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Biological Psychology: Sensation and Perception Essay

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Updated: Jun 10th, 2020

Sensation refers to the process through which signals from the environment are directed from sensory receptors and passed to the brain. Sensation involves the use of the five senses, which are sight, taste, touch, smell and sound. Perception, on the other hand, refers to the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information in order to understand the environment, as well as the way we respond to it. Sensation is considered to be a part of perception. Signals in the nervous system are involved in perception leading to the sense organs’ stimulation.

One of the sensory processes that help us to lessen the din is the absolute threshold. It refers to the lowest motivation that one needs to have for sense organs to single out information. The difference threshold is considered to be the slightest disparity by which our organism can identify some difference between two various stimuli. Sensory adaptation is the third process that appears to be helpful when one wants to lessen the din. Finally, sensory adaptation is the process by which we get used to changes in sensation, such as diminishing sensitivity to unchanging stimuli, for example, being in a room that is freshly painted. At first the smell would be strong and unbearable but as one continues to stay in the room they get used to it and they no longer smell the paint.

Perceptual organization, perceptual grouping, perceptual constancy and perceptual adaptation also help us lessen the din. Perceptual organization takes place through figure, ground perceptual and perceptual grouping. In order to perceive an object we, first, pick the object and separate it from the rest of the items that are in the surrounding.

Four principles that govern perceptual grouping are proximity, which refers to the tendency to perceive stimuli that are near each other as if they belong together, similarity as the perceptual tendency to group together stimuli that resemble another, continuity which explains that we tend to perceive group continuous patterns rather than discontinuous ones, and closure, that is the perceptual tendency to fill gaps enabling us to perceive disconnected parts as being complete.

Perceptual constancy refers to the aspect of recognizing objects without being deceived by their shape, brightness, color or size. Perceptual adaptation is the capability to change to an unnaturally displaced and inverted illustration. Perceptions are influenced by characteristics of the stimulus object, such as color, vividness and pattern of the object, context characteristics that are the setting in which the perception occurs, characteristics of the perceiver, such as education and culture, and the extra sensory perception which refers to the perception that takes place without the involvement of senses.

In a case when a person loses the whole apparatus of the ear, the sense of balance and equilibrium would be impaired. The reason for this is that the sense organs for equilibrium are located around the ear. Without the sense balance it is impossible for one to hold the body and head in a normal position. The inner structure of the ear enables balance and movement of the head. Freberg (2009) explains that “the utricle, saccule, and semicircular canals provide information about the position and the movement of the head while the utricle and saccule contain hair cells, whose cilia extend into a gelatinous layer covered by otoliths.

Tilting the head exerts force on the cilia of the hair cell, which in turn modify signaling in the auditory nerve” (p. 203). When these parts of the ear are once damaged or missing, it will lead not only to hearing loss but also a loss of the sense of balance and equilibrium. The middle and outer ear are only involved in hearing. Damage or a case where the above are totally missing would lead to hearing loss and in severe cases individuals become dumb.

Reference

Freberg, L. (2009). Discovering Biological Psychology (2nd ed.). Boston, United States of America: Cengage Learning. Web.

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