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Mary Keith

Chapter 3 Critical Thinking Homework


Malcolm X College
Professor Peoples
6/28/2010

3.1 ABC's of Sensation

Sensation is the process in which stimuli from the outside world such as: light, pressure,

temperature, sound, and chemicals activate our sense organ responses. Our sense organ responses

include: vision (eyes), touch(skin), hearing(ears), taste(tongue), and smell(nose). Transduction is

the process of converting the stimuli to what we call perception or how we view the world

outside of us. Sensory receptors are specialized neurons for our sensory organs that are

stimulated by the above noted stimuli. Ernest Weber established Weber's law of just noticeable

differences (jnd) or also known as the difference threshold, which is used to detect the smallest

difference between two stimuli 50 percent of the time. Gustary Fetchner expanded on the idea by

producing the absolute threshold where the lowest level of a stimulus we can knowingly notice

50 percent of the time. Our senses are very sensitive. Subliminal stimuli describes stimuli that

that activate our sensory receptors, but goes unnoticed with our unconscious mind. While this

stimuli act on our unconscious mind we have no control of which “controls” our behavior in

relation to that stimuli, this act is named subliminal perception. In habituation, our brain prefers

only changes in information from the outside world; when that information stays the same our

brain doesn't pay attention. The sensory receptors are activated but our brain ignores the

sensation. When our sensory receptor cells become less responsive to unchanging stimuli this is

termed sensory adaptation. Without sensory adaptation, we would be aware of all stimuli that we

already encountered before and remain aware of it for a long period of time. Eyes do not have

this feature because our eyes are constantly moving due to microsaccades in the back of the eyes
thanks to these we do not go blind or our vision don't “tone down” our sight like the toning down

of other sensory receptors in sensory adaptation.

3.2 The Science of Seeing How we Perceive

Three different parts of light includes brightness, color, and saturation. Brightness is the

height of the wave of light, the higher the wave is the brighter the light is and the lower the wave

is the dimmer the light is. Color/ hue is the length or how long the waves are. Long waves are

more red that are visible to the human eye and the shorter waves are more blue. Saturation is

how pure the color is color is more saturated or intense against white wave lengths and less

saturated when white is mixed or black/ gray is mixed.

Light enters the eye through the cornea (a clear layer that protects eye; focus most light).

The aqueous humor liquid inside the eye nourishes the eye. The iris (muscular colored eye part)

houses the pupil(black hole in center of iris). The iris can dilate (open wide) to let more light in

or constrict (get smaller) to let in less light. The clear lens has the ability to change shape (visual

accommodation ) to bring objects into focus closer or farther in distance. Last but not least, the

retina is the light sensitive area in the back of the eye. The retina has three layers: ganglion cells,

bipolar cells and photo receptors (rods and cones). The photo receptors know as the rods (non

color sensitivity, low level of light) and cones(color vision and sharpness) turns this information

to a visual signal to the brain. Blind spot happens when the rods and cones leave the eye so the

eye has no vision receptors. Dark adaptation made possible by rods allows us to change from a

light state to dark state; the brighter the light the longer it takes for us to adapt. Light adaptation

is the opposite and occurs more quickly.

Trichromatic theory deals with color vision this was modified by Hermann von

Helmholtz three types of cones: red, blue, and green focus all these lights together and you get
white light. Afterimage occurs when the picture you have focused on for a period of time can still

be seen when you close your eyes or look at a blank piece of paper after pic is removed.

Opponent process theory four of the primary colors are paired such as: red and green, blue and

yellow. In this theory, when one color is stimulated the other can not work. Color blindness

comes from defective cones in the retina the person sees in gray, and is a recessive gene. Parallel

processing is the ability of the brain to simultaneously or “two at the same time” process

incoming stimuli. We divide what we see in color, motion, shape and depth and compare it to our

stored memories to identify what we see. Feature detection is when we respond specific features

such as line edges angle or movement of a visual stimulus.

3.4-3.5 The Hearing Sense

Sound waves are the vibrations of molecules. There are three features of sound waves.

