Intro To Philosophy Essay

1810 words - 7 pages

CHAPTER 44.1 Sensation is the process by which sense organs gather information about the environment and transmit it to the brain for initial processing. Perception is the related process by which the brain selects, organizes, and interprets sensations. The basic senses are visual, auditory (hearing), olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), tactile (touch), and proprioception (the sense of the body's position and motion).4.2 Psychophysics is the study of the relationship between physical stimuli and the psychological experience of them. Three basic principles apply across all the senses: There is no one-to-one correspondence between physical and psychological reality; sensation and perception are active, not passive; and sensory and perceptual processes reflect the impact of adaptive pressures over the course of evolution.4.3 All senses have these features in common: they translate information, have thresholds, require constant decision making, detect changes, and are selective. Sensation begins with an environmental stimulus; all sensory systems have specialized cells called sensory receptors that respond to environmental stimuli and typically generate action potentials in adjacent sensory neurons. The process of converting stimulus information into neural impulses is called transduction. Within each sensory modality, the brain codes sensory stimulation for intensity and quality.4.4 The absolute threshold is the minimum amount of energy needed for an observer to sense that a stimulus is present. The difference threshold is the lowest level of stimulation required to sense that a change (just noticeable difference or "jnd") in stimulation has occurred. According to Weber's law, regardless of the magnitude of two stimuli, the second must differ by a constant proportion from the first for it to be perceived as different. According to Fechner's law, the magnitude of a stimulus grows logarithmically as the subjective experience of intensity grows arithmetically so that people subjectively experience only a fraction of actual increases in stimulation. According to Stevens's power law, subjective intensity increases in a linear fashion as actual intensity grows exponentially. Sensory adaptation is the tendency of sensory systems to respond less to stimuli that continue without change. Psychophysiologists are using cognitive augmentation (which involves detecting sensation intensity) to increase the challenge of video games and increase alertness in military personnel.4.5 The stimuli of the visual system are light waves (measured in nms); wavelength is experienced as hue (color) and wave height as brightness. Two basic processes occur in the eyes: Light is focused on the retina by the cornea, pupil, and lens, and the retina transduces this visual image into a code that the brain can read. The fovea, in the central region of the retina, is where vision is the sharpest, except for the blind spot where the optic nerve leaves the eye. The retina includes two...

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