chapter 4 note sheet

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Chapter 4: Sensation and Perception
Vision: The Stimulus
Light = electromagnetic radiation
– Amplitude: perception of brightness
– Wavelength: perception of color
– Purity: mix of wavelengths
• perception of saturation, or richness of colors.
The Eye: A Living Optical Instrument
The eye: housing and channeling
– Cornea: where light enters the eye
– Lens: focuses the light rays on the retina
– Iris: colored ring of muscle, constricts or dilates via amount of light
– Pupil: regulates amount of light
The Retina: The Brain’s Envoy in the Eye
Retina: absorbs light, processes images
Optic disk: optic nerve connection/blind spot
Receptor cells:
– Rods: black and white/low light vision
– Cones: color and daylight vision
• Adaptation: becoming more or less sensitive to light as needed
Information processing:
– Receptive fields
– Lateral antagonism
Vision and the Brain
Light  rods and cones  neural signals  optic nerve  optic chiasm 
opposite half brain
– dorsal: where
– ventral: what
Information Processing in the Visual Cortex
Early 1960s: Hubel and Wiesel
– Microelectrode recording of axons in primary visual cortex of animals
– Discovered
feature detectors: neurons that respond selectively to lines,
edges, etc.
Groundbreaking research: Nobel Prize in 1981
Later research: cells specific to faces in the temporal lobes of monkeys and
The Stimulus for Color
Wavelength determines color
– Longer = red / shorter = violet
Amplitude determines brightness
Purity determines saturation
Theories of Color Vision
Trichromatic theory - Young and Helmholtz
– Receptors for red, green, blue – color mixing
Opponent Process theory – Hering
– 3 pairs of antagonistic colors
red/green, blue/yellow, black/white
Current perspective: both theories necessary
Perceiving Forms, Patterns, and Objects
Reversible figures
- drawing that is compatible with two interpretations that can shift back and
Perceptual sets
- is a readiness to perceive a stimulus in a particular way.
Inattentional blindness
- blindness involves the failure to see fully visible objects or events in a
visual display
Feature detection theory - bottom-up processing
Form perception - top-down processing
Subjective contours
- a phenomenon whereby contours are perceived where none actually exist,
attributed to top-down processing.
Gestalt psychologists: the whole is more than the sum of its parts
– Reversible
figures and perceptual sets demonstrate that the same visual
stimulus can result in very different perceptions
Principles of Perception
Gestalt principles of form perception:
– Recent
figure-ground, proximity, closure, similarity, simplicity, and continuity
Perceptual hypotheses
Perceiving Depth or Distance
Binocular cues – clues from both eyes together
Monocular cues – clues from a single eye
– retinal disparity
– convergence
– motion parallax
– accommodation
– pictorial depth cues
Perceptual Constancies in Vision
Perceptual constancies – stable perceptions amid changing stimuli
– Size
– Shape
– Brightness
– Hue
– Location in space
The Power of Misleading Cues: Visual Illusions
Optical Illusions - discrepancy between visual appearance and physical reality
Famous optical illusions: Muller-Lyer Illusion, Ponzo Illusion, Poggendorf
Illusion, Upside-Down T Illusion, Zollner Illusion, the Ames Room, and
Impossible Figures
Cultural differences: Perceptual hypotheses at work
Hearing: The Auditory System
Stimulus = sound waves (vibrations of molecules traveling in air)
– Amplitude (loudness)
– Wavelength (pitch)
– Purity (timbre)
Wavelength described in terms of frequency: measured in cycles per second
– Frequency increase = pitch increase
Sensory Processing in the Ear
External ear (pinna): collects sound
Middle ear: the ossicles (hammer, anvil, stirrup)
Inner ear: the cochlea
– a fluid-filled, coiled tunnel
– contains the hair cells, the auditory receptors
– lined up on the basilar membrane
Theories of Hearing: Place or Frequency?
Hermann von Helmholtz (1863)
Other researchers (Rutherford, 1886)
Georg von Bekesy (1947)
– Place theory
– Frequency theory
– Traveling wave theory
The Chemical Senses: Taste
Taste (gustation)
Physical stimulus: soluble chemical substances
– Receptor cells found in taste buds
Pathway: taste buds -> neural impulse -> thalamus -> cortex
– Four primary tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty
– Taste: learned and social processes
The Chemical Senses: Smell
Smell (Olfaction)
Physical stimuli: substances carried in the air
– dissolved in fluid, the mucus in the nose
– Olfactory receptors = olfactory cilia
Pathway: Olfactory cilia -> neural impulse -> olfactory nerve -> olfactory bulb
– Does not go through thalamus
Skin Senses: Touch
Physical stimuli = mechanical, thermal, and chemical energy impinging on the skin.
Receptive fields
Pain receptors: free nerve endings in skin
– Two pain pathways: fast vs. slow
– Gate-control theory

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