Pitch is frequency (high, medium,low). Amplitude equals volume, timbre equals pureness of

sound. Noise is the static/ distractions from the outside world that reduce the pureness of our

intended sound. Noise can be internal and external. Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz) we can

only hear 20-20,000 Hz, the hertz is higher in dogs and dolphins. Higher the wave the louder the

sound, the lower the wave softer the sound in regards to amplitude or volume. Sound close

together in time is high pitch and the opposite is low pitch. The pinna is the outside part of the

ear we can see. The pinna brings sounds waves from the outside to the inside of the ear through

the ear canal to the eardrum, then as sound waves hit the eardrum the hammer, anvil and stirrup

makes oval window go back and forth, then the fluid in the cochlea vibrate, the basilar

membrane vibrate the organ of corti which moves up and makes the hair cells(sensory receptors

of hearing system) bend. The auditory nerve has bundles of axons from the hair cells in the inner

ear.
Place theory relates to different pitches are experienced by stimulation of hair cells in

different locations on the organ of corti. Frequency theory states pitch is related to the speed of

vibration in the basilar membrane.

3.6 Chemical Sense

Taste is a combination of taste and smell. Taste also know as gustation is made possible

by receptor cells known as taste buds. Taste buds line the papillae (bump like surface of tongue)

of our tongue. Taste is a chemical sense in relation to food (molecules). When the tongue is

burned chemically and temperature wise, taste is altered but when tongue heal taste returns. Five

basic taste include: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (brothy).

The sense of smell or olfactory sense collects smells. Olfactory receptor cells known as

cilia (little hairs). The olfactory bulbs (right under our frontal lobe and on top of our sinus

cavities) sends signal up to reticular formation.

3.7 Somesthetic Senses

Three somesthetic senses includes: skin sense (touch, pressure, temperature, and pain),

kinesthetic sense (sense of location of body parts in relation to the ground and each other, or

awareness of our own movement), and vestibular sense (balance, which includes our otolith

organs-the sac above the cochlea). Skin is the biggest organ. Receptors in the skin include

pacinian corpuscles beneath skin respond to pressure only. Free nerve endings respond to

changes in temperature, pressure and pain. Pain is our body's warning system the allows us to let

the pain affected area rest and heal. In the gate theory, the brain and spinal cord are responsible

for pain signals. The gate represents neural activity in the spinal cord. The gate is closed with

non pain signals we feel no pain. When substance P (pain) opens the gate the signal enters the

spinal cord then goes to the brain. Our brain then interprets this sensation and either the pain we
feel will be minimal or severe depending on our psychological state. Endorphins also hold off the

pain signal, and is also known as our internal and natural pain reliever.

3.8-3.11 The ABC's of Perception

Perception is the act of our brain's way of interpreting our sensations that makes it simple

for us as individuals to understand. A perceptual constancy is something that is unchanging. In

size constancy no matter how near or far something is it will truly stay the same size. In shape

constancy the object keeps its shape although our retina might see a slight change. Brightness

constancy is our perception of the brightness of an unchanging object in relations to bright and

darker light conditions that remains unchanged.

Gestalt principles(our tendencies in perception to see patterns and whole shapes) include:

proximity, similarity closure, continuity, and contiguity. Figure ground is perceiving objects on a

background. In proximity, if objects are close together we will put them in the same group. In

similarity if the objects look similar we will put them in the same group. Closure is the act of

completing incomplete figures, or filling in the blanks. Continuity mean that we want more

simple assembled explanations for patterns and not broken up difficult ones. Contiguity is

perceiving two things happening at the same time as related to one another.

Depth perception is our ability to see things in 3-D. Monocular cues (pictorial depth cues)

a cue of depth perception that uses one eye different types include: linear perspective (parallel

lines appear to come together the farther the lines go in distance), relative size (smaller objects

appear far away), overlap (one object in front of another the object in front is closer), aerial

perception (the farther the object the blurrier it is), texture gradient (textured surfaces get more

finer and smaller in father distance), motion parallax (motion of objects that are closer move

faster and objects farther away move slowly in relation when you move).
Accommodation changes thickness of lens to see far or close up. Binocular cues needs

both eyes includes: convergence (the closer an focused object is to our eyes our eyes almost

“cross” the farther the less our eyes “cross”), binocular disparity (the difference in how an object

looks profound when closer to eyes then when farther).

Illusions are visual stimuli that fools the eye. One of the most famous illusion include the

Muller- Lyer illusion. Perception is influenced by perceptual set because we experienced it

before and that is what we expect. In top down processing we already know what to expect so we

put the pieces together for the whole picture. In bottom up perception we don't know what to

expect so we try to figure it out piece by piece and see what we come up with.

Parapsychology studies esp and ghost most studies not involved with psychology.

Telepathy is the claimed ability to read minds. Clairvoyance is the claimed ability to see things

and people not present. Precognition is the claimed abilty to see in the future. 0.