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NYU / Psychology / PSY 0002 / How are some blind people able to navigate their worlds?

How are some blind people able to navigate their worlds?

How are some blind people able to navigate their worlds?


School: NYU School of Medicine
Department: Psychology
Course: Introduction to Psychology and Its Principles
Professor: Adina schick
Term: Spring 2016
Cost: 25
Name: Chapter 4 Outline
Description: An outline of Chapter Four, The headings and information correspond to those you would find in the textbook Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Namy, L. L., & Woolf, N. J (2014). Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Uploaded: 02/07/2016
20 Pages 155 Views 1 Unlocks

Reading: Chapter 4

How are some blind people able to navigate their worlds?

Illusion: perception in which the way we perceive a stimulus does not match its physical reality

Sensation: detection of physical energy by sense organs, which then send information to the brain

Perception: the brain’s interpretation of raw sensory inputs

We often blend the real with the imagined, going beyond the information given to us. By doing so, we simplify the world, and often make better sense of it in the process of Filling in.

Sensation first allows us to pick up the signals in our environments, and perception then allows us to assemble these signals into something meaningful

Sensation: Our Senses as Detectives 

Senses basic principles

What are odors and flavors?

Transduction: going from the outside world to Within 

First Step: converting external energies or substances into a “language’ the nervous system understands

Transduction: the process by which the nervous system converts an external stimulus, like light or sound, into electrical signals within neurons

Sense receptor: specialized cell responsible for converting external stimuli into neural activity for a specific sensory system We also discuss several other topics like Why does defining the population matter?

Sensation is greatest when we first detect a stimulus, then a declination of reaction occurs

Sensory Adaptation: activation is greatest when a stimulus is first detected Psychophysics: Measuring The Barely Detectable 

Psychophysics: The study of how we perceive sensory stimuli based on their physical characteristics

When we can’t see or perceive visually?

Absolute Threshold: Lowest level of stimulus needed for the nervous system to detect a change 50 percent of the time We also discuss several other topics like What is the difference between apes and monkeys?

demonstrate how sensitive our sensory systems are

Just Noticeable Difference 

Just Noticeable Difference (JND): The smallest change in the intensity of a stimulus that we can detect

relevant to our ability to distinguish a stronger from a weaker stimulus, kuje a soft noise from a slightly louder noise If you want to learn more check out Does crime prevention include other professions, other than criminal justice?

Weber’s Law: There is a constant proportional relationship between the JND and original stimulus intensity

The stronger the stimulus, the bigger the change needed for a change in stimulus intensity to be noticeable

Signal Detection Theory 

Signal Detection Theory: theory regarding how stimuli are detected under different conditions

ex. figuring out what a friend is saying on a cell phone when there’s a lot of static connection

Signal - to -noise ratio: It becomes harder to detect a signal as background noise increases

Response Biases: tendencies to make one type of guess over another when we’re in doubt about whether a weak signal is present or absent under noisy conditions

People report sound when present: true positive

People report sound that wasn’t there: false positive

People deny hearing a sound when present: false negative Don't forget about the age old question of What are the challenges to church authority?

People deny hearing a sound that wasn’t there: true negative

Sensory Systems Stick to One Sense - Or do they? 

Johannes Muller proposed the doctrine of specific nerve energies: even though there are many distinct stimulus energies (light, sound, touch) the sensation we experience is determined by the nature of the sense receptor, not the stimulus We also discuss several other topics like What are the evidences they got during the earliest life evolution?

ex. rubbing your eyes and seeing vivid sensations of light

[phosphenes] caused by pressure on your eye’s receptor cells

McGurk Effect: demonstrates that we integrate visual and auditory information

when processing spoken language and our brains automatically calculate the most probable sound given the information from the two sources

ex. hearing the audio track of one syllable (ba) spoken repeatedly while seeing a video track of a different syllable being spoke (ga) produces the perceptual experience of a different hird sound (da)

Sir Francis Galton - first to describe synthesia

a condition in which people experience cross-modal sensations

ex. hearing sounds when they see colors

The Role of Attention 

Selective Attention: How We Focus On Specific Inputs 

Selective Attention: process of selecting one sensory channel and ignoring or minimizing others

Donald Broadbent’s filter theory of attention: views attention as a bottleneck through which information passes Don't forget about the age old question of Who are examples of great leaders?

mental filter enables us to pay attention to important stimuli and ignore others \

Tested theory using dichotic listening: participants hear two different messages, one delivered to the left ear and one to the right ear.

