By: Rachelle C. Ocampo
Professor Scott Savaiano
January 19, 2013
If fortunate enough, most people are able to sense the world around them through all five senses; sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. The information from these senses is paired with thoughts and memories from each experience, which the brain uses to tell individuals how to perceive input from the outside world. The following information will cover reasons for believing in the accuracy of sensory information, the contributing factors to accurate sensory data, and the role of nature versus nurture with regard to the interpretation and evaluation of sensory data.
Sensory interaction, selective attention, and sensory adaptation aid in the accuracy of sensory information. Sensory interaction is when different senses work together to create an experience. An example of sensory interaction is the McGurk Effect, an error in perception that happens when audio and visual parts are mismatched. For instance, a young woman can be on one side of the room and whisper the words “Olive Juice”, while the young man on the other side of room assumes she said “I love you” because he misperceived the sound “Olive Juice” with what he visually perceived as “I love you”. Many believe that the accuracy to understand speech is only through the sense of sound, but the visual aspect is also important (Stangor, 2010).
Selective attention is another aid in the accuracy of sensory information. It is the ability to focus on certain sensory responses while tuning out the others. Often times something important is missed because the individual selectively ignored part of an action. For example, how many times does a boiling pot overflow because the individual was on the phone while cooking a meal? Selective attention is limiting, but it also allows individuals the ability to focus on a single conversation at a party rather than all of the conversations going on in the...