Sensation And Perception

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Sensation is distinct from perception but most of us use these words interchangeably. After this week you should know the difference. Sensation begins with stimuli from our surroundings. This week you will be learning about the amazing mechanisms like rods and cones in the eye and hair cells in the ear that transform stimuli into neural impulse which the brain can interpret and create meaning.

Perception is what the brain does after your sensory organs have picked up and translated the stimulus.

Many students struggle with some of the underlying concepts that researchers have used to determine the range and limitations of our sensory organs.

Here are a few everyday examples of sensory experience that you can test or are familiar with that describe phenomena discussed in your book. See if you can name the concept and explain why it occurs.

Different portions of the body vary in their sensitivity to touch. Try this 2-point discrimination task with a friend.

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Bend your paperclip to make two points that are relatively parallel to each other

Have your partner shut his or her eyes, and ask them to guess if you are touching their hand with one or two points of the paperclip

Try this on various parts of the hand, arm or other parts of the body and with different distances between the two points

This next scenario represents a different S & P concept. Do you know what it is?


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Isabel has prepared three cups of coffee but can't recall how much sugar is in each. The cup with the smallest amount of sugar is easy to identify, but Isabel can't taste any difference between the other two cups even though she knows one has more sugar.


Finally, it may be a case of early onset of dementia but this happens to me more than I would like to admit. I ask my daughter,"Hey Ruby, have you seen my sunglasses anywhere?"

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Try and identify three concepts from your book or lecture this week that describe what is going on in each case.

And for those who want to know a little more background concerning our in activity in discussion section this week, check out this short article

Would you spot the gorilla?.pdf

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Surprisingly, I had never heard of the Gorilla experiment before reading "Would You Spot the Gorilla?". I find the experiment to be extremely interesting, its so hard to believe that the gorilla beat it's chest to the camera, but that some people don't even see it! I would speculate the same, that if you had a job that was detail-oriented, that you would be one of the people who noticed the gorilla and if you were really good at focusing on something that you would not notice it. For example, my roommate. She can tune out anything and I mean ANYTHING, when she has to read something or is doing homework so I would expect her to be oblivious to the gorilla. Its hard to believe that these speculations are false and that there is no scientific explanation as to why the people who notice the gorilla notice and vice versa. I wish that I would have had the chance to try out the experiment before reading about it! Except now, I'm curious to try it out on my roommate.

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This page contains a single entry by wlas0006 published on September 29, 2011 2:16 PM.

Really excited about the Amygdala was the previous entry in this blog.

Subliminal Messages is the next entry in this blog.

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