When asked to ignore messages delivered to one of the ears, they seemed to know little or nothing about these messaged

Anne Treisman retested experiment and found the information we’ve supposedly filtered out of our attention is still being processed at some level - event when we’re not aware of it

Cocktail Party Effect: our ability to pick out an important message, like our name, in a conversation that doesn’t involve us

Tells us: the filter inside our brain, which selects what will and won’t receive our attention, is more complex than just an “on” or “off” switch. Even when seemingly “off”, it’s ready to spring into action if it perceives something significant

Inattentional Blindness 

Inattentional Blindness: failure to detect stimuli that are in plain sight when our attention is focused elsewhere

demonstrate: we often need to pay close attention to pick out even dramatic changes in our environment

ex. you’re too busy counting the number of times a person can shoot a basketball to notice a woman in a gorilla costume running across the court

Change Blindness: a failure to detect obvious change in one’s environment

particular concern for airplane pilots - fail to notice another plane taxiing across the runway as they’re preparing to land

The Binding Problem: Putting the pieces Together 

Binding Problem: scientist inability to figure out how once the brain obtains all the information necessary, binds it together into a unified whole. Mind’s ability to seamlessly combine these visual cues into a unified perception of a scene

hypothesis: rapid, coordinated activity across multiple cortical areas assists in binding

Light: The Energy of Life 

Light: a form of electromagnetic energy- energy composed of fluctuating electric and magnetic waves

Visible light = wavelength in the hundreds of nanometers

Human Visible Spectrum - the narrow range of wavelength that humans respond to

brightness is influenced directly by the intensity of the reflected light that reaches our eyes. Also depends on the overall lighting surrounding the object

white objects reflects all light

black objects absorb all light

Hue: color of light

3 primary colors: blue red and green

Additive color mixing: the mixing of varying amounts of the primary colors to produce another color

subtractive color mixing: the mixing of colored pigments in paint or ink The Eye: How We Represent the Visual Realm 

Parts of the Eye 

Fovea: The part of the retina where light rays are most sharply focused Lens: Transparent disk that focuses light rays for near or distant vision Cornea: Curved transparent dome that bends incoming light

Pupil: opening in the center of the iris that lets in light

Iris: colored area containing muscles that control the pupil

Fovea: The part of the retina where light rays are most sharply focused Optic Nerve: Transmits impulses from the retina to the rest of the brain

Retina: innermost layer of the eye, where incoming light is converted into nerve impulses

Eye Muscle: One of six surrounding muscles that rotate the eye in all directions

How Light Enters The Eye 

Structures toward the front of the eyeball influence how much light enters our eye, and they focus the incoming light rays to form an image at the back of the eye

The Sclera, Iris, and Pupil 

Sclera: white of the eye

Iris: colored part of the ye

controls how much light enters our eye

Pupil: circular hole through which light enters the eye

closing of pupil is a reflex response to light or objects coming toward us Dilation (expansion) of the pupil has psychological significance

Pupils Dilate:

trying to process complex information

we view someone we find physically attractive

reflect sexual interest: which is why people find those with larger

pupils more attractive

The Cornea, Lens, and Eye Muscles 

Cornea: curves transparent, layer covering the iris and pupil.

Its shape bends incoming light to focus the incoming visual image at the back of the eye

Lens: Part of the eye that changes curvature to keep images in focus

The lens’ cells are completely transparent, allowing light to pass through them

Accommodation: lenses change shape to focus light on the back of the eye, adapt to different perceived distances of objects

Flat Lens (long and skinny): enables people to see distant objects

Fat Lens (short and wide): enables people to focus on nearby objects The Shape of the Eye 

How much our eyes need to bend the path of light to focus properly depends on the curve of our corneas and overall shape of our eyes

Myopia: (nearsightedness) results when images are focused in front of the rear of the eye due to our cornea being too steep or our eyes too long

