Thresholds" Theory of Classical Psychophysics

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Discuss the "thresholds" theory of classical psychophysics and explain how characteristics of the perceiver are also important in determining the selection of stimuli.

The theory that our human cognitive ability has thresholds from the conscious level to a non-conscious level which varies over time in strength. These thresholds are physical and are not defined, but generally are from those activities and thoughts that are the most active having a threshold that defines our active consciousness, down to those thoughts that are several thresholds away and not seemingly linked to our current awareness. The concepts behind the theory attempt to bring together areas of knowledge, including the commonly-held beliefs about short-term memory being limited to around 7 ideas. In an evolutionary sense, humans walk forward and have to plan their next steps. If humans are running, they may be planning, say, 7 steps ahead. This planning allows them to avoid having miss steps. They have to be able to analyze the results of possibly taking steps, and then keep changing their focus after taking a new step forward .In theory people are imperfectly able to keep focus on a small set of priorities. This imperfection may be the solution, though, for allowing new priorities to be considered. An example is if when shopping in a market holding a red scarf you like, someone yells from behind you “Stop that thief Help” You start to turn around. Your cognitive threshold will swap out your interest in scarves for an interest in this new distraction.

You may:
Want to see the thief to avoid them
Want to see the person yelling to verify they are not joking •Want to see if you are near the thief, or possibly in danger

In other words, our cognitive and analytical threshold allows us to act in our world and react for what could be labeled as basic evolutionary needs. The cognitive threshold changes over time, for reasons including:

mental capacity: fatigue, chemical or emotional impairment/enhancement •situational: the ability to think about running is higher when actually running, than when performing some other activity •training: learning enhances ability to manage and perform more in those areas being learned, such as language, music, sports, science, and other skills

The Cognitive Threshold theory assumes that what is referred to as “unconscious” or “subconscious” thinking is essentially thoughts that take place at a different level of awareness.

Perception is our sensory experience of the world around us and involves both the recognition of environmental stimuli and action in response to these stimuli. Through the perceptual process, we gain information about properties and elements of the environment that are critical to our survival. A number of factors operate to shape and sometimes distort perception these factors can reside:

i) In the perceiver
ii) In the Object or target being perceived or
iii) In the context of the situation in which the perception is made.

1. Characteristics of the Perceiver:
Several characteristics of the perceiver can affect perception. When an individual looks at a target and attempts to interpret what he or she stands for, that interpretation is heavily influenced by personal characteristics of the individual perceiver. The major characteristics of the perceiver influencing perception are: •Attitudes

Motive
Moods
Self-concept
Interest
Cognitive structure
Expectation

2) Characteristics of the Target:
Characteristics in the target that is being observed can affect what is perceived. Physical appearance pals a big role in our perception of others. Extremely attractive or unattractive individuals are more likely to be noticed in a group than ordinary looking individuals. Motions, sound, size and other attributes of a target shape the way we see it. Verbal Communication from targets also affects our perception of them. Nonverbal communication...
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