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Presentation: The Sensation and Perception of Psychology

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Presentation: The Sensation and Perception of Psychology


In the first unit of this course, you learned the importance of our physiological makeup in adapting to the demands of our environment. In this unit, we take our discussion of the physiological basis of behavior one step further. First, we will examine the systems that receive sensory information about vision, hearing, taste, smell, body position, and movement. Once we determine the nature of our sensory information, we will see how we process or perceive this information to bring meaning to it.


Sensation refers to the stimulation or activation of the receptors. Sensations are the basic building blocks of perception, the process of interpreting or making sense of our sensory input. Transduction is the process by which the receptors change the energy they receive into a form that can be used by the nervous system. Adaptation occurs when continued presentation of the same stimulus results in a loss of sensitivity.

Psychophysics is the study of the relationship between the mind and the body. Weber's law relates the amount of change in a stimulus and the conscious experience of change in the stimulus. The absolute threshold is theminimum energy the can be detected 50% of the time whereas differential threshold is the smallest change that can be detected 50% of the time. Let's talk about several of our sensory systems to see how they operate.

• Vision is a process that involves the reception of electromagnetic waves by visual receptor cells.

• Audition, the sense of hearing, is initiated by the vibration of the eardrum which starts a chain reaction resulting in movement of fluid in the inner ear and the bending of specialized hair cells, which are receptors for hearing.

• The


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