The ability to see close objects well and the inability to see far objects well

Hyperopia (farsightedness): results when our cornes is too flat or our eyes too short

an ability to see far objects well coupled with an inability to see near objects well

The Retina: Changing Light Into Neural Activity 

Retina: a thin membrane at the back of the eye

retina = “movie screen” onto which light from the world is projected Fovea: the central part of the retina and is responsible for acuity

Acuity: sharpness of vision

Rods and Cones

Light passes through the retina to sense receptor cells located in its outermost layer

Two types of receptor cells

Rods: long and narrow, enable us to see basic shapes and forms

rely on rods to see in low levels of light

Dark Adaptation: time in dark before rods regain maximum light


Cones: receptor cells in the retina allowing us to see in color

require more light than rods

sensitive to detail

Photopigments: chemicals that change following exposure to light

Photopigment in rods: rhodopsin

The Optic Nerve

Ganglion Cells: cells in the retinal circuit that contain axons, bundle all their axons together and depart the eye to reach the brain

Optic nerve, travels from the retina to the rest of the brain

contains the axons of ganglion cells

Optic Chiasm: The fork in the road that the optic nerves arrive at once they leave the eye.

half of the axons cross in the optic chiasm, the other half stay on the same side

Blind Spot: the place where optic nerve connects to the retina. A part of the visual field that we can’t see

region of the retina with no rods or sense receptors

axons of ganglion cells push everything else aside

How We Perceive Shape and Contour 

Hubel & Weisel: scientists who uncovered the mystery of shape and contour

Many cells in V1 respond to slits of light of a specific orientation (vertical, horizontal, oblique)

Simple Cells: display “yes-no” responses to slits of a specific orientation, but they need to be in a specific location

Complex cells: orientation-specific, but their responses are less restricted to one location

Feature Detection: our ability to use certain minimal patterns to identify objects Feature detector cells: cells that detects lines and edges

How We Perceive Color 

Trichromatic Theory: Proposes that we base our color vision on three primary colors - blue, green, and red

Dovetails with our having three kinds of cones, each maximally sensitive to different wavelengths of light

Color blindness: inability to see some or all colors

most often due to the absence or reduced number of one or more types of cones stemming from genetic abnormalities

another cause is is damage to a brain area related to color vision

Monochromats: have only one type of cone and thereby lose all color vision

Dichromats: have two cones and are missing only one

trichromats (humans, apes, and some monkeys): possess three kinds of cones

Opponent Process Theory: Theory that we perceive colors in terms of three pairs of opponent colors: either red or green, blue or yellow, or black or white.

Arose because the Trichromatic Theory failed to account for Afterimages: when we stare at a color for a long time and then look away, the color is replaced with another

When We Can’t See or Perceive Visually 


Commonly occur from Cataracts or Glaucoma

Cataracts: a clouding of the lens of the eye

Glaucoma: a disease that causes pressure on the eye and damages the optic nerve

Touch is believed to be enhanced when one is blind. (controversial, not definite)

Blindsight: How are some blind people able to navigate their worlds? 

Blindsight: the ability of blind people with damage to their cortex to make correct g uesses about the appearance of things around them  

People with blindsight have suffered damage to V1, the primary visual corte x, so that route of information flow to visual association areas is blocked. Co arser visual information still reached the visual association cortex through a n alternative pathway and bypasses V1.

Echolocation: the ability to emit sounds and listen to their echoes to determine the ir distance from a wall or barrier

evidence to prove humans are capable of a crude form of echolocation

When using echolocation, parts of the brain associated with visual images i n sighted people become highly active

Visual Agnosia: 

Visual agnosia: a deficit in perceiving objects

a person with this condition can tell the shape and color of an object, but ca n’t recognize or name it

Sound: Mechanical Vibration 

Vibration: mechanical energy traveling through the air  


Pitch: corresponds to the frequency of the wave

higher frequency= higher pitch

lower frequency = lower pitch

measured in cycles per second, hertz (Hz)

Human ear can pick up frequencies ranging from about 20 to 20,000 Hz Younger people are more sensitive to higher pitch tones than older adults  Loudness 

