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

Sensation and perception are two processes often related to each other that refer to how people receive and interpret stimuli. Learn about sensation and perception, explore how psychophysics studies the influence of external stimuli on people, discover what proprioception is, and look at two types of thresholds.

How Does Vision Work?

2. How Does Vision Work?

Vision is the act or state of seeing. Explore how vision works, discover the components of the eye and how they function, then learn how the eye processes color.

Mechanics of Hearing & How the Brain Processes Sound

3. Mechanics of Hearing & How the Brain Processes Sound

Understanding the mechanics of hearing and how it works with the individual parts of the human ear. Explore the intricacies of our sense of hearing by uncovering the idea of soundwaves, frequency, loudness, pitch, and how the brain both interprets and processes sound.

Taste, Touch & Smell: Proprioception & the Somatosensory System

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

The proprioception and the somatosensory systems govern our ability to taste, smell, and touch. Explore how these senses function and then learn how they interact and impact everyday life.

Somatosenses: Definition and Function

5. Somatosenses: Definition and Function

Somatosensation and the somatosensory system of the body interpret signals not only on the skin but also internal sensations like pain and fever. Discover the five main functions of the somatosensory system, including tactile touch, temperature sensation, pain detection, proprioception, and kinesthesis, and explore life without a properly functioning system.

Perceptual Development in Infants

6. Perceptual Development in Infants

Newborns are often overwhelmed at birth with sensory information, and take time to develop their senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Learn how the senses of touch and taste develop faster, and can be used to compensate for the slower eyesight development.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
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