Chapter 3: Biology and Behavior
This week we cover Chapter 3: Biology and Behavior. We’ll focus our discussion on the following sections in your book:
- The Basics
- Studying Sensation
- Vision Section
- Hearing Section
- Smell: nosing Around
- Taste: Just eat it
- Pain: It Hurts
The following visual aids from your text will be especially helpful:
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- Infographics 3.1 (vision) and 3.2 (hearing)
- Figures 3.5 (smell), 3.6 (taste), 3.8 (pain)
In addition to your textbook, and the links below, check these out for more information:
- Khan Academy on Sensory Perception(Links to an external site.)
- Chapter on the OpenPsyc Website(Links to an external site.)
This week we study one of my favorite topics: sensation and perception (Links to an external site.)! These two ideas are what form the nitty gritty of our everyday experiences. We take in information through our senses in a process known as transduction (Links to an external site.). Each sense transduces stimuli through a different process, but the end result is the same – stimuli in our world is transformed into the language of our nervous systems – 1s and 0s (or action potential rate).
Then our brain has to make sense of it all based on the information it is receiving from our sensory end organs (i.e., bottom-up information from our eyes, nose, ears, skin, tongue) and the information it has stored in the brain (i.e., top-down information from our memories, expectations, etc). How we make sense of the world is our perception, and sometimes we make mistakes or are fooled by our senses! That’s where the fun comes into play! One of my favorite visual illusions is the rotating snake illusion (Links to an external site.). Do you see movement in the image below? If you do, your brain made it up because there is no movement in the image at all!
This website (Links to an external site.) has a whole bunch of visual illusions, but you can find many illusions for any sense.
As with anything in psychology, people have devised ways of studying our perceptual experiences. Your book talks about how to define absolute and difference thresholds. Thresholds are physical measurements that tell us what is the smallest physical unit that we can perceive (absolute threshold) or what is the smallest change in the physical measurements that we can detect (difference threshold).
Your book goes through your 5 senses – vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch – and also briefly mentions “extrasensory perception” at the end. This is a lot to cover! So instead of everyone covering everything, I’m going to give you some choices below about which questions to answer. Note that in the end you’ll still be replying to 3 questions, but you have some say as to which questions to answer. Be sure to pick either A or B from each numbered question below
Hit reply and type your answers to the following:
- Pick ONE of the following questions about vision to answer:
- How is light transduced by the eye? Be sure to mention the retina and the different functions of the rods and cones. What happens to transduction in your blind spot?
- How do we see color vision? Explain both the trichromatic and opponent process theories of color perception. Be sure to mention what happens (neurally) if someone is “color blind”.
- Pick ONE of the following questions about hearing to answer:
- How is sound transduced by the ear? Be sure to mention what happens in the outer, middle, and inner ears. How do cochlear implants mimic auditory processing?
- Describe the physical and perception qualities of loudness, pitch, and timbre. Explain the place theory, frequency theory, and volley theory of pitch perception. How does pitch perception change over the lifespan?
- Pick ONE of the following questions to answer:
- Using the sense of smell or taste: How is the sense transduced? Describe what an absolute threshold and a difference threshold might be. What happens when you become adapted to a smell/taste stimulus? Explain how Weber’s Law might apply in your example of the difference threshold.
- Using the sense of touch: Explain the gate-control theory of pain perception. Be sure to mention what information the fast and slow nerve fibers transmit. Name a bottom-up and top-down influence to pain perception and explain how it would affect pain perception in the gate-control theory.
“Comment from the professor on the last discussion: Nice explanation of the AP. Be sure you put your answers in your own words. For your fMRI response, you didn’t say what your hypothesis, IV, and DV would be using this method.
Also, your APA citation is not correct. I won’t take this off on the DB, but it will count towards your RWP grade so make sure you look it up here: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_articles_in_periodicals.html”