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SENSATION AND PERCEPTION (THE SENSORY AND PERCEPTUAL PROCESS)

SENSATION- the part of the process by which information about the world is registered by the senses
and transmitted to the brain.
-It includes two stages: the PHYSICAL and the PSYCHOLOGICAL stage.
PHYSICAL STAGE OF SENSATION

Refers to the action of some physical stimulus on a sense organ.


For each type of sensation, there is a specific stimulus, that is, one, which is naturally ordained to
activate a particular receptor. Light will activate the eyes; sound will activate the ears, etc.
PSYCHOPHYSICS- the branch of psychology that studies the relationship between the physical nature
of stimuli and a persons sensory responses to them.
- Has played a central role in the development of the field of psychology
because
it bridges the physical world outside and the psychological world within.
Favorite study topics in psychophysics include the concepts of the stimulus thresholds and sensory
adaptation

A. ABSOLUTE THRESHOLD
-It is the smallest intensity of a stimulus that must be present for it to be detected.
SIGHT: in a dark, clear night, a candle flame can be seen at 30miles distance
HEARING: the ticking of a wall clock can be heard at a distance of 20 feet.
TASTE: one teaspoon of sugar can be discerned when dissolve in even two gallons of water.
SMELL: perfume can be detected when one drop is present in a three-room apartment
TOUCH: a bees wing falling from a distance of one centimeter can be felt on a cheek.
B. TERMINAL THRESHOLD
-It is the maximum physical energy, which can still be detected by a sense organ, and beyond
which there will be no more sensation, or a sensation of a different modality.
EXAMPLE: Sound of a too high intensity (decibels) shift from an auditory to a pain experience.
C. DIFFERENTIAL THRESHOLD
-It is the minimum amount of stimulus energy necessary to recognize the difference between two
stimuli.
EXAMPLE: Two tones must differ in a certain measurable intensity before a difference between
them is heard.
D. SENSORY ADAPTATION
-It refers to the reduction in sensitivity to stimulation as stimulation persists through time, and to
increase in sensitivity with lack of stimulation.
PSYCHOLOGICAL STAGE OF SENSATION
This stage refers to the psychological process that start with the action of the stimulus on a receptor,
which then triggers a flow of nerve impulses from the receptor to some terminal point in the nervous
system
Several aspects of a sensation can be recognized:
1. MODALITY refers to the different categories of a sensation making, for instance a visual (colors)
sensation different from an auditory (sound) sensation.
2. QUALITY-refers to the different experiences within the same modality. A sensation of blue is
different from red, and sweet is different from salty.
3. INTENSITY- It refers to a distinction in degree within the same quality.
4. DURATION- It indicates the length of a time a sensation lasts in the consciousness.
5. REACTION TIME- It refers to the time interval between the application of a sensory stimulus on a
sensory receptor and the recognition of this sensory experience as manifested in a reaction by the
subject.

5 SENSES
SENSORY TRANSDUCTION
- The process by which our sensory systems convert stimulus energy into neural messages.
1. SENSE OF SIGHT
Light(Electromagnetic Radiation)- measured in wavelengths ( move at a speed of 186,000 miles/ sec.)
Light----------Cornea-----------Pupil (Iris)----------Retina( Fovea)-------------Optic Nerves-------Occipital Lobe
VISIBLE SPECTRUM
- a range of wavelengths that humans are sensitive to.
- relatively small, ranging from 400 (violet) millimicrons to 800 (red) millimicrons
- allows us to see colors
Electromagnetic energy fall beyond the visible spectrum (400 and 800 miliimicron)
- infrared rays
- ultraviolet rays
- radar
- x-rays
- radio waves
- gamma rays
CORNEA- a transparent protective window that is constantly being washed by tears, keeping it moist and clean
PUPIL- a dark hole found in the center of the iris.
- the dimmer the surroundings, the more the pupil opens in order to allow more light to enter.
IRIS- the colored part of the eye
- blue, green, gray, and brown (depends on melanin present)
SCLERA- whit part of the eye
LENS- located directly behind the pupil
- fine focusing of light is done by the lens
- transparent and flexible and held in place by tiny ciliary muscles. This muscles contract (get shorter)
or relax ( get longer) to change the shape of the lens so that the eye can focus on near or distant
objects.
RETINA- where the electro magnetic energy of light is converted into messages that the brain can use.
- a thin layer of nerve cells at the back of the eyeball, containing two kinds of light- sensitive receptor
cells: RODS and CONES
FOVEA- a sensitive region of the retina
RODS
-long and cylindrical
- 125 million
-location: peripheral
- related to vision in dimly lit situations ( night vision)
and peripheral vision

CONES
- short and thick
- 6 million
- location: center
- responsible for the sharply focused perception of
colors and details.

The neural impulses originating from the rods and cones, are channeled through the optic nerve to the
occipital lobe of the brain where the visual center is located.
6 muscles in our eyes that wok in pairs
Between the front of the eye and the iris is an area called the front chamber- filled with transparent fluid
called aqueous humor. Between the lens and the retina is called back chamber- that contains a thicker
fluid called vitreous humor. They both helps maintain the shape of the eye.

