Big Question: How do we construct our representation of the external world?
Sensation and Perception Objectives:
Contrast the processes of sensation and perception.
Distinguish between absolute and difference thresholds and discuss research findings on subliminal stimulation.
Describe the phenomenon of sensory adaptation and show how it focuses our attention on changing stimulation.
Explain the visual process, including the stimulus input, the structure of the eye, and the transduction of light energy
Discuss the value of parallel processing, especially regarding vision.
Explain the trichromatic and opponent process theories of color vision.
Explain the auditory process, including the stimulus input and the structure and function of the ear.
Discuss the nature and causes of hearing loss and describe the effects of noise on hearing and behavior.
Describe the sense of touch and explain the basis of pain.
Describe the senses of taste, smell, kinesthesis, and equilibrium.
Discuss the effects of sensory restriction.
Describe the debate over the role of nature and nurture in perception and explain how illusions help us to understand perception.
Discuss Gestalt psychology’s contribution to our understanding of perception
Discuss research on depth perception involving the use of the visual cliff.
Describe the binocular and monocular cues in depth perception.
Discuss the concept of the adaptability of perception.
State the claims of ESP and explain why most research psychologists remain skeptical.
Discuss the effect of assumptions, expectations, schemas, and contexts on our perception.
Sensation and Perception Overview: Sensation refers to the process by which we detect physical energy from the environment and encode it as neural signals. This chapter describes the senses of vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell, kinethesis, and the vestibular sense. It also presents research findings from studies of sensory restriction and subliminal stimulation. In this chapter there are many terms and several theories you must understand. Many of the terms are related to the structure of the eye, ear, and other sensory receptors. Labeling diagrams and rehearsing the material frequently will help you memorize these structures and their functions. The theories discussed include signal detection, Young-Helmholtz three-color and opponent-process theories of color vision, and the frequency and place theories of pitch. As you study these theories, concentrate on understanding the strengths and weaknesses (if any) of each. The Perception unit explores how we select, organize, and interpret our sensations into meaningful perceptions. The chapter introduces a wide range of terminology, especially in the Perceptual Organization section. Each of the two sections that follow deals with an important issue. The first issue is the role of experience, as opposed to heredity, in perception. Make sure you understand the results of studies of recovery from blindness, early sensory restriction, adoption to distorted environments, and perceptual set. The second is the possible existence of ESP, perception without sensation. You should be able to discuss both the claims made for ESP and the criticisms of these claims.