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Perceiving the World. What are perceptual constancies, and what is their role in perception? What basic principles do we use to group sensations into.

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Presentation on theme: "Perceiving the World. What are perceptual constancies, and what is their role in perception? What basic principles do we use to group sensations into."— Presentation transcript:

1 Perceiving the World

2 What are perceptual constancies, and what is their role in perception? What basic principles do we use to group sensations into meaningful patterns? How is it possible to see depth and judge distance? What effect does learning have on perception? How are perceptions altered by attention, motives, values, and expectations? How reliable are eyewitness reports? Is extrasensory perception possible?

3 1. Perception 2. Native 3. Empirical 4. Shape constancy 5. Brightness constancy 6. Figure-ground organization 7. Reversible figures 8. Illusory figures 9. Engineering psychologist 10. Display 11. Control 12. Natural design 13. Feedback 14. Camouflage 15. Perceptual hypothesis 16. Ambiguous stimuli 17. Impossible figure 18. Depth perception 19. Visual cliff 20. Depth cues 21. Monocular cues 22. Binocular cues 23. Accommodation 24. Convergence 25. Retinal disparity 26. Stereoscopic vision 27. Random dot stereograms 28. Pictorial depth cues 29. Moon illusion 30. Apparent distance hypothesis 31. Perceptual habits 32. Ames room 33. Perceptual features 34. Active movement 35. Context 36. Frames of reference 37. Adaptation level 38. Illusion 39. Hallucination 40. Stroboscopic movement 41. Muller-Lyer illusion 42. Size-distance invariance 43. Selective attention 44. Divided attention 45. Habituate 46. Orientation response 47. Bottom-up processing 48. Top-down processing 49. Perceptual expectancy 50. Tachistoscope 51. Perceptual categories 52. Perceptual reconstruction 53. Weapons focus 54. Reality testing 55. Dishabituation 56. Extrasensory perception 57. Parapsychology 58. Zener cards 59. Run of luck 60. Replicated 61. Ganzfeld 62. Stage ESP

4 I was in a supermarket when a girl suddenly came running around the corner. She looked back and screamed, Stop! Stop! Youre killing him! Youre killing my father! Naturally I was interested! As I quickly retraced her path, I was greeted by a grisly scene. A man was stretched out on the floor with another man on top of him. The guy on top was huge. At 6 feet 6 inches tall and 300 pounds, he looked only half human. He had his victim by the throat an was beating his head against the floor. There was blood everywhere. I decided to do the right thing. I ran. What happened next?

5 By the time the store manager and I returned to thescene of the crime, the police were just arriving. It took quite a while to sort things out, but here is what happened: The guy on the bottom had passed out and hit his head. That caused the cut (actually quite minor) which explained the blood everywhere. The guy on top saw the first man fall and was trying to prevent him from further injuring himself, He was also loosening the mans collar.

6 If I had never returned, I would have sworn in court that I had just seen a murder. The girls words completely dictated my own perceptions. This perhaps is understandable. But what I will never forget is the shock I felt when I met themurderer- the man I had see a few moments before, in broad daylight, as a huge, vicious, horrible-looking creature. The man was not a stranger. He was a neighbor of mine. I had seen him dozens of times before. I know him by name. He is a rather small man.


8 Sensation involves the actual stimulus (seeing the oval shaper of a bowl held at an angle), Whereas perception involves the brains interpretation of that stimulus (seeing a bowl at thousands of angles over the years)

9 Perception: How we assemble sensations into meaningful patterns Size Constancy: Perceived size of an object remains constant, DESPITE changes in its retinal image size Native Perception: A perceptual experience based on innate processes Empirical Perception: A perception strongly influenced by prior experience Shape Constancy: The perceived shape of an object unaffected by changes in its retinal image Brightness Constancy: Apparent brightness of an object stays the same under changing lighting conditions


11 Card trick

12 Fig. 7.1 Shape constancy. (a) When a door is open its image actually forms a trapezoid. Shape constancy is indicated by the fact that it is still perceived as a rectangle. (b) With great effort you may be able to see this design as a collection of flat shapes. However, if you maintain shape constancy the distorted squares strongly suggest the surface of a sphere. (From Spherescapes-1 by Scott Walter and Kevin McMahon, 1983.)