COLOR BLINDNESS
3 Dimensions in the normal vision
1. Light- Dark
2. Yellow- Blue
3. Red- Green

TRICHROMAT- if the eye can see all dimensions


DICHROMAT- a person in addition to the light- dark dimension has only one of the two other
dimensions. Partially color blind.
MONOCHROMAT- Only dark- light dimension is intact. Totally color blind
THE PERCEPTION OF COLOR
1. HUE or QUALITY- determined by the wavelengths ( red, green. Etc)
2. SATURATION- determined by the purity of light that is reflected
3. BRIGHTNESS- determined by the intensity of light
2. SENSE OF HEARING
SOUND- movement of air molecules brought about the vibration of an object
Travels through the air in wave patterns
2 CHARACTERISTICS of SOUND WAVE
1. FREQUENCY- refers to the number of vibrations per second
- the range of audible frequencies in humans runs from 20- 20, 000 cycles per second
- being measured by Herz
2. AMPLITUDE- refers to the amount of contraction and expansion as represented by the amount by which
the curve departs from the base line
- measurement is the decibel
- when sounds get higher than 120 decibels, they become painful and exposure to such
high levels
PARTS AND ITS FUNCTION
OUTER EAR- (pinna) reverse megaphone
- designed to collect and to bring sounds into the internal portions
- helps to locate the directions from which a sound originates.
AUDITORY CANAL- where sounds in a form of wave vibrations are funneled into
- tube like passage
EARDRUM- name as such because it operates like a miniature drum, vibrating when sound waves hit it.
- the more intense the sound, the more it vibrates
- opening of the middle ear
MIDDLE EAR- where vibrations coming from the eardrum are transmitted to.
- act as a tiny mechanical amplifier making us aware of sound that would otherwise go unnoticed
- contains just 3 bones
- hammer (malleus)
- anvil (incus)
- stirrup ( stapes)
* function is to transmit vibrations to the oval window- a thin membrane leading to the inner ear.
* acts a set of levels
INNER EAR- the portion of the ear that actually changes the sound vibrations into a form that allows them to
be transmitted to the auditory center of the temporal lobe of the brain
- contains the organs that allow us to locate our position and determine how we are moving
trough space.
COCHLEA- a coiled tube filled with fluid that looks something like a snail.
- enables us to hear the sound
BASIL MEMBRANE- organ of corti
- located inside the cochlea
- covered with hair cells

When the vibrations entering the cochlea bend these hair cells, a neural message is transmitted to the
brain.

PSYCHOLOGICAL STAGE
1. PITCH- psychological correlate of the frequency of a sound
- a slow frequency produces a low bass tone

- a rapid frequency gives a high soprano tone


2. INTENSITY- loudness dimension of a sound
- depends upon the amplitude of the sound waves.
3. TIMBRE/ TONE QUALITY- difference between a tone quality of the same pitch and the same intensity but
given off by a different source.
4. DIRECTION OF A SOUND
A. Difference in time of arrival
- sound travels 1, 100 feet/ second
- when the sound source is exactly in front or at the back of us, the sound waves will affect the
ears at the same time.
- when the sound source is directly opposite one ear, the difference in time of arrival at the two
ears is almost one half millisecond.
B. Difference in intensity
- sound becomes weaker in going around the head to reach the other ear.
5. DISTANCE OF A SOUND
Cues: Intensity
Frequency composition
- Distant sounds are much weaker than near sounds.
- High frequencies are more easily absorbed while traveling trough the air than low frequency
- Low frequency sound can be herd much further than a high frequency sound
6. AUDITORY SENSITIVITY
- Auditory perception is quite selective according to a predisposition- we hear those we just want to hear
PLACE THEORY- presumes that we hear different pitches because different sound waves trigger
activity at different places along the cochleas basilar membrane.
- explain high- pitched sounds but not low-pitched- because the neural signals they
generate are not so neatly localized on the basilar membrane

3. THE SENSE OF SMELL


-

the most primitive and most important of the senses


has a prominence in the head appropriate to guide behavior
smell has a route from the olfactory receptors to the olfactory center in the brain that is more direct
than in the case for any other sense.
- Most animals below man have a relatively superior olfactory sense
- Human beings have a relatively inferior olfactory sense
- 20,000 times more sensitive than taste
- Can identify 10, 000 different smells
PHYSICAL STAGE
1. VOLATILITY- stimuli for the olfactory sense must be vaporizable, releasing air- borne molecules
2. FAT SOLUBILITY- Olfactory stimuli must be able to dissolve in fats.
PHYSIOLOGICAL STAGE
OLFACTORY CELLS- receptors for smell
- at least 1000 separate receptor cells have been identified so far
- have hair like structures that stick out into the air and are capable of
transforming the passing molecules into nerve impulses that can be used by the
brain.
- these receptors are grouped on the left and right side of these passages, a little of
main route of the air when the air moves through the nose in normal breathingas a result our sense of smell is relatively weak when we are breathing quietly.
OLFACTORY EPITHELIUM- where the olfactory cells are located
- high up in the passage of the nose leading from the nostrils to the throat

