1. Differentiate between sensation and perception. Explain the importance of separating these concepts.
Although intimately related, sensation and perception play two complimentary but different roles in how we interpret our world. Sensation refers to the process of sensing our environment through detecting a stimulus, such as light waves (vision), sound waves (hearing), chemical molecules (smell and taste), and heat or pressure (touch). This information is sent to our brains in raw form where perception comes into play. Perception is the way we interpret these sensations and therefore make sense of everything around us and Perception is the process of integrating, organizing and interpreting sensations. You might want to think of sensation and perception as two ends of a continuum. There is no clear dividing line between sensation and perception. Where sensation ends and perception begins is difficult to determine.
This difference is not absolute, however. Imagine holding a five pound weight and one pound was added. Most of us would notice this difference. But what if we were holding a fifty pound weight? Would we notice if another pound were added? The reason many of us would not is because the change required to detect a difference has to represent a percentage. In the first scenario, one pound would increase the weight by 20%, in the second, that same weight would add only an additional 2%.
2. Identify the biological factors that influence sensation and perception.
2. As we age or incur visual impairment, we may need brighter light when reading. Explain why this is the case.
3. You are shown a picture of an elephant. Explain how that stimulus is processed from the retina to the visual cortex of the brain.