13 Figure-Ground Organization: Inborn; part of a stimulus stands out as a figure (object) against a plainer background (ground) Reversible Figure: Figure and ground that can be reversed

14 Fig. 7.2 A reversible figure-ground design. Do you see two faces in profile, or a wineglass?

15 The first step in perceiving an image is determining the figure and ground.

16 Do you see the arrow?

17 Nearness: Stimuli that are near each other tend to be grouped together Similarity: Stimuli that are similar in size, shape, color, or form tend to be grouped together Continuation, or Continuity: Perceptions tend toward simplicity and continuity

18 Closure: Tendency to complete a figure so that it has a consistent overall form Contiguity: Nearness in time and space; perception that one thing has caused another Common Region: Stimuli that are found within a common area tend to be seen as a group




22 Fig. 7.3 How we organize perceptions

23 Fig. 7.5 A challenging example of perceptual organization. Once the camouflaged insect (known as a giant walkingstick) becomes visible, it is almost impossible to view the picture again without seeing the insect. © E.R. Degginger/Animals Animals

24 Depth Perception: Ability to see three-dimensional space and to accurately judge distances Visual Cliff: Apparatus that looks like the edge of an elevated platform or cliff Depth Cues: Features that supply information about distance and space Monocular Depth Cue: Depth cue that can be sensed with one eye Binocular Depth Cue: Depth cue that can be sensed with two eyes




28 Fig. 7.9 Human infants and newborn animals refuse to go over the edge of the visual cliff

29 Accommodation: Bending of the lens of the eye to focus on nearby objects Convergence: Binocular cue; when you look at something 50 feet or closer, your eyes must turn in (converge) to focus the object Retinal Disparity: Discrepancy in the images that reach the right and left eyes Stereotopic Vision: Three-dimensional sight

30 Fig The eyes must converge, or turn in toward the nose, to focus close objects.

31 Page 211

32 Features found in paintings, drawings, and photographs that supply information about space, depth, and distance Linear Perspective: (7-14a) Based on apparent convergence of parallel lines in environment Relative size: (7-14b) Depict 2 objects of the same size at different distances, the more distant objects smaller Height in the picture plane (7-14b) Objects are placed higher (closer to the horizon line) in a drawing tend to be perceived as more distant

33 Light and shadow (7-14c) (7-16) Most objects lighted in ways that create clear patterns of light and shadow Overlap (Interposition): (7-14d) When one object partially blocks another Texture Gradients: (7-14e) Texture changes can contribute to depth perception; coarse texture implies closeness, fine texture implies distance Aerial perspective: Smog, fog, dust, and haze add to the apparent distance of an object Relative Motion (Motion Parallax): (7-17) Nearby objects move a lot as your head moves; distant objects move slightly

34 Fig (a) Linear perspective. (b) Relative size. (c) Light and shadow. (d) Overlap. (e) Texture gradients. Drawings in the top row show fairly pure examples of each of the pictorial depth cues. In the bottom row, the pictorial depth cues are used to assemble a more realistic scene.

35 Sensation and Perception: Visual Illusions

36 Video

37 Fig On a dry lake bed, relative size is just about the only depth cue available for judging the cameras distance from this vintage aircraft. What do you estimate the distance to be?

38 Page 216Figure 7-20

39 Fig The apparent motion of objects viewed during travel depends on their distance from the observer. Apparent motion can also be influenced by an observers point of fixation. At middle distances, objects closer than the point of fixation appear to move backward; those beyond the point of fixation appear to move forward. Objects at great distances, such as the sun or moon, always appear to move forward.

40 Moon Illusion: Apparent change in size that occurs as the moon moves from the horizon (large moon) to overhead (small moon) Apparent-Distance Hypothesis: Horizon seems more distant than the night sky

41 An impossible figurethe three-pronged widget.

42 Fig The Ponzo illusion may help you understand the moon illusion. Picture the two white bars as resting on the railroad tracks. In the drawing, the upper bar is the same length as the lower bar. However, because the upper bar appears to be farther away than the lower bar, we perceive it as longer. The same logic applies to the moon illusion.




46 Handout (Ambiguous figures) Personal experience Perceptual abilities Personal needs Homework

47 Change in the brain that alters how we process sensory information Perceptual Habits: Ingrained patterns of organization and attention Other-Race Effect: Tendency to be better at recognizing faces from one s own racial group than faces from other racial or ethnic groups Active Movement: Self-generated action; accelerates perceptual adaptation Context: Information surrounding a stimulus; affects perception (Fig. 7-25) Frames of Reference: Internal standards for judging stimuli


49 Fig The effects of prior experience on perception. The doctored face looks far worse when viewed right side up because it can be related to past experience.


