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TEMPLE / Psychology / PSY 1001 / What are the differences between sensation and perception?

What are the differences between sensation and perception?

What are the differences between sensation and perception?


School: Temple University
Department: Psychology
Course: Elementary Psychology
Term: Spring 2016
Cost: 50
Description: The completed study guide with examples and pictures
Uploaded: 10/08/2017
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Psych 1001 Study Guide

What are the difference between sensation and perception?

Mid-Term 1

Additional Terms and Examples

Sensation and Perception

Sensation vs. Perception 

• Difference between sensation and perception

o Sensation is the integration of information by sensory pathways; raw information ▪ Ex. A feather brushing against skin is registered by nerve cells

o Perception is the way the body interprets that sensory input

▪ Ex. The feather brushing against the skin tickles the person

• The way the body performs this sensation ???? perception pathway is through transduction • Transduction is the processing of sensory information by transforming it into chemical  and neurological pathways

What is trichromatic theory?

• Myth or fact? Absolute Threshold


o The idea that the body cannot register sensations until a certain point

• Myth or fact? Just Noticeable Difference (JND)


o The amount of change a stimulus must go through for a person to notice that there  is a difference

▪ Ex. You walk into a dimly lit room. How much brighter the room needs to  get for the person to recognize that the room is brighter is the JND

Vision Don't forget about the age old question of What gregg olsen define as social stratification?

• Parts of the eye:

o Pupil- the black portion of the eye. Hole in which light enters the eye

What is amplitude?

o Iris- the colored portion of the eye. Functions to change the size of the pupil. This  affects how much light is entered through the eye

o Sclera- white layer of the eyeIf you want to learn more check out What is polyunsaturated fatty acid?

o Cornea- transparent layer above the eye. Visible if you look at an eye from its  profile. It performs in refracting incoming light so images focus on the retina o Retina- cluster of cells in the back of the eye that converts incoming light into  nerve impulses. Performs transduction

o Fovea- the center of the retina. Focal point, where images are most clear o Blind spot- the optic disc where no receptor cells are located so no image is  processed. No blind spot is actually seen because the visual field of one eye  covers the blind spot in the other eye

o Optic Nerve- the nerve that connects the eye to the brain


• Refracting light- cornea and lens

• Light control- iris and pupil

• Light detection and transduction- retina and fovea We also discuss several other topics like What is typification?
If you want to learn more check out What are the different vision problems?

• There are two different receptor cells in the eye: rods and cones

o Rods work best in dim-lighting and they detect shapes

o Cones work best in presence of light and they detect color

• Rods are located on the outsides of the retina while cones are concentrated in the center o This is why you can detect shapes peripherally but cannot tell the color until it is  near the front of you

• The visions detected by the eye are processed in the back of the brain (the occipital lobe) • Vision problems:

o Hyperopia- farsightedness

▪ When light focuses behind the retina so you can only see far away objects o Myopia- nearsightedness

▪ When light focuses in front of the retina so you can only see close objects • Eyes lose their elasticity the older you get

o Therefore, elder people need glasses as compared to younger people • Eyes can adapt to the dark Don't forget about the age old question of Give three different characteristics of a greek cult.

o There is a change in sensitivity to light over time


o This curve proves that there are two different kinds of eye receptor cells • Your eye is able to detect edges in objects based off of the light reflected from each  surface

o That is why in the picture below it looks like there is an edge in between each  color, because the contrast creates the perception that something separates the two

o We also discuss several other topics like What is the normality of crime according to durkheim?

