Perception Chapter 6 Perception The process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting sensory information, which enables us to recognize meaningful objects and events. Selective Attention Perceptions about objects change from moment…
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Perception Chapter 6
The process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting sensory information, which enables us to recognize meaningful objects and events.
Perceptions about objects change from moment to moment. We can perceive different forms of the Necker cube; however, we can only pay attention to one aspect of the object at a time.
Inattentional blindness refers to the inability to see an object or a person in our midst. Simmons & Chabris (1999) showed that half of the observers failed to see the gorilla-suited assistant in a ball passing game.
Daniel Simons, University of Illinois
Change blindness is a form of inattentional blindness in which two-thirds of individuals giving directions failed to notice a change in the individual asking for directions.
Perceptual Illusions Illusions provide good examples in understanding how perception is organized. Studying faulty perception is as important as studying other perceptual phenomena. Line AB is longer than line BC.
Tall Arch In this picture, the vertical dimension of the arch looks longer than the horizontal dimension. However, both are equal. Rick Friedman/ Black Star
3-D Illusion It takes a great deal of effort to perceive this figure in two dimensions. Reprinted with kind permission of Elsevier Science-NL. Adapted from Hoffman, D. & Richards, W. Parts of recognition. Cognition, 63, 29-78
When vision competes with our other senses, vision usually wins – a phenomena called visual capture .
How do we form meaningful perceptions from sensory information?
We organize it. Gestalt psychologists showed that a figure formed a “whole” different than its surroundings.
Organization of the visual field into objects (figures) that stand out from their surroundings (ground).
Depth perception enables us to judge distances. Gibson and Walk (1960) suggested that human infants (crawling age) have depth perception. Even newborn animals show depth perception.
Visual Cliff Innervisions
Retinal disparity: Images from the two eyes differ. Try looking at your two index fingers when pointing them towards each other half an inch apart and about 5 inches directly in front of your eyes. You will see a “finger sausage” as shown in the inset.
Convergence: Neuromuscular cues. When two eyes move inward (towards the nose) to see near objects and outward (away from the nose) to see faraway objects.
Relative Size: If two objects are similar in size, we perceive the one that casts a smaller retinal image to be farther away.
Interposition: Objects that occlude (block) other objects tend to be perceived as closer.
Rene Magritte, The Blank Signature, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Photo by Richard Carafelli.
Monocular Cues Relative Clarity: Because light from distant objects passes through more light than closer objects, we perceive hazy objects to be farther away than those objects that appear sharp and clear.
Texture Gradient: Indistinct (fine) texture signals an increasing distance.
Motion Perception: Objects traveling towards us grow in size and those moving away shrink in size. The same is true when the observer moves to or from an object.
Phi Phenomenon: When lights flash at a certain speed they tend to present illusions of motion. Neon signs use this principle to create motion perception.
Two lights flashing one after the other. One light jumping from one point to another: Illusion of motion.
Perceiving objects as unchanging even as illumination and retinal images change. Perceptual constancies include constancies of shape and size.
Stable size perception amid changing size of the stimuli.
The distant monster (below, left) and the top red bar (below, right) appear bigger because of distance cues.
From Shepard, 1990 Alan Choisnet/ The Image Bank
Size-Distance Relationship Both girls in the room are of similar height. However, we perceive them to be of different heights as they stand in the two corners of the room. Both photos from S. Schwartzenberg/ The Exploratorium
Ames Room The Ames room is designed to demonstrate the size-distance illusion.
Lightness Constancy The color and brightness of square A and B are the same. Courtesy Edward Adelson
Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color even when changing illumination filters the light reflected by the object.
Color Constancy Color Constancy
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) maintained that knowledge comes from our inborn ways of organizing sensory experiences.
John Locke (1632-1704) argued that we learn to perceive the world through our experiences.
How important is experience in shaping our perceptual interpretation?
After cataract surgery, blind adults were able to regain sight. These individuals could differentiate figure and ground relationships, yet they had difficulty distinguishing a circle and a triangle (Von Senden, 1932).
After blind adults regained sight, they were able to recognize distinct features, but were unable to recognize faces. Normal observers also show difficulty in facial recognition when the lower half of the pictures are changed.
Courtesy of Richard LeGrand
Kittens raised without exposure to horizontal lines later had difficulty perceiving horizontal bars.
Sensory Deprivation Blakemore & Cooper (1970)
Visual ability to adjust to an artificially displaced visual field, e.g., prism glasses.
Courtesy of Hubert Dolezal
A mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another. What you see in the center picture is influenced by flanking pictures.
From Shepard, 1990.
Perceptual Set (a) Loch ness monster or a tree trunk; (b) Flying saucers or clouds? Other examples of perceptual set. Frank Searle, photo Adams/ Corbis-Sygma Dick Ruhl
Schemas Children's schemas represent reality as well as their abilities to represent what they see. Schemas are concepts that organize and interpret unfamiliar information. Courtesy of Anna Elizabeth Voskuil
Features on a Face Students recognized a caricature of Arnold Schwarzenegger faster than his actual photo. Face schemas are accentuated by specific features on the face. Kieran Lee/ FaceLab, Department of Psychology, University of Western Australia
Eye & Mouth Eyes and mouth play a dominant role in face recognition. Courtesy of Christopher Tyler
Context Effects Is the “magician cabinet” on the floor or hanging from the ceiling? Context can radically alter perception.
Cultural Context To an East African, the woman sitting is balancing a metal box on her head, while the family is sitting under a tree. Context instilled by culture also alters perception.
Perception Revisited Is perception innate or acquired?
Perception & Human Factors
Human Factor Psychologists design machines that assist our natural perceptions.
The knobs for the stove burners on the right are easier to understand than those on the left. Photodisc/ Punchstock Courtesy of General Electric
Human Factors & Misperceptions
Understanding human factors enables us to design equipment to prevent disasters.
Two-thirds of airline crashes caused by human error are largely due to errors of perception.
Human Factors in Space
To combat conditions of monotony, stress, and weightlessness when traveling to Mars, NASA engages Human Factor Psychologists.
Transit Habituation (Transhab), NASA
Is There Extrasensory Perception?
Perception without sensory input is called extrasensory perception (ESP). A large percentage of scientists do not believe in ESP.
Claims of ESP
Paranormal phenomena include astrological predictions, psychic healing, communication with the dead, and out-of-body experiences, but most relevant are telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
Claims of ESP
Telepathy: Mind-to-mind communication. One person sending thoughts and the other receiving them.
Clairvoyance: Perception of remote events, such as sensing a friend’s house on fire.
Precognition: Perceiving future events, such as a political leader’s death.
Premonitions or Pretensions?
Can psychics see the future? Can psychics aid police in identifying locations of dead bodies? What about psychic predictions of the famous Nostradamus?
The answers to these questions are NO! Nostradamus’ predictions are “retrofitted” to events that took place after his predictions.
Putting ESP to Experimental Test
In an experiment with 28,000 individuals, Wiseman attempted to prove whether or not one can psychically influence or predict a coin toss. People were able to correctly influence or predict a coin toss 49.8% of the time.