Psychology 205 Perception

06 Feb 03
Day 06

     Three Kinds of Adaptation definition: "Modify to suit new conditions" biology:   Darwin ­­ change in the genome so that the phenome
      better fits its ecological niche; better ­­> reproduction;       change random with selection

perception:    1. Responding to constant stimuli     2. Accommodating different ranges of stimulation    3. Accommodating different patterns of stimulation    
cortex sensory systems sensory neurons



1. Response to constant stimuli 
touch, olfaction, gustation, vision
not audition, pain, or kinesthesis


response decrement, spontaneous recovery cross­adaptation adaptation (d') vs. habituation (ß) stabilized images    
Purkinje's tree

saccades & fixations pursuit movements physiological nystagmus (eye tremors)

sensory systems like change without change they “adapt” sensation begins to go away
sometimes complete; sometimes not neural response declines

sensory organs fire less

transient cells can be thought of as rapidly adapting sustained cells can be thought of as slowly adapting 



slowly adapting


rapidly   adapting

for convenience look at rapidly adapting systems





how to test?



one test interval



2nd test interval



3rd test inteval



Result by connecting data points



adapt with one stimulus

test with a different stimulus

no crossadaptation



some cross adaptation



adaptation (d') 

change in the sensitivity d'  decreases with increased neural adaptation

but adaptation is not the only cause for a change in d' 

habituation (ß)
change in one’s bias;  possible increase in boredom,  or simply “tuning out”



stabilized images                  ­­­­­>Purkinje's tree
3 basic eye movements
1. saccades & fixations:  2. pursuit movements:  3. physiological nystagmus   
    endogenous control exogenous control eye tremors, automatic,        uncontrolled



eye movements
1. saccades & fixations:
3­4/s in reading, watching cinema, often less elsewhere fixations        ~200­300 ms; saccades ~50­100 ms saccades        up to 600°/s

2. pursuit movements:

up to 80º/s, lowered acuity (tracking not perfect) 

3. physiological nystagmus

up to 150 cycles/s; amplitude = half diameter of cone   

classical method





Process of perception:
1. One sees the content of the slide perfectly 2. Then content fades 3. Then content fades to neutral gray, not black



Approximation: stare at black dot over  time rings  will fade

Stabilized edges (Krauskopf, 1963)



alternative method, not quite as good



Stabilized edges (Krauskopf, 1963)

Importance of edges!



Filling in of color, despite the fact that the receptors are stimulated differently

Are there any stabilized images in  the real world of our natural experience?




9 of 10 photons entering the eye are absorbed before nearing the receptors; many receptors are beneath blood vessels and arteries  


optic disk


Purkinje’s   tree

2. Accommodating different ranges of stimulation
sensory systems

light & dark adaptation photopic & scotopic cones & rods mesopic ossicular dampening signal­to­noise ratios
optimality in sensory systems


light & dark adaptation:

light ­­> quick; dark ­­> slow

two light­catching systems photopic day vision, color, cones   scotopic  night vision, black and white, rods  ~500 times as sensitive after complete dark adaptation  mesopic both, room light



from text

Is there an analog in audition?

ossicular dampening



Ossicular dampening caused by muscles around ossicles


When in the midst of constant loud noise, they clench and dampen the   sound by about 6 dB, ~3x

Why not simply build a supersensitive system?
avoid the necessity of needing two (or more) systems



1. Range of neural spikes/unit time is relatively small      maximal firing = 1000 s 2. The system should avoid firing near maximal rate     for too long. Possible tissue damage; ossicular dampening.



3. Accommodating different patterns of  stimulation

re­learning using Molyneux's paradox in animals and humans Roger Sperry
neural regeneration in amphibians George Stratton, Ivo Kohler, and others   inverting lenses body schema

William Molyneux, Dioptrica Nova, 1692
Molyneux’s Paradox ­ the orientation of the visual field
Relevant to Müller VIII Molyneux’s Premise ­ depth perception Moylneux’s Conjecture ­ the blind given sight



upside down and backwards; rotated 180°



Neuroplasticity and behavior
Roger Sperry



rotate the eyes

upside down, backwards, depth wrong

switch optic nerves



In frogs and newts, no adaptation (after two years in newts) In human beings?



Dolezal Snyder & Pronko

In response to Molyneux



upside down; swinging; coordination



gradual improvement



still more improvement; left­right; swinging



gradual build up of unified sense of body and sight

Ivo Kohler after a 30­day period of adaptation to  inverting lenses



Ivo Kohler after a 30­day period of adaptation to  inverting lenses
able to drive a Vespa rapidly, weaving in an out of traffic, in  downtown Innsbruck



the return to normal: odd (but not inverted); reverse swinging;

almost gone in 1 hour; slight return the next day 

slow adaptation to new state of affairs; old schema suppressed, not changed

wedge prisms


sensorimotor adaptation


people adapt; chicks don’t

adaptation to spatial inversion and displacements are cortical,   and beyond V1


Three Kinds of Adaptation definition: "Modify to suit new conditions” biology:  perception:    1. Responding to constant stimuli 
sensory neurons    ­­>

   2. Accommodating different ranges of stimulation
sensory systems  ­­>          light/dark adaptation   ossicular dampening cortical   ­­> 

   Purkinje’s tree & lab phenomena

   3. Accommodating different patterns of stimulation    
  inverting & wedge lenses

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