The amplitude (height) of the sound wave corresponds to loudness (dB) Loud noise = increase in wave amplitude


the quality or complexity of the sound

 musical instruments/human voices sound different because they differ in timbre

The Structure and Function of the Ear 

Ear has three different parts: middle, inner, outer  

Outer Ear:  

consists of the pinna (the skin and cartilage flap) and ear canal

has the simplest function

funnels sound waves onto the eardrum

Middle Ear:  

Contains the ossicles

the three tiniest bones in the body, named the hammer, anvil, and

stirrup after the shapes  

vibrates at the frequency of the sound wave, transmitting it from the eardrum to the inner ear

Inner Ear:  

Sound wave enters the cochlea (bony, spiral-shaped sense organ used for hearing) and converts vibration into neural activity.  

Inner of the Cochlea is filled with thick fluid . Vibrations from sound waves disturb this fluid and travel tot he base of the cochlea - pressure is released and transduction occurs  

Located in inner ear: Organ of Corti, and basilar membrane  

Organ of Corti: tissue containing the hair cells necessary for hearing  basilar membrane: membrane supporting the organ of Corti and hair cells in the cochlea  

Hair cells convert acoustic information into action potentials  

at the base of the basilar membrane: most excited by high-pitched tones

at the top of the basilar membrane: most excited by low-pitched


Place Theory: specific place along the basilar membrane matches a tone with a specific pitch  

Frequency Theory: rate at which neurons fire the action potential

reproduces the pitch

works until 100 Hz

Volley Theory: a variation of frequency theory that works for tones between 100 and 5,000Hz  

sets of neurons fire at their highest rate, slightly out of sync with each other to reach overall rates up to 5,000Hz

When We Can’t Hear 

Conductive Deafness: Due to a malfunctioning of the ear, especially a failure of the eardrum or the ossicles of the inner ear

Nerve Deafness: due to damage to the auditory nerve  

Noise-induced hearing loss: damage to our hair cells caused by loud sounds, especially those that last a long time or are repeated  

accompanied with a ringing sound in ears  

Most loose hearing with age - due to the loss of sensory cels and regeneration of the auditory nerve  

Smell and Taste: The Sensual Senses 

Smell = olfaction (our sense of smell)  

Taste = gustation (our sense of taste)  

Seem + Taste are chemical senses - we derive these sensory experienced form chemicals in substances

The avg. dog is at least 100,000 times more sensitive to smell than humans  Using smell and taste to develop food preferences for “safe” foods and base them on a combination of smell and taste - we like what smells and tastes good to us  

What Are Odors and Flavors? 

Odors: airborne chemicals that interact with receptors in the lining of our nasal passages  

our noses are capable of detecting between 2,000 and 4,000 diff. odors  Humans are sensitive to five basic tastes





umami ( meaty or savory taste)  

There’s preliminary evidence for a sixth taste for fatty foods

Sense Receptors for Smell and Taste 

Olfactory genes = smell genes

humans have over 1,000

347 code for olfactory receptors  

Olfactory neurons recognize an odorant on the basis of its shape  

Taste Bud: Sense receptor in the tongue that responds to sweet, salty, sour, bitter, mani and perhaps fat.  

Each individual taste receptor on the tongue is slightly sensitive to all tastes  certain sections of the tongue, however, are more prone to certain tastes  Umami taste receptors were controversial, but now are considered to be the fifth taste  They were found to have a lot of the neurotransmitter glutamate  

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) - derivative of glutamate - is a well known flavor enhancer

Taste receptors for fat are controversial  

As soon as fat touches the tongue, it affects our bodies’ metabolism of fat  Not triggered by olfactory receptor of fat: smelling fat does nothing, have to put fat on tongue  

Super Tasters: people with an overabundance of taste buds

sensitive to oral pain and tend to avoid bitter tastes as a result  

With so little variety in taste receptors, we mostly rely on smells to guide us. Our taste perception is biased strongly by our sense of smell  

Olfactory and Gustatory Perception 

After odor interacts with sense receptors in the nasal passages, the resulting information enters the brain, reading the olfactory cortex and parts of the limbic system  After taste information interacts with tastebuds, it enters the brain, reaching a taste - related area called gustatory cortex, somatosensory cortex (food has texture), and parts of the limbic system.  