• The trichromatic theory explains how the cones are separated into the three primary  colors: red, yellow, and blue

o Combinations of the cones yield colors such as green, orange, purple, etc. o Each cone responds to a different wavelength

▪ A wavelength is a measure of a light particle

▪ Humans are able to detect wavelengths within the visible spectrum

• So, everything we see is in the visible spectrum

• When looking at a color for TOO LONG, it can affect the color of the object you look at  afterwards

o This is known as color aftereffects

• The information processed by each eye crosses paths in the brain

o The right eye information is processed in the left portion of the brain, and vice  versa

o They cross at the optic chiasm


• Everything you hear is based off sound waves

o Sound waves are vibrations in the air that are detected by ears and made into  sounds by transduction

• A sound wave has both frequency and amplitude

o Frequency- the pitch of the sound

▪ Think of starting off at middle C on a piano, then think of moving up three  octaves

o Amplitude- the loudness of the sound

▪ Think of someone singing the same note, and turning the volume button  up

• Parts of the ear:

o Outer ear- part of the ear we can see

▪ Pinna- the cartilage flaps

▪ Ear drum- funnels sound waves to the ear drum

o Middle ear

▪ Ossicles- three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, stirrup) that vibrate at the  frequency of the sound wave

o Inner ear- innermost part of ear

▪ Cochlea- bony, spiral-shaped organ full of liquid that performs


▪ Organ of Corti- contains hair cells that vibrate against the tectorial  membrane

▪ Tectorial membrane- converts the vibrations into action potentials in  nerve cells

• The higher the frequency, the closer to the outer ear it is registered

• The lower the frequency, the farther away into the ear it is registered

o This occurs because hair cells most excited by high-pitched tones are located near  the outer part of the ear, and low-pitched tones are located near the inner part of  the ear


• You experience MULTIPLE STIMULI all the time, every day, all day. The way you tune  that is by performing selective attention

• You can experience selective attention- the ability to tune out certain stimuli and only  pay heed to certain others

Experiment: Shadowing

A subject wears headphones and a different input is put in both ears. The subect is then  asked to repeat what was said in the right ear. The subject ends up saying a majority of  the right ear but inserts a portion of the left ear message.

???? This shows that even though we are performing selective attention,  

we still pick up certain stimuli

• Cocktail Part Effect- the ability to pick up certain stimuli even though you were paying  attention to something else

o Like hearing you name in the middle of a party even though the person wasn’t  talking to you directly

o But sometimes your name doesn’t work, why?

▪ It is easy to hear your name because it is easy to process it

▪ But when you are multitasking, a person is more likely to not be able to  attend to certain tasks, such as hearing your name

▪ This is an application of attentional capacity

• Attentional Capacity- the amount of attention you can allot something

Bottom-Up Processing vs. Top-Down Processing 

• Bottom-Up refers to how a person constructs an entire stimulus from its parts o Takes in new information and makes it into a new memory

o Example. Learning about receptor cells in the eyes. An entirely new set of  knowledge points are inputted

• Top-Down refers to how previous knowledge of a subject affects how we perceive the  information

o Example. Knowing about cells gives an idea of what receptor cells in the eyes  share in terms of organelles

• A further application of this is Gestalt Laws- rules that govern how we perceive objects o Proximity- how close shapes are

o Similarity- how similar shapes are

o Continuity- how shapes are in patterns

o Closure- how shapes are seen as whole even when broken up into parts o Symmetry- how shapes are symmetrical

o Figure-ground- how shapes are imagined to be on the ground

• Top-down processing is affected by something known as internal context- information  in the memory affecting the processing of the present

o A.k.a. Priming- exposure to a stimulus affects response to another stimulus

Experiment: Speed Reading

Subjects are placed in front of a screen and told to read the words that flash by  fast. It is easier for the subjects to read the words that make sense to one another  as opposed to the words that are not related to one another (Nurse and Doctor;  Table and Doctor)

???? It is easier for subjects to read the first example because an  

association or internal context is already in place as opposed to the  

second example

???? Reading the word nurse primes the person to process the related  


o Ex. Phonemic Restoration- the act of restoring a part of a word in speech

Experiment: Coughing Words

Subject is told to listen to a series of sentences. A word in the middle of the  sentence is coughed through. The subject is asked to repeat what the sentence is.  The subject most likely says a word that makes the most logical sense to the  sentence. (It was seen that the **eel was on the axle; subject says “wheel”) ???? The last word affects how the subject answers

???? Proves that perception is a construction

• Depth cues can either be monocular (given by one eye) or binocular (given by both eyes)  that show how far in the distance an object is

o We use size constancy to determine how big an object is- however much space an  object takes up in its environment determines how large it is