51 Video An Ames room (named for the man who designed it) Is a lopsided space that appears square when viewed from a certain point (fig 7-23)

52 Fig The Ames room. From the front, the room looks normal; actually, the right-hand corner is very short, and the left-hand corner is very tall. In addition, the left side of the room slants away from viewers. The diagram shows the shape of the room and reveals why people appear to get bigger as they cross the room toward the nearer, shorter right corner.

53 Illusion: Length, position, motion, curvature, or direction is constantly misjudged Hallucination: When people perceive objects or events that have no external basis in reality Stroboscopic Movement: Illusory motion perceived when objects are shown in rapidly changing positions Muller-Lyer Illusion: (Fig. 27a) Two equal-length lines topped with inward or outward pointing V s appear to be of different length; based on experience with edges and corners of rooms and buildings

54 Handout AB-BC

55 Airplane

56 Fig Some interesting perceptual illusions. Illusions are a normal part of perception.

57 Fig Why does line (b) in the Müller-Lyer illusion look longer than line (a)? Probably because it looks more like a distant corner than a nearer one. Because the vertical lines form images of the same length, the more distant line must be perceived as larger. As you can see in the drawing on the right, additional depth cues accentuate the Müller-Lyer illusion. (After Enns & Coren, 1995.)

58 If two objects make images of the same size, the more distant object must be larger, this is known as Size-distance invariance Same concept explains the Muller-Lyer illusion. If the V-tipped line looks father away than the arrowhead-tipped line, then you must compensate by seeing the V-tipped line as longer

59 Selective Attention: Refers to the fact that we give some messages priority Divided Attention: Divide your mental effort among tasks, each of which requires more or less attention Orientation Response: Bodily changes that prepare an organism to receive information from a particular stimulus Ex: Pupils enlarge, breathing stops briefly

60 How many passes


62 Bottom-Up Processing: Analyzing information starting at the bottom (small units) and going upward to form a complete perception Top-Down Processing: Pre-existing knowledge that is used to rapidly organize features into a meaningful whole Perceptual Set: Past experiences, motives, contexts, or suggestions that prepare us to perceive in a certain way

63 Flash-X

64 Stress: High levels impair accuracy Weapon Focus: Presence of a weapon impairs eyewitness accuracy Exposure Time: Less time an eyewitness has to observe an event, the less s/he will perceive and remember it Accuracy-Confidence: Confidence is not a good predictor of his/her accuracy Cross-Racial Perceptions: Eyewitnesses are better at identifying members of their own race than of other races

65 Post-Event Information: Testimony reflects not only what was actually seen but also information obtained later on Color Perception: Judgments of color made under monochromatic light are very unreliable Unconscious Transference: A culprit who is identified may have been seen in another situation or context Alcohol Intoxication: Impairs later ability to recall events Attitudes and Expectations: May affect eyewitness perception of events

66 Reality Testing: Obtaining additional information to check your perceptions Habituate: Tend to respond less to predictable and unchanging stimuli Dishabituation: Reversal of habituation

67 Bomber on roof

68 Video

69 Parapsychology: Study of ESP and other psi phenomena (events that seem to defy accepted scientific laws) Clairvoyance: Purported ability to perceive events unaffected by distance or physical barriers Telepathy: Purported ability to read minds Precognition: Purported ability to accurately predict the future (Minority Report and the Pre-Cogs, like Agatha) Psychokinesis (Mind Over Matter): Purported ability to influence physical objects by willpower

70 Zener Cards: Deck of 25 cards, each having one of five symbols Run of Luck: Statistically unusual outcome that could occur by chance alone (e.g., getting five heads in a row, two jackpots within six pulls of a slot machine) Stage ESP: Simulation of ESP for entertainment purposes Conclusion: Existence of ESP has NOT been scientifically demonstrated; positive results are usually inconclusive and easily criticized In sum: Be skeptical! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

71 Fig ESP cards used by J. B. Rhine, an early experimenter in parapsychology.

72 Test

73 Fig Fake psychokinesis. (a) The performer shows an observer several straight keys. While doing so, he bends one of the keys by placing its tip in the slot of another key. Normally, this is done out of sight, behind the psychics hand. It is clearly shown here so you can see how the deception occurs. (b) Next, the psychic places the two keys in the observers hand and closes it. By skillful manipulation, the observer has been kept from seeing the bent key. The performer then concentrates on the keys to bend them with psychic energy. (c) The bent key is revealed to the observer. Miracle accomplished! (Adapted from Randi, 1983.) (a) (b c)

74 Telepathy – mind reading Clairvoyance – perceiving remote events Precognition – Knowing things before they happen Telekinesis (psychokinesis) – moving objects with one s mind (not technically ESP)


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