A region of frontal cortex = a site of convergence for smell and taste  

Parts of the limbic system - amygdala- help us to distinguish pleasant from disgusting smells  

Gustatory cortex is activated when tasting disgusting food and viewing facial expressions of disgust  

damage to the gustatory cortex = don’t experience disgust  

Emotional disorders (anxiety & depression) can distort taste perception  serotonin and norepinephrine ( chemical messengers whose activity is enhanced by antidepressants) make us more sensitive to taste  

Pheromone: odorless chemical that serves as a social signal to members of one’s species  

alter sexual behavior  

Vomeronasal organ [ located between nose and mouth ]is used to detect pheromones  

humans don’t develop the organ  

Nerve Zero - used by humans in replacement for pheromones  

When We Can’t Smell or Taste

Damage to the olfactory nerve (and brain damage) can damage our sense of smell and ability to identify orders  

dangerous: may not detect gas leak  

Loss of taste may cause one to eat less  

taste can serve as a psychological flavoring that helps to ward of disease by boosting appetite  

Our Body Senses: Touch, Body Position, and Balance 

Somatosensory: the sense of touch, temperature, and pain  

Proprioception (kinesthetic sense): the sense of body position  

Vestibular Sense: the sense of equilibrium or balance  

The Somatosensory System: Touch and Pain  

Pressure, Temperature, and Injury 

Somatosensory system responds to stimuli applied to skin, temperature and injury.  Specialized and Free Nerve Endings In The Skin 

Specialized nerve endings at the ends of sensory nerves on the skin are used to sense touch, pressure, and temperature  

Free Nerve Endings are used to sense touch, temperature, and especially pain  far more plentiful than specialized nerve endings  

Nerve endings are spread unevenly across the body  

most located at fingertips, then lips, face, hands, and feet  

fewest in middle of back

How We Perceive Touch and Pain  

Information of touch, temperature, and pain travel in somatic nerves before entering spinal cord

Touch information travels more quickly than pain stimuli information  

Touch and pain have different functions:

touch informs of immediate surroundings and urgent matters

pain alerts us to take care of injuries  

Painful stimuli trigger the withdrawal reflex  

ex. touch a fire and pull away immediately  

Pain and touch information -> spinal reflexes -> brain sites dedicated to perception -> somatosensory cortex  


pain-producing stimulus has a threshold, a point at which we perceive it as painful  

Pain has large emotional component

pain information-> partly somatosensory cortex and partly limbic centers  associated with anxiety, uncertainty, and helplessness

Gate Control Model: idea that pain is blocked or gated from consciousness by neural mechanisms in spinal cord  

pain varies from situation to situation depending on our psychological state  Phantom Limb Illusion  

Phantom Pain: Pain or discomfort felt in an amputated limb  

50-80% of amputees experiences phantom limb sensations  

Mirror box: a treatment for phantom limb pain  

patients position their other lib so that it’s reflected (in mirror) in exactly the position that the amputated limb would assume.

When We Can’t Feel Pain 

Pain insensitivity

extremely rare

completely unable to detect painful stimuli

might chew off a body part and not realize  

Some are able to identify the type of pain, but experience no significant discomfort from it

Proprioception and Vestibular Sense: Body Position and Balance  

Proprioception (Kinesthetic Sense)- our sense of body position  

Vestibular Sense: sense of equilibrium or balance  

Proprioceptors: Telling The Inside Story  

Use proprioceptors to sense muscle stretch and force

Two kinds of proprioceptors

stretch receptors embedded in our muscles  

force detectors embedded in our muscle tendons  

Proprioceptor information -> spinal cord -> brain stem & thalamus. Brain combine information from our muscles and tendons to obtain a perception of our body’s location  

Vestibular Sense: A Balancing Act  

Semicircular Canals: Three fluid-filled canals in the inner ear responsible for our sense of balance  

Vestibular information  

reaches parts of the brain stem that control eye muscles and triggers reflexes that coordinate eye and head movements

travel to the cerebellum - controls bodily responses that enables us to catch our balance when we’re falling  