ANOSMIA- a condition where in olfactory disappears when the hair- like structures are destroyed.
NASAL CAVITY- a passage
- can see layers of bone (turbinates) direct most air down into the lungs
Nerve fibers carrying messages from the smell receptors pass through a layer of bone at the top of each
nasal cavity and meet in the olfactory bulb that carries nerve impulses to the brain.
Through the olfactory nerve the sensations go to the olfactory center in the cerebral cortex
The sensory adaptation for the sense of smell is extremely marked: it fatigues rapidly, and recovers
slowly.
Odorous sensations change quality when odorant concentration changes.
PSYCHOLOGICAL STAGE
Henning:

1. Flowery
2. Fruity
3. Spicy
4. Burnt
5. Putrid
6. Resinous
- other odors are supposed to be mixtures of these qualities

Most odorous sensations are interpreted as perceptions of something- we even lack a vocabulary to
designate our olfactory sensations.
Olfactory perceptions may be modified by visual perceptions ex. Odor of onions
Odorous perceptions have a significant industrial importance

4. THE SENSE OF TASTE


-

substances evoking gustatory sensations, are characterized by a single physical property- thy
dissolve in water or saliva to contact the taste receptors

TASTE BUDS- receptors for taste


- found in papillae at the surface of the tongue
SWEET- at the tip of the tongue
SALTY- just behind the sweet receptors
SOUR- at the sides of the tongue
BITTER- at the rear of the tongue

The number of taste buds decreases with age, so that older people become less sensitive to taste
The different taste areas on the tongue corresponds to different locations in the brain
Neurons responding to sour and bitter tastes are located together on one end of the area of the cerebral
cortex corresponding to taste
Sweet taste stimulate neurons on the opposite end of the cortex.
Salty taste stimulate neurons that are distributed across the entire taste area of the cortex
The sense of taste fatigues rapidly ( sensory adaptation) but also recovers rapidly

5. SENSE OF TOUCH- SOMESTHESIS


- At least four senses: touch, pain, warmth, and cold
- these skin senses derive from a common source: the skin
- four types of sensory spots are scattered as surface points on the skin; each type of surface point is
sensitive only to warmth stimuli, or to cold stimuli, or to pressure stimuli, or to pain stimuli.

The sensory spots are unequally distributed


- For the four sensation- pain spots are most numerous over the entire body surface- followed by
pressure, cold and warmth ( the sensitivity for pain serves the purpose of preventing major bodily
harm)

With in each sensation: for example: sensory spots for pressure are more numerous on the shoulder,
the back and the legs.
Extremely intense stimuli always evoke pain, irrespective of the sensory spot stimulated.

Sensory spots, except for pain, fatigue rapidly as evidenced by sensation loss.
Simple pressure and pain perceptions are easily modified by cognitive and emotional factors. Gloves,
clothes are no perceived unless attention is drawn to their diffuse pressure pattern. Pain from an open
wound is often not perceived unless attention is drawn to oozing blood.

6. THE MUSCLE SENSE- KINESTHESIS


- Includes muscle position and muscle movement.
- Muscles and joints containing internal receptors responding to little understood internal stimuli,
give rise to sensations of self- location and self- propelled movement.
- Extremely sensitive; it can detect arm and leg movements of less than three tenths of one
degree.
- Gives essential information for efficient adjustment of the organism
- All motor acts such as walking, dressing, eating, shaving are dependent upon kinesthetic
impressions for their skillful execution.
7. THE SENSE OF EQUILIBRIUM ( Vestibular Proprioception)
- Deals with the total body position in relation to gravity, and with the motion of the body as a whole.
- The total body position is sensitive to changes in the speed of rotation of the head which affect the
semi- circular canals in the inner ear.
- The motion of the body as a whole is sensitive to changes in the speed of movement, and changes in
gravity, which stimulate the receptors in the vestibular portion of the ear.
- It regulates the complex mechanism of bodily balance.
- Disequilibrium can be illustrated by feelings of nausea, light- headedness, and dizziness after riding a
ferrys wheel.
- Motion- sickness and sea- sickness are further examples of a sense of equilibrium in disarray.
EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION
-

ESP
The acquisition by the mind of some information, which could not have been perceived by the
normal sense.
It refers to perceptions that require no sense organ stimulation.

SOME PHENOMENA IN THE FIELD OF ESP ARE:


TELEPATHY- a process of thought transference from one person to another. People gifted with
telepathy can read another persons mind.
CLAIRVOYANCE- the ability to perceive events or objects that are hidden from sight.
PRECOGNITION- the ability to predict the future, to know events yet to take place
PSYCHOKINESIS- the ability to influence physical events by sheer mental concentration.