Ch 3: Importance of Sensation and Perception

About This Chapter

Discover how your senses allow you to experience the world. Learn about how each sense works and how your brain interprets the sights and sounds we encounter every day. This chapter is a fast and convenient way to get caught up in psychology class or study for a test.

About This Chapter

If you've ever been to a 3D movie, you've experienced the benefits of sensation and perception research. These movies take advantage of your brain's ability to combine two slightly different 2D images into one 3D image - which it does all the time when interpreting the images it receives from your slightly spaced-apart eyes. In general, the study of sensation and perception in psychology focuses on learning how our eyes, ears and other sense organs detect stimuli from the world around us and transfer these stimuli into signals that the brain can understand and process.

We'll introduce the field and outline the basic difference between sensation and perception: sensation is the detection of stimuli, while perception is the interpretation of them. Your eyes sense the two 2D images that make up a 3D movie, and your brain perceives them as a single 3D image.

We'll also cover the body's major senses. We have two lessons on vision, one which covers the workings of the eye and another that outlines the principles of depth perception. The mechanics of hearing gets a lesson of its own as well, focusing on how the ear turns sound waves into the signals our brains perceive as noise. In another lesson we'll cover the closely-related senses of taste and smell, while two more lessons discuss touch: one describing proprioception, the internal sense that allows the body to tell how its joints and muscles are moving, and other detailing the somatosensory system.

Finally, we devote a lesson to the fascinating process of perceptual development. Infants are born with different sensory abilities than adults. Their senses are uniquely suited to their needs; a newborn's vision isn't very sharp, but his hearing is not only fully developed but able to detect his mother's voice and prefer it to other voices.

By watching these videos on sensation and perception, we hope you'll gain a better understanding of complex and finely-tuned processes by which we take in the world around us.

6 Lessons in Chapter 3: Importance of Sensation and Perception
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Intro to Sensation and Perception

1. Intro to Sensation and Perception

What is the difference between sensation and perception, and how do they work? You'll get to see how the mind handles and differentiates between multiple sensations in this introduction.

How Does Vision Work?

2. How Does Vision Work?

How do your eyes and brain work together to turn light into images? You'll learn about the working components of the eye and take a look at two theories of color perception.

Mechanics of Hearing & How the Brain Processes Sound

3. Mechanics of Hearing & How the Brain Processes Sound

How do our ears transform sound into signals that our brains can process? In this lesson, you'll cover properties of sound waves and how they interact with key parts of the ear.

Taste, Touch & Smell: Proprioception & the Somatosensory System

4. Taste, Touch & Smell: Proprioception & the Somatosensory System

How do taste, touch and smell work? Also, what is proprioception? Throughout this lesson, you'll get a detailed description on each of these remarkable senses.

Somatosenses: Definition and Function

5. Somatosenses: Definition and Function

The somatosensory system is your sense of touch. While this sounds quite simple, there is so much more to it than just feeling things through your fingers. This lesson discusses the definition and function of the somatosenses.

Perceptual Development in Infants

6. Perceptual Development in Infants

Why are some senses more developed than others for a newborn? You'll learn which senses are initially important for infants to bond with and recognize their mothers and which one is still in development after birth.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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