Ergonomic: Human Engineering

Human Factors: a field of psychology that optimizes technology to better suit our sensory and perceptual capabilities  

Parallel Processing: The Way Our Brain Multitasks  

Parallel Processing: The ability to attend to many sense modalities simultaneously  Bottom-up processing: processing in which a whole is constructed from parts  Top-down processing: conceptually driven processing influenced by beliefs and expectancies  

The two processes typically work hand in hand  

Perceptual Hyptheses: Guessing What’s Out There  

Perceptual Sets 

Perceptual Sets: set formed when expectations influence perceptions  

Tend to perceive the world in accord with our preconceptions  

Perceptual Constancy  

Perceptual Constancy: the process by which we perceive stimuli consistently across varied conditions

without: we’d see the world as continually changing  

perceptual Constancy:  

shape, size and color  

ex. when viewing a door from differing perspectives we see a door as a door because of shape constancy, whether it’s completely shut, barely open, or more fully open  

Size Constancy: our ability to perceive objects as the same size no matter how far away they are from us.

ex. we do not think our friends are shrinking from existence when they begin to walk away from us  

Color Constancy: our ability to perceive color across different levels of lighting  ex. even in low levels of light we see fire fighters as wearing bright yellow  

Gestalt Principles 

Subjective Contours: our brains often provide missing information about outlines  Bistable image: an image we can perceive in two ways  

Gestalt Principles: rules governing how we perceive objects as wholes within their overall context  

help to explain why we see much of our world as consisting of unified figures or forms rather than confusing jumbles of lines and curves  

1. Proximity: Objects physically close to each other tend to be perceived as unified wholes

2. Similarity: all things being equal, we see similar objects as comprising a whole, much more so than dissimilar objects  

3. Continuity: we sill perceive objects as wholes, even if other objects block part of them  

4. Closure: when partial visual information is present, our brains fill in what’s missing  

5. Symmetry: We perceive objects that are symmetrically arranged as wholes more often than those that aren’t.

6. Figure-grounds: perceptually, we make an instantaneous decision to focus attention on what we believe to be the central figure, and largely ignore what we believe to be the background  

Emergence - a perceptual gestalt that almost jumps out from the page and hits us all at once  

How We Perceive Faces 

Lower part of the temporal lobe responds to faces  

Neurons in the human hippocampus fire selectively in response to celebrity faces  Hypothesis: sprawling networks of neurons, rather than single cells, are responsible for face recognition

How We Perceive Motion  

The brain judges how things in our world are constantly changing by comparing visual frames

The Phi Phenomenon: the illusory perception of movement produced by the successive flashing of images,  

our perception of what’s moving and what’s not are based on only partial information, with our brains taking their best guesses about what’s missing  Motion blindness: patients can’t seamlessly string still images processed but heir brains into the perception of ongoing motion  

How We Perceive Depth  

Depth Perception: ability to judge distance and thee-dimensional relations  Monocular depth cues: stimuli that enable us to judge depth using only one eye Binocular Depth Cues: stimuli that enable sis to judge depth using both eyes  

Monocular cues  

We rely on pictorial cues to give us a sense of what’s located where in stationary scenes

Pictorial Cues that help us perceive depth  

Relative Size: All things being equal, more distant objects look smaller than closer objects  

Texture Gradient: the texture of objects become less apparent as objects move father away  

Interposition: one objects that’s closer our view of an object behind it. From this,

we know which object is closer and which is father away  

Linear Perspective: the outlines of rooms or buildings converge as distance increases

Height in Place: Ina scene, distant objects tend to appear higher, and nearer objects lower

Light and Shadow: Objects cast shadows that give us a sense of their three dimensional form

Monocular Cue of Depth:

motion parallax: the ability to judge the distance of moving objects from their speed Binocular Cues

Binocular Disparity: left and right eyes transmit quite different information for near objects but see distant objects similarity  

Binocular Convergence: When we look at nearby objects, we focus on them reflexively by using our eye muscles to turn our eyes inward, a phenomenon called convergence. Our brains are aware of how much our eyes are converging, and use this information to estimate distance  

Depth Perception Appears In Infancy  

we can judge depth as soon as we learn to crawl  

Visual Cliff:  

a table and a floor several feet below, both covered by checkered cloth. A clear glass surface extends from he table out to the floor (creating the appearance of a sudden drop). Infants are then hesitant to crawl over the glass elevated several feet about floor.

