Sensation & Perception, 4e - USD

Sensation & Perception, 4e - USD

1 Introduction Chapter 1 Introduction Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Sensory Neuroscience and the Biology of Perception

Introduction What do we mean by Sensation & Perception? Sensation: The ability to detect a stimulus (convert to nervous system activity) Perception: The act of giving meaning to a

detected sensation. (Schieber say integration objects) Cognition: The manipulation of perceptual objects (in the service of goals) Sensory processes are not available to consciousness but the products of perceptual processes are the objects of awareness

Introduction Sensation and perception are central to mental life. Without them, how would we gain knowledge of the world? Introduction

The study of sensation and perception is a scientific pursuit and requires scientific methods. Thresholds: Finding the limits of what can be perceived. Scaling: Measuring private experience. Signal detection theory: Measuring difficult

decisions. Sensory neuroscience: The biology of sensation and perception. Neuroimaging: An image of the mind. Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Psychophysical

Thresholds Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics First, some formal definitions: Just noticeable difference (JND): The smallest detectable difference between two stimuli, or the minimum change in a

stimulus that can be correctly judged as different from a reference stimulus; also known as difference threshold. Absolute threshold: Minimum amount of stimulation necessary for a person to detect a stimulus 50% of the time. The Concept of Absolute Threshold

Ideal Absolute Threshold The Concept of Absolute Threshold But. early experimental psychologists like Fechner discovered that humans were not

ideal observers. Instead, behavior at the boundary of sensory sensitivity appeared to reflect probabilistic processes rather than ideal detection. The Concept of Absolute Threshold

Psychophysical function demonstrating the probabilistic (statistical) nature of the threshold Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics

Ernst Weber (1795-1878) was an experimental philosopher whose work eventually fostered the establishment of what would become known as scientific psychology. Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics

Ernst Weber discovered that the smallest change in a stimulus that can be detected is a constant proportion of the stimulus level. i.e. human sensory sensitivity is relative rather than absolute in nature This relationship has been formalized

as Webers Law (see next slide) Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Scientific psychologys first law (Webers Law) algebraically rephrased as

Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics If we know the value of k and I, we can use Webers Law to determine how much a stimulus needs to change in order for the average person to detect that change. For example: If the Weber fraction (k) for judging weight = 0.02

then the JND (delta I) for a 10 ounce weight would be (10 ounce x k) = (10 x 0.02) = 0.2 ounces Hence, an 10.1 ounce weight would be indistinguishable from a 10 ounce weightbut a 10.2 ounce weight would appear heavier than the same 10 ounce weight (i.e., >= JND). Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics

How many ounces would you need to add to a 100 ounce weight before you could tell the difference? What about a 1 ounce weight? How about a 0.01 ounce weight? (This one is a trick question)

Some common Weber Fractions (k) Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Building upon the work of Weber: Gustav Fechner (18011887) invented psychophysics and is often considered to be the true founder of experimental psychology.

Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Fechner attempted to describe the relationship between the mind and body using the language of mathematics. Psychophysics: The science of defining quantitative relationships between

physical and psychological (subjective) events. Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Fechner mathematically extended Webers

law to make it more universal. Fechners law: A principle describing the relationship between stimulus magnitude and resulting sensation magnitude such that the magnitude of subjective sensation increases proportionally to the logarithm of the stimulus intensity.

Sensation = log(Stimulus Intensity) S = k log(I) Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Fechners major assumptions were that: (1) The basic unit of analysis for modeling

psychological processes was the JND (just noticeable difference) (2) Mathematical functions capturing such processes could be anchored using the absolute threshold (a relative zero point) Fechners Law: Measure and plot sequential JND values

1. Plot sequential JNDs (1 thru 6 here) I Fechners Law: Develop Model to Describe Relationship 2. Find a mathematical model that fits the data: S = k log(I) (i.e. Fechners Law)

The strength of sensory experience grows at a slower rate than the physical stimulus sensory compression I

(textbook) Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Classical Psychophysical Methods

Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Psychophysical methods Method of constant stimuli: Many stimuli, ranging from rarely to almost always perceivable, are presented one at a time. Method of limits: The magnitude of a

single stimulus or the difference between two stimuli is varied incrementally until the participant responds differently. Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Psychophysical methods (continued)

Method of adjustment: Similar to the method of limits, but the participant controls the stimulus directly. Magnitude estimation: The participant assigns values according to perceived magnitudes of the suprathreshold stimuli. All methods except Magnitude Estimation

were developed by Fechner Method of Constant Stimuli Design Matrix / Data Matrix MCS: Psychophysical Function with Interpolated 50% Threshold Figure 1.7 The method of limits

Scaling Suprathreshold Psychological Experience Suprathreshold magnitude estimates are well described by Stevens power law (textbook formula) Magnitude Estimation Functions (Direct Sensory Scaling)

Exponent parameter = slope when plotted in log-log space Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Cross-modality matching: The participant matches the intensity of a sensation in one sensory modality with the intensity of

a sensation in another. Useful method for allowing people to classify how dull or intense a flavor is (or other sensation) Provides prima facie support for the validity of direct reports of the strength of sensory experience

Some sample Power Law Exponents Loudness (SP @ 3kHz) Brightness (point source) Visual area Visual Length Smell (heptane) 0.6 Taste (sucrose)

Vibration (finger @ 60Hz) Electric shock (pain) 0.67 1.0 0.7 1.0 1.3

0.9 3.5 Lecture Ends Here Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Signal detection theory: A psychophysical

theory that quantifies the response of an observer to the presentation of a signal in the presence of noise. Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Four possible stimulus/response situations in signal detection theory:

Hit: Stimulus is present and observer responds Yes. Miss: Stimulus is present and observer responds No. False alarm: Stimulus is not present and observer responds Yes. Correct rejection: Stimulus is not present and observer responds No.

Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Many real-world problems can be conceptualized as a search for a signal amidst noise. FIGURE 1.10 Mammograms, X-rays of the breast, are used to screen women for breast cancer

Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Signal detection theory makes a distinction between an observers ability to perceive a signal and their willingness to report it. These are two separate concepts: Sensitivity

Criterion Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Sensitivity: A value that defines the ease with which an observer can tell the difference between the presence and absence of a stimulus or the difference between stimulus

1 and stimulus 2. Criterion: An internal threshold that is set by the observer. If the internal response is above criterion, the observer gives one response. Below criterion, the observer gives another response.

Figure 1.11 Detecting a stimulus using signal detection theory (SDT) (Part 1) Figure 1.11 Detecting a stimulus using signal detection theory (SDT) (Part 2) Figure 1.12 Your sensitivity to a stimulus is illustrated by the separation between the distributions of your response to noise alone and to signal plus noise Figure 1.13 For a fixed d, all you can do is change the pattern of your errors by shifting the

response criterion Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics Receiver operating characteristic (ROC): In studies of signal detection, the graphical plot of the hit rate as a function of the false alarm rate.

Chance performance will fall along the diagonal. Good performance (high sensitivity) bows out towards the upper left corner. Thresholds and the Dawn of Psychophysics

Plotting the ROC curve allows one to predict the proportion of hits for a given proportion of false alarms, and vice-versa. Changes in criteria move performance along a curve but do not change the shape of the curve. Figure 1.14 Theoretical receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for different values of d

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