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Handout 5-G

Study Questions
______________________________________________________________________________

1. Describe the five stages that comprise the process of sensory processing and the perception of information.
a. Sepcific types of stimuli activate specialized receptors (light, soind waves, chemical molecule, pressure) and translate information into nerve impulses
b. Specialized neurons break down and and analyze the specific features of the stimuli
c. Numerous stumul “pieces’ are reconstructed into a neural representation that is then compared with previously stored information.
d. We recognize the stimulus and give it meaning
e. Consciously experience a perception
2. How do psychologists differentiate between sensation and perception?
a. Sensation: stimulus-detection prodcess by which our sense organs respond o and translate environmental stimuli into nerve impulses that are sent to the brain
b. Perception: making “sense” of what our senses tell us – is the active process of oranizing this stimulus input and giving it meaning
3. What two kinds of sensory capabilities are studied by psychophysics researchers?
a. Absolute limits of sensitivity – ex. what is the softest sound or weakest salt solution that humans can detect
b. Differerences between stimuli – ex. smalles difference in brightness that we can detect?
4. What is the absolute threshold, and how is it technically defined and measured?
a. Lowest intensity at which a stimulus can be detected correctly 50% of the time
(The lower the threshold the greater the sensitivity)
5. Why do signal detection theorists view stimulus detection as a decision? What are the four possible outcomes of such a decision?
a. People’s apparent sensititivity can fluctuate quite a bit. There is no fixed absolute threshold
b. There is a range of uncertainty and people set their own decision criterion (standard of how certain they must be that a stimulus is present before they will say they detect

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