The senses

Topics: Sense, Sensory system, Taste Pages: 5 (1469 words) Published: May 28, 2014
In psychology, sensation and perception are stages of processing of the senses in human and animal systems, such as vision, auditory, vestibular, and pain senses. Included in this topic is the study of illusions such as motion aftereffect, color constancy, auditory illusions, and depth perception.

Sensation is the function of the low-level biochemical and neurological events that begin with the impinging of a stimulus upon the receptor cells of a sensory organ. It is the detection of the elementary properties of a stimulus.[1]

Perception is the mental process or state that is reflected in statements like "I see a uniformly blue wall", representing awareness or understanding of the real-world cause of the sensory input. The goal of sensation is detection, the goal of perception is to create useful information of the surroundings.[2]

In other words, sensations are the first stages in the functioning of senses to represent stimuli from the environment, and perception is a higher brain function about interpreting events and objects in the world.[3] Stimuli from the environment are transformed into neural signals which are then interpreted by the brain through a process called transduction. Transduction can be likened to a bridge connecting sensation to perception.[citation needed]

Gestalt theorists believe that with the two together a person experiences a personal reality that is other than the sum of the parts.

Loss of sensation[edit]
Many types of sense loss occur due to a dysfunctional sensation process, whether it be ineffective receptors, nerve damage, or cerebral impairment. Unlike agnosia, these impairments are due to damages prior to the perception process.

Vision loss[edit]
Main article: Vision loss
Degrees of vision loss vary dramatically, although the ICD-9 released in 1979 categorized them into three tiers: normal vision, low vision, and blindness. Two significant causes of vision loss due to sensory failures include media opacity and optic nerve diseases, although hypoxia and retinal disease can also lead to blindness. Most causes of vision loss can cause varying degrees of damage, from total blindness to a negligible effect. Media opacity occurs in the presence of opacities in the eye tissues or fluid, distorting and/or blocking the image prior to contact with the photoreceptor cells. Vision loss often results despite correctly functioning retinal receptors. Optic nerve diseases such as optic neuritis or retrobulbar neuritis lead to dysfunction in the afferent nerve pathway once the signal has been correctly transmitted from retinal photoreceptors.

Partial or total vision loss may affect every single area of a person's life. Though loss of eyesight may occur naturally as we age, trauma to the eye or exposure to hazardous conditions may also cause this serious condition. Workers in virtually any field may be at risk of sustaining eye injuries through trauma or exposure. A traumatic eye injury occurs when the eye itself sustains some form of trauma, whether a penetrating injury such as a laceration or a non-penetrating injury such as an impact. Because the eye is a delicate and complex organ, even a slight injury may have a temporary or permanent effect on eyesight.

Hearing loss[edit]
Main article: Deafness
Similarly to vision loss, hearing loss can vary from full or partial inability to detect some or all frequencies of sound which can typically be heard by members of their species. For humans, this range is approximately 20 Hz to 20 kHz at ~6.5 dB, although a 10 dB correction is often allowed for the elderly.[4] Primary causes of hearing loss due to an impaired sensory system include long-term exposure to environmental noise, which can damage the mechanoreceptors responsible for receiving sound vibrations, as well as multiple diseases, such as HIV or meningitis, which damage the cochlea and auditory nerve, respectively.[5]

Hearing loss may be gradual or sudden. Hearing loss may be...
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