and a triangle (Von Senden, 1932).

36 36 After blind adults regained sight, they were able to recognize distinct features, but were unable to recognize faces. Normal observers also show difficulty in facial recognition when the lower half of the pictures are changed. Courtesy of Richard LeGrand

37 37 Kittens raised without exposure to horizontal lines later had difficulty perceiving horizontal bars. Blakemore & Cooper (1970)

38 38 Visual ability to adjust to an artificially displaced visual field, e.g., prism glasses. Courtesy of Hubert Dolezal

39 39 A mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another. What you see in the center picture is influenced by flanking pictures. From Shepard, 1990.

40 40 (a) Loch ness monster or a tree trunk; (b) Flying saucers or clouds? Other examples of perceptual set. Frank Searle, photo Adams/ Corbis-Sygma Dick Ruhl

41 41 Is the “magician cabinet” on the floor or hanging from the ceiling? Context can radically alter perception.

42 42 To an East African, the woman sitting is balancing a metal box on her head, while the family is sitting under a tree. Context instilled by culture also alters perception.

43 43 Is perception innate or acquired?


45 45 Perception without sensory input is called extrasensory perception (ESP). A large percentage of scientists do not believe in ESP.

46 46 1. Telepathy: Mind-to-mind communication. One person sending thoughts and the other receiving them. 2. Clairvoyance: Perception of remote events, such as sensing a friend’s house on fire. 3. Precognition: Perceiving future events, such as a political leader’s death.

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