PSYCH101: Introduction to Psychology
Unit 3: Sensation and Perception
As human beings, we perceive our world through our senses. This means that we are constantly performing a complex set of processes by which we take in sensory information, convert it into a form usable by the brain, and have the brain send signals to a relevant part of the body in order to tell it how to respond - all in a matter of milliseconds. In this unit, we will highlight the vision and hearing sensory systems and gain a deeper understanding of how we perceive the world around us.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- differentiate between the concepts of sensation and perception;
- explain the structure and function of the following sensory systems: visual, auditory, olfactory, somatic, and gustatory;
- describe how external stimuli are processed in the brain; and
- understand the principles of perception from Gestalt psychology.
As you read this section, take note of the concept that sensation is what comes into our body through our sensory organs and perception is what our brain does with that information. Think about examples of how we might be tricked in the process!
Watch this lecture on sensation and perception.
Read this section to develop a better understanding of how the physical properties of light and sound waves affect perception.
Read this section, which discusses vision.
Watch this video for perspective on how our eyes perceive stimuli, including the different levels of perceptual organization: depth, form, motion, and constancy.
Watch this video, which describes how we process our visual field and how information from the right and left visual field is broken down and sent to the brain.
Read this section, which discusses the basic structure of our auditory system and how sound is encoded in our brain.
Watch this video about the structure of the ear and auditory system. Pay attention to how sound waves are created and perceived and the different functions of the inner and outer ear.
Watch this video about how sound is processed in the ear and brain, the importance of the cochlea, and its role in sound perception.
Read this section about the other senses, such as taste and smell. As you read, consider how our biological systems permit the brain to store rough sketches of how pleasure and displeasure are produced by smells and tastes.
Watch this video to learn more about the structures and functions involved in the sense of taste.
Watch this video to learn more about the structures and functions involved in the sense of smell.
Read this section about perception. You should be able to explain why Gestalt psychologists often say "the sum is greater than its parts" when talking about perception.
Watch this video about the Gestalt principles of perception. You should be able to describe and differentiate the law of similiarity, the law of Pragnanz, the law of proximity, the law of continuity, and the law of closure.
Take this assessment to check your understanding of the materials presented in this unit.
- There is no minimum required score to pass this assessment, and your score on this assessment will not factor into your overall course grade.
- This assessment is designed to prepare you for the Final Exam that will determine your course grade. Upon submission of your assessment you will be provided with the correct answers and/or other feedback meant to help in your understanding of the topics being assessed.
- You may attempt this assessment as many times as needed, whenever you would like.