AP Psych – Duez LEARNING TARGETS - Chapter 4 "Sensation & Perception" 1.

Psychophysics: Basic Concepts and Issues How is stimulus intensity related to absolute thresholds? How does Just Noticeable Difference JND fit with Weber/Fechner's Laws? Central Idea of signal-detection? Practical significance of subliminal perception, sensory adaptation, and possible evolutionary significance?

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Psychophysicists use a variety of methods to relate sensory inputs to subjective perception. They have found that absolute thresholds are not really absolute. Weber's law states that the size of a JND is a constant proportion of the size of the initial stimulus. Fechner's law states that larger and larger increases in stimulus intensity are required to produce JND in the magnitude of sensation.

Signal-detection theory = the detection of sensory inputs is influenced by noise in the system & by decisionmaking strategies. It replaces Fechner's sharp threshold w/ detect ability & emphasizes that factors besides stimulus intensity influence detect ability. 2. Our Sense of Sight: The Visual System What are the three properties of light? What do the lens, pupil, rods and cones do? How do visual receptive fields function? How are visual signals routed from the eye to the primary cortex?

Light varies in terms of wavelength, amplitude, & purity. Light enters the eye through the cornea & pupil & is focused upside down on the retina by the lens. Nearsighted = Distant objects appear blurry. Farsighted = Close objects appear blurry. Retina = neural tissues in eye, absorb light, process images, & send visual signals to the brain. Cones (in fovea) key role in daylight vision and color perception. Rods (greatest density just outside of fovea) - critical to night & peripheral vision. Dark/Light adaptation involve changes in the retina's sensitivity to light - allowing the eye to adapt to changes in illumination. Retina - transforms light into neural impulses & send info to brain through optic nerve. Receptive fields are areas in retina that affect the firing of visual cells. Optic nerves from the inside 1/2 of each eye cross at the optic chiasm & then project to the opposite side of the brain. 2 Visual Pathways send signals to different areas of the primary visual cortex. Main = routed through LGN in thalamus (subdivided into the what & where pathways engaged in parallel processing). How are additive & subtractive color mixing different? How have trichromatic & opponent process theories been reconciled to explain color vision? Difference between top-down & bottom-up processing? What is Gestalt psychology & Gestalt principles of form perception? How do perceptual hypotheses contribute to form perception? Perceptions of color (hue) are primarily a function of light wavelength, while amplitude affects brightness & purity affects saturation. 2 types of color-mixing: additive & subtractive. Human color perception depends on processes that resemble additive. Trichromatic theory = people have 3 types of receptors sensitive to red, green & blue. The opponent process theory = color perception depends on receptors that make antagonistic responses to red vs green, blue vs yellow, & black vs white. The evidence now suggests that both theories are necessary. Reversible figures & perceptual sets demonstrate that the same visual input can result in very different perceptions. According to feature analysis theories, people detect specific elements in stimuli & build them into recognizable forms through bottom-up processing. However, form perception also involves top-down processing, which progresses from the whole to the elements.

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Gestalt psychology emphasized that the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts (features), as illustrated by Gestalt principles of form perception (figure-ground, proximity, similarity, closure, & simplicity). What are some binocular and monocular depth cues? Are there cultural differences in depth perception? Why do hills look steeper than they are? What are perceptual constancies? What do optical illusions reveal about perceptual processes? Are there cultural disparities in susceptibility to illusions?

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Binocular cues such as retinal disparity & convergence can contribute to depth perception (depends primarily on monocular cues - texture gradient, linear perspective, light & shadow, interposition, relative size, & height in plane). Conscious perceptions of geographical slant (visual & verbal estimates of pitch), tend to be greatly exaggerated. Haptic (tactile) judgments seem largely immune to this perceptual bias. Perceptual constancies in vision help viewers deal with ever-shifting nature of proximal stimuli. Optical illusions demonstrate that perceptual hypotheses can be inaccurate & perceptions are not simple

reflections of objective reality (research: Muller-Lyer & Ponzo illusions). 3. Our Sense of Hearing: The Auditory System Key properties of sound & relation to auditory perceptions? Key structures in the ear in processing sound? How were central ideas of place theory & frequency theory reconciled? How are cues used to locate sounds in space?

Sound varies in terms of wavelength (frequency), amplitude, & purity. Mainly they are perceptions of pitch, loudness, & timbre. Human ear sensitive = 2000 & 4000 Hz. Brief exposure to 120+ decibels can be painful & damaging. Sound transmitted through external ear via air conduction to the middle ear, sound waves are then translated into vibration of tiny bones called ossicles. In the inner ear, fluid conduction vibrates hair cells along the basilar membrane in the cochlea (hair cells are the receptors for hearing). Place theory = pitch perception depends on where vibrations occur along the basilar membrane. Frequency theory = pitch perception depends on the rate at which the basilar membrane vibrates. Modern evidence = the theories are

complementary rather than incompatible.

Auditory localization involves locating the source of a sound in space. People pinpoint where sounds have come from by comparing interear differences in the intensity & timing of sounds. 3. Our Chemical Sense: Taste and Smell What are some binocular & monocular depth cues? Where are the receptors for taste? How many basic tastes are there? How do people vary in taste sensitivity? Where are the receptors for smell? What are the primary odors?

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Taste buds are sensitive to 4 basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Distributed unevenly across the tongue. Taste preferences = learned & heavily influenced by cultural background. Flavor influenced by odor of food.

Smell is a chemical sense. Chemical stimuli activate receptors lining the nasal passages = olfactory cilia. Most receptors respond to multiple odors. 4. Our Sense of Touch: Sensory Systems in the Skin AND Our Other Senses (Kinesthetic & Vestibular) What are tactile & thermal data routed to the brain? Gate-control theory? What does kinesthetic system and vestibular system do/monitor?

Sensory receptors in the skin respond to pressure, temperature, & pain. Tactile localization depends on receptive fields similar to those seen for vision. Some cells in the somotosensory cortex appear to function like feature detectors. There are nerve fibers that respond specifically to warmth and cold. Pain signals are sent to the brain along two pathways that are characterized as fast & slow. The perception of pain is highly subjective & may be influenced by mood, attention, and culture. Gate-control theory holds that incoming pain signals can be blocked in the spinal cord. Endorphins and a descending neural pathway appear responsible for the suppression of pain in the central nervous system.

Kinesthetic system monitors the position of various body parts. Receptors in joints/muscles send signals to the brain along the same pathways as tactile stimulation. Sense of balance is primarily dependent on activity in the semicircular canals in the vestibular system.

If you learn only 4 things from this chapter for the AP Test... 1. Perception is the interpretation of sensory information; it relies on experience. 2. The difference between sensation and perception 3. The structure and function of the eye 4. The structure and function of the ear Sensation and perception are areas that have been of interest to psychologists for most of the history of psychology. As we sit here, our senses receive literally thousands of messages. We need to make sense of this information. Our senses take in the information, and they do so from birth. Yet the interpretive part-perception-requires knowledge. In this chapter, we will discuss the first two senses and then how those senses pass the raw data on to the perceptual processes we have developed over time.

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