Sensation and Perception

Sensation is how humans process the world around us. We use the basic senses of hearing, vision, taste, touch, and smell to do so. Each sense has an absolute threshold that shows what the smallest amount of whatever the stimulus may be is that we can notice. We also possess the ability for our senses to adapt to the world around us. Sensory adaptation allows our senses to adapt because the more we are around a certain stimuli, the more familiar we become with that stimuli, making our senses less sensitive to that particular stimuli. Sensation differs from the idea of perception because perception is how the brain interprets the world around us. It is how we find the meaning in the world. A major part of perception is attention. Attention is what allows us to consciously interpret the world. Selective attention is how our brain picks through various stimuli, choosing what we should focus our efforts on. The example in the book of the ambiguous figure comes to mind when I think of perception because it can either be an old hag-looking woman, or a young looking woman. The way the image is perceived depends on who is looking at it.

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When focusing on sensation, one major time in my life when I realized how important senses are to us was the first time I had glasses. I did not get glasses until I was a junior in high school, but once I did, my whole world felt different because I could actually see. For the first time I could see the leaves on the trees, and things were not blurry when I was far away from them. It was totally unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I know now that I am nearsighted, meaning I cannot see far distances. Glasses allow me to see, giving me more clarity to be able to process the world that I see.

Since perception is how we interpret the world, I feel a good example of perception in my life would when I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It was the end of my sophomore year, and it still affects me to this day, but I learned other methods to cope with it. I often viewed the world in a flawed way back then though. I thought that things would never get better, and that the world was just a cruel place. My view on the world has changed drastically now. I came to realize that the is good and bad in the world, but striving to focus on the good, and helping others allows for us to live healthier and happier lives. This is my perception of the world and how it changed from being negative to a more positive outlook on life.

The article I found on sensation and perception is about how Sensory Substitution devices, or SSDs for short, can help the blind to see colors or shapes. According to the Eyemusic article, SSDs can scan images and encode the information into auditory or touch signals that the users end up learning to understand. This allows them to recognize an image without seeing it. The researchers believe that the SSD holds potential to revolutionize the field of visual rehabilitation. In this study, pixels in images are associated with different pitches. Higher pixels on a vertical plane have higher pitches being played. Along with this, the study also uses different instruments to convey different colors information in images.

The study brings interesting ideas to light. It is pretty remarkable of an idea to create this new way for those who cannot see to associate sound with images. Though it seems interesting, it is often not popular because many think it unpleasant to use. I find it interesting because it is taking a sensation that some are unable to experience and allowing them to perceive it through one of their other senses.

Though there are distinctive differences in sensation and perception, they do go hand-in-hand. Sensations allowing us to process the world are what give us the ability to perceive how the world functions in our own unique ways.

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