• Motion Parallax is how things move in the world relative to you

o How the moon appears to be moving with you while you are driving in the car o How when you turn your head left and right objects move with you left and right • Face Perception- the inability to tell a face is distorted when it is upside down because  of top-down processing in that we recognize that it is a face from the eyes, mouth, and  nose, but we do not pay attention to the orientation of it

• Agnosia- problems in perception, not being able to process certain kinds of information o Prosopagnosia- face blindness

o Simultagnosia- not being able to pay attention to multiple things at once ▪ Example. Looking at two shapes touching each other but only being able  to see the one shape; or see both shapes together as ONE whole picture


Remembering and Forgetting 

Experiment: Digit Spanning

Subjects are shown a string of numbers and have to remember the order. Most people can  only remember up to 10. S.F., a prodigy in this field, can hold up to 80 different numbers  in his memory.

???? This was not because his brain is special. He trained his brain to  

process the information by making numbers relevant in some way

(1998 was a birthday year as opposed to 356 was a batting  


• S.F. practiced a form of memory retention known as encoding, the integration of  information

o S.F. could remember 80 digits because he did semantic processing

o Semantic processing is the integration of information that makes it memorable in  some way

▪ The birthday year and the batting average

Types of Memory 

• Three-store memory model

o Sensory memory- simple processing of information; what you are feeling ▪ Example. The feather tickled my skin (in the moment)

o Short-term memory- a.k.a. working memory; memory you remember for only a  short amount of time

▪ Often forgotten

o Long-term memory- memory you remember for a long period of time; integral  to you

▪ Example. Your name

▪ There is no loss in long term memory

▪ There are two types of long term memory

• Explicit- memory that you have to consciously recall

o Semantic- memory you make important to you

▪ S.F. guy

o Episodic- memory you have because it was an event that  


• Implicit- memory that you do not have to recall; your body  

remembers for you

o Priming- the ability to recognize something because you  

have experienced it before

o Procedural- the ability to recall skills or habits (riding a  


Experiment: H.M.’s Memory Problems

Patient’s temporal lobes were removed because patient was experiencing  epilepsy problems. The temporal lobes are involved in memory, but this was not  known at the time. The seizures stopped occurring but H.M. experienced amnesia. • Amnesia- the forgetting of memory

o Retrograde- not remembering things from the past

o Anterograde- not remembering new information

Experiment: Processing Words Demo

Subjects are shown pairs of words and asked to pronounce them. A rating is given  next to each pair of words for how hard it was to pronounce them. The second part  involved being shown pairs of words and then they are asked to imagine them. A  rating is given for each pair of words for how hard it was to imagine them. Half of the  pair is shown, and the subject is asked to recall what the other word was. Subjects  could remember the words they imagined much more than the words they had to  pronounce

???? This shows that it is easier to remember something when you  

IMAGINE a visual, rather than PRONOUNCE and hear something

???? Subjects were elaborating on the memory when they visualized it,  making it semantic

???? Subjects were maintaining the memory when they pronounced it

• Long Term Memory Permanence- do we actually remember it forever?

Experiment: Bahrick’s Studies

Elderly people were asked to remember things from 50 years ago. When shown a  picture of a classmate’s face, almost everyone could recall whether that person  was in their class. When showed their name, a lower percentage of people could recall if that person was in their class

???? Easier to remember VISUALS as opposed to AUDITORY INPUT

• Flashbulb memories are memories that are recalled for emotional and unique situations  that can be conjured up in a clear image

o Being able to recall where you were during 9/11

False Memories 

• It is possible to falsify a memory- your perception of the event can change the memory  over time

Experiment: Hotel Rape

The rape and death of a woman in a hotel occurred and 5 out of 6 character  suspects admitted to being involved even though they were not. This is because  they somehow convinced themselves they were by creating a false memory.

