Learning Objectives

Distinguish between a stimulus and a sensation; recognize the interplay between the two that inspired some of the first psychologists to measure them.

  • Explain how physical energy becomes a psychological experience.
  • Determine the minimum amount of stimulation needed to register on our senses.
  • Differentiate between measurements for the smallest amount of stimulation detectable and the smallest change in stimulation detectable.

Imagine what life would be like for one day without sensation.

  • List the steps that occur when the human visual system converts light into meaningful color images.
  • Describe the structures in the auditory system that convert vibrating air molecules into meaningful sounds.
  • Compare and contrast the chemical senses of smell to taste.
  • Examine how those who have synesthesia experience the world.

Summarize the steps we take to perceive our world as adults.

  • List the ways that perception is an active mental process.
  • Discuss how we manage to identify objects despite apparent changes in their size, shape, and other features.
  • Describe how we perceive depth in three-dimensional space.
  • Examine whether our perceptual skills are inborn or learned from experience.
  • Critique why humans fall prey to perceptual illusions.