When Perception Deceives Us 

The Moon Illusion: The illusion that the mood appears larger when its's near the horizon than high in the sky  


When the moon is in the sky, there's nothing else around for comparison . In contrast, when the moon is near the horizon we may perceive it as

father away because we can see it next to things we know to be far away  We're mistaken about the three-dimensional space in which we live, along with the moon. Ex. people have the misperception that the sky is shaped like a flattened dome, leading us to see the moon as father away on the horizon than at the top of the sky

Ames room illusion: Due to the placement of the walls and ceiling the room distorts the height of a person within the room.

Muller-Lyer Illusion: a line of identical length appears longer when it ends in a set of arrow heads pointing inward than in a set of arrowheads pointing outward because we perceive lines as part of a larger context.

people from different cultures displayed differing reactions

Ponzo Illusion: (railroad track illustion) converging lines enclose two objects of identical size, leading us to perceive the object closer to the converging lines as larger. the brain assumes the object is father away (usually correct) and compensates by making the object look bigger  

Horizontal-Vertical Illusion: perceive the vertical part of an upside-down T as longer than the horizontal part.  

horizontal part is divided in half by the vertical part  

Ebbinghaus-Titchener Illusion: A circle seems larger surrounded by smaller circles and smaller when surrounded by larger circles.

fools our eyes, but not our hands. People are still able to remain on target when reaching for the middle circle  

Subliminal and Extrasensory Perception 

Subliminal Perception and Persuasion  

Subliminal Perception: perception below the limen or threshold of conscious awareness

When researchers flash photographs quickly and participants can't correctly identify the content of the stimulus at better than chance levels, researchers deem it subliminal  

When investigators subliminally trigger emotions by exposing participants to words related to anger, these participants are more likely to rate other people as hostile  Effects of subliminal information often vanish when participants become aware of or even suspect attempts to influence them subliminally

Subliminal Persuasion: subthreshold influences over our votes in elections, product choices, and life decisions  

people do not numbly succumn to Subliminal Persuasion  

specific words related to brand names doesn't influence people as the word "drink" does (makes them more thirsty)

we can't engage in much, if any, in-depth processing of the meaning of subliminal stimuili  

Subliminal self-help tapes are ineffective  

Extrasensory Perception (ESP_: Fact or Fiction?  

Extrasensory Perception (ESP): perception of events outside of the known channels of sensation (seeing, hearing, touch)  

What's ESP, Anyways 

Parapsychologists: investigators who study ESP and related psychic phenomena  There are three major types of ESP

1. Precognition: acquiring knowledge of future events before they occur through paranormal means

2. Telepathy: reading other people's minds

3. Clairvoyance: detecting the presence of objects or people that are hidden from view

Is There Scientific Evidence For ESP? 

1930s: Joseph Rhine launched full-scale study of ESP

Used Zener Cards with five standard symbols on them (squiggly lines, star, circle, plus sign, and square  

Asked participants to  

1. guess which card would appear

2. which card another participant has in mind

3. which card was hidden from view  

Rhine reported the avg. of 7 correct identifications per deck of 25 (five would be chance performance)

There were MANY faults in Rhine's research

Ganzfeld Technique

experimenter covers participants' eyes with goggles to create a uniform visual field when a red floodlight is directed toward the eyes. Another person acts like a sender and attempts to mentally transmit pictures .The participant then rates four pictures for how well it matches the mental imagery experienced. Only one of the pictures is the target the sender tried to transmit.

Effects were small and corresponded to chance differences in performance No scientific supporting evidence of ESP

Why People Believe In ESP 

41 percent of American adults believe in ESP  

Illusory Correlation: we tend to and recall events that are striking coincidences and ignore or forget events that aren't.  

Tendency to underestimate the frequency of coincidence  

Psychic Predictions  

Multiple End Points: keep their predictions so open-ended that they're consistent with almost any conceivable set of outcomes  

Cold Reading: the art of persuading people we've just met that we know all about them. (Sherlock Holmes)

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