Sensation and Perception
After completing this chapter you should be able to:
- Distinguish between the processes of sensation and perception and consider whether these processes are separate or linked.
- Explain the concepts of absolute and difference thresholds and how these are derived.
- Discuss vision as a sensory process. Consider the properties of light waves and distinguish between the major structures of the human eye. Explain the processes of dark and light adaptation.
- Discuss how the eye, visual pathways, and the visual cortex are involved in visual sensation. Compare the trichromatic and opponent-process theories of color vision (e.g., at what level do each seem to work).
- Discuss audition. Consider the properties of sound waves. Examine the auditory system, including the structures of the ear and the auditory cortex.
- Discuss the adaptive aspects of normal hearing, including auditory localization. Consider types of hearing impairment and the impact of environmental noise on hearing.
- Examine the olfactory sensory modality and discuss the processes involved in the sensation of smell. Consider the factors (e.g., age, individual differences, gender) that affect the sense of smell. Discuss whether pheromones affect human behavior.
- Consider the sensation of taste. Distinguish between types of taste and individual differences in taste sensitivity.
- Discuss the sensation of touch and what distinguishes this sensation from others. Distinguish between active and passive touch. Consider the four basic types of sensation involved in touch.
- Examine the factors that affect the sensation of temperature.
- Consider the sensation of pain and distinguish between gate-control theory and psychological control as ways of decreasing pain awareness.
- Consider the sensory systems involved in coordination (e.g., kinesthetic and vestibular).
- Discuss how sensory adaptation and selective attention enable the human sensory systems to respond to only particular types of information without confusion.
- Explain the process of perceptual organization. Define the concept of figure and ground and list and explain the five Gestalt "laws" of grouping.
- Discuss the two types of perceptual constancy. Define size and shape constancy and discuss factors that affect these tendencies.
- Consider the factors involved in depth perception; namely, binocular depth cues and monocular depth cues. Discuss whether depth perception is inborn or learned from experience.
- Define the concept of perceptual set and examine how prior experiences and expectations can influence perception.
- Define extrasensory perception. Examine the evidence both for and against ESP.