• Interference also affects how memory is retained; interference occurs when you try to  remember a memory but another one gets in the way

o Retroactive interference

▪ Old friend Mary Jane, new friend Maryanne. Calling old friend Maryanne o Proactive interference

▪ Old friend Mary Jane, new friend Maryanne. Calling new friend Mary  Jane

• The context of how the memory is conjured up effects how it is remembered Experiment: Recall experience

People were taught how to scuba dive. Half were dressed in clothes. Half were  placed by the pool. Then half of each group were brought to the other group and  everyone was asked to recall what they learned. Those that remained in the  situation that they learned it in remembered better than those that switched. ???? You integrate surroundings into your memory

Thinking and Reasoning

What is Thinking? 

• Defined as any mental activity or processing of information (textbook def.) o Example. I am thinking about what I ate for dinner last night

What is Reasoning? 

• This is different from reasoning, which is assumptions or guesses we make based off of  information and thinking

o Example. I was sick last night probably from the food I ate for dinner

• Deduction- drawing a conclusion from a set of observable facts and knowledge o Example. I was sick. I ate dinner. ???? I was sick because of the food I ate o Using the top-down approach

o Much more specific

• Induction- taking specific examples and drawing a general conclusion o Example. I was sick. I ate dinner. ???? I was sick because of the food I ate. ???? Food  poisoning can make people sick

o Using bottom-up approach

o Takes specific example and makes it much more general

Two Modes of Thinking 

• Intuition/Heuristics/System 1

o Thinking that you base off instinct

o Fast, easy

o Heuristics interfere with the way that we scientifically observe the world;  problems in our perception

o Better to use when it comes to things like what color to paint your bedroom, or  what to eat for lunch

• Analysis/Scientific Thinking/System 2

o Thinking based off empirical observation

o Deliberate, slow

o Better to use when it comes to things like how much sodium sulfate should I ate  to this vial of water

• Decision making can sometimes be unconscious deliberation

o Processing information without even being aware of it

o Example. Listening to a podcast but being engaged in a conversation with a  person. Then being able to recite facts from the podcast without remembering  where you heard it from

Top-Down Processing in Thinking 

• How we process information is by developing concepts and schemas • Concepts are the general ideas we associate with objects, actions, or characteristics o Example. Classifying people as democrats and assuming they are extremely liberal

• Schemas are concepts that we store in memory about how certain objects, actions, etc.  relate to one another

o Example. Going over a house and asking where the paper towels are. ▪ This is an assumption that there are paper towels based off how we may  have paper towels in our own home

• Scripts are knowledge about how interactions play out over time

o Example. Going to a restaurant and knowing how the night will go. Hostess sits  you down. You look at a menu. You tell the server what you want. The food is  served to you. Etc.

Problem Solving 

• You can problem solve using algorithms

o Complicated analysis (system 2)

o Known as a strong method because of application of knowledge to solve a  problem

• Or heuristics

o Rule of thumb; intuition (system 1)

o Known as a weak method because they are general rules that do not always apply Example: Rescue at Dunkirk

The rescue at Dunkirk was organized as German soldiers closed in on soldiers in Dunkirk  during WWII. The harbor was bombed, so there was an issue of how to save everybody.  And the ships were too large to go close to shore. So the British problem solved to use  the jetty; and to send smaller boats that would then travel back and forth to a bigger ship  in the deeper waters.

• Problem state- the situation that you do not want to be involved in

• Goal state- the situation that you want to get to after solving the problem • Moves/operators- steps taken to get from the problem state to the goal state • Solution- the final operation of steps


Production vs. Comprehension 

• Language is a communicative act

• You produce a sentence based off of ideas, images, etc.

• But if you inefficiently relay those words, then the image that is in your mind may not be  fully comprehended in the other person

o Image may be incomplete or different

o Or if message is conveyed well, the same image is evoked in both minds Structure

• Phonemes- the sound structure of a language; noises (growls, coughs, grunts)





Complete  Blockage








































• Sounds differ based off what body part you are using to make it

o Voice sounds

o Nasal sounds

o Tongue sounds

• Babies are able to learn language in parts

o Hear “elephant” but repeat “el-fun”

• The sounds that the child says come from the child’s perception of the word o Word perception ???? memory ???? output

• The FIRST and LAST syllable of words are often more stressed, therefore the baby is  able to remember and repeat those syllables easier than the middle one • Morphemes- units of meaning in speech

o Happy, unhappy, unhappiness

o This changes the meaning of the word and the form

▪ Adjective ???? noun

• Babies are able to understand verb structure in stages

o “I did it” ???? “I doed it” ???? “I did it”

o The reason they fluctuate is because they hear the -ed ending so much that they  assume that it is the end of every past tense verb

• Syntax is the structure of a sentence









Hot Dog







o This table represents how a baby understands sentence structure; they hear certain  words together so often that they create a memory between them


Speech Errors 

• Anticipation- table of contents vs. cable of contents

o The “c” in contents was anticipated and therefore said

• Perseveration- rule of thumb vs. rule of rum

o The “r” is preserved in both words

• Exchange- officer vs. ossifer

o The sounds of the letters were exchanged

• Addition- brain cell vs. brain stell

o Another letter was added

• Deletion- specific vs. pacific

o A letter was deleted

Language Learning 

• People are able to learn languages best when they are younger

• Babbling is the way babies learn the phonemic structure of language by playing around  with sounds

• Nature vs. Nurture debate in language learning

o Nature- that babies come into the world with an understanding that there must be  some systematic way to communicate

o Nurture- repeating words to children so that they imitate you

Social Psychology

Social Influences on Behavior 

• This relationship shows how the words and actions of people affect other people • Fundal attribution error is the idea that when it comes to explaining our own faults, we  blame the environment, but when it comes to explaining other people’s faults, we  attribute it to their character

o Example. Seeing a woman at the store yell at the cashier. You assume that she is a  bi*** but you never think what if her dad died yesterday, or what if she just got  fired and she is acting out because of that

• Social influences affect teens the most = adolescent risk-taking

o Example. Reckless driving rates are higher in teens than in adults

• Social facilitation is the enhancement of performance when in groups o Example. Being on a field hockey team makes you perform better than if you  were to practice alone in the backyard

• All of these contribute to the idea that humans are social animals and need human contact  to function at best

Conformity and Obedience 

• Influences on conformity

o Uniformity of agreement- if everybody disagrees or agrees with an answer,  each person will be more likely to agree with the masses

o Difference in the wrong answer- knowing that ONE person differed from the masses, makes it more likely that another person will differ from the masses  too

o Size- how large the “majority” is depends on how likely it is that people will  agree with them or not

• Deindividuation- the tendency to engage in uncharacteristic behavior when stripped  of identity

o Example. Burglars wearing a mask to rob a store (the feeling you can get  away with it because you no longer are a person since you have no  

recognizable face)

• Groupthink- emphasis on conformity over critical thinking

Experiment: Milgram’s Research

Subjects are strapped to a shock plate. The subject presses a button to answer.  Whenever the subject pressed incorrectly, they were shocked. Each time the subject  asked if they could go one, Milgram would respond with 3 different responses to  different people: Please go on; the experiment requires you to go on; you have no  choice, you must go on. What ended up happening was most of the subjects showed  obedience rather than attempt to fight.  

• Bystander effect- expecting others in a group to perform a deed so you do not expect  yourself to do the deed

o Example. The Penn State incidence

• When there a lot of people there, you assume that someone else  

will be responsible for taking care of the kid

• As opposed to if you were alone you would most likely help


• Situational influences on aggression

o Interpersonal provocation- striking out against those that provoke us

o Frustration- striking out against people when frustrated

o Media- striking out as a result of being exposed to violence on media

o Aggressive cues- seeing a gun as opposed to a tennis racket will encourage  striking out

o Arousal- when nervous system is triggered

o Alcohol- when intoxicated

o Temperature- when hot

Top-Down Processing 

• An attitude reflects how a person feels about an idea, person, object, etc. • Cognitive dissonance is when your thoughts and actions contradict one another o Example. Knowing that smoke is bad for you, but doing it anyway

• Certain prejudices exist in our thinking as well; associations we make to categorize a  group of people, things, etc.

o Implicit- prejudice you are NOT aware of

o Explicit- prejudice you ARE aware of

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