What Is Sensation And Perception Philosophy Essay

Sensation comes from the word ‘sense’ which is the use of the 5 sense that are (touch, smell, vision, hearing, and tasting), each one has its own function that helps in the process of sensation.

These senses are processed by the sensory receptors. The sensory receptors are highly specialized cells that transform a stimulus of either touching or smelling to electric signals which in turn go to our brain. The brain then interprets these signals and that’s how we sense/feel a stimulus.

For our senses there is a measure known as the absolute threshold. The absolute threshold shows the capability of how we are barely able to see the difference in the stimuli and able to perceive it, (take hearing for example, when hearing a stop watching ticking from 20 feet away, seeing a candle flame from 30 miles away in a clear night, for tasting adding 1 teaspoon of sugar in 2 gallons of water, for smelling adding a single drop of perfume in a room, and for touch a bee’s wing falling a distance of 1 centimeter from the cheek.) while the difference threshold is us not being able to notice the difference and that is better known as the Just Noticeable Difference (JND). For example, if you hold a bag of 100 pounds of orange, adding 1 extra pound will not be noticed. But if you are holding 5 pounds and then you add 1 extra pound, you will certainly notice.

Our sense adapt to the changes around us and this process is called sensory adaptation, for example smokers get accustomed to the smell of the smoke from their cigarette whether in their homes, or on their clothes. Smokers cannot tell whether you have just smoked or not. Take the famous experiment of heat adaptation, take three large bowls, fill one with very cold water, another hot water, and the third with warm water. Hold in your left hand the cold water and in your right hand hot water for at least 1 minute. Then quickly plunge both hands into the warm water at the same time, you will feel the illusion that the warm water feels warmer and colder than its actual temperature and the reason is the adaptation, we perceive the warm water as warm on your cold-adapted left hand had as cold on your warm adapted right hand.

(By: Hossam and Mark)

However with vision, things are different. We have the capability to see because of our eyes, which are mainly formed of the following: Cornea, Pupil, Iris, Lens, and Retina. All of these help in the functioning of vision however without light we can’t possibly be able to see. The seeing process occurs when light reflects from objects and onto our eyes, hit the cornea, and from the cornea to our pupil that is the dark part in the eyes and then into the lens, the greater the light the thinner our pupil gets and the dimmer the light the bigger the pupil gets, however when seeing there is something called the visible spectrum which is the narrow band of electromagnetic waves in which our eyes are able to see.

While the ear is an organ that detects sound, not does it detect sounds but helps in functioning the balance of the body position. The ear is formed of an outer middle and the inner ear. The process of hearing goes as following: When there is a noise or a sound the vibration of this sound is transferred through air and they enter our ear canal (which is from the outer ear) and as they move they hit the eardrum which is a very thin layer in the ears that eventually vibrates the small bones in our ear known as the hammer , anvil and finally the stirrup. The stirrup is a part in the ears that sends the vibration to the cochlea which contains thousands of hair like cells called the cilia. These hair-like cells change the vibration into messages to our brain to detect what we are hearing.

However the way our ears keep our balance is when we move our head, there is a liquid filled in our canals that are located in the cochlea that moves too and when they move they hit the hair-like nerve ending and send those signals to our brain to tell how our body is moving.

(By: Hossam and Mark)

Olfaction, which is our sense of smell, uses our nose as an organ that can smell small particles in the air called odour that is formed by chemical compounds. These odours are sniffed by our nose and move through our bronchi to our lungs. As they pass from the nose to the lungs they are filtered by the nostrils that contains thin little hair, these tiny hair are called cilia which works as a filtering machine in our nose that doesn’t allow dust or even buds to enter not only but also the sense of smell has a very strong connection to our memory, as we smell flowers we can remember occasions or as we smell popcorn we remember movies.

When it comes to the sense of tasting we taste with an organ called the tongue, when you chew on food the saliva inside your mouth chemically breaks down the food and this stimulates the receptor cells in the taste buds to give out signals to our brain to say what we are eating. The taste buds have the ability to recognize four different types of flavour the bitter, sour, salty/sweet, and in the middle of the tongue there is not many taste buds, the bitter is located at the very end of the tongue, the sour is located at the sides of the tongue and the salty/sweet in located at the front tip of the tongue, tasting doesn’t also depend only on tongue it also depends on the sense of smelling when we get flu, we don’t recognize what we are tasting.

The sense of touch, unlike our other senses which are located in specific regions, is located everywhere in our body because its located under the skin in a layer called the dermis which is responsible for sending information to our brain on what we get in direct physical contact with, we can feel pain by tactile senses which is the pertaining to the sense of touch and also that the area in the spinal cord acts as a gate that sends pain signals to the brain.

As we understood the different types of sensing and how they function we can connect this with perception, perception comes from perceiving, when you go to the kitchen and open the refrigerator and see a cup of liquid before you drink it you observe it with your eyes, smell it with your nose, probably touch it with you finger to know whether it is hot or cold and probably taste our finger to know the taste or whether it is drinkable and then we understand what we are holding whether it is a juice or a soft drink and we drink it based on what we analysed using our senses, so perception is the process by which our sensory information is actively organized and ordered in our brain.

(By: David and Mohammed)

The principles of perception is known as the gestalt principles and gestalt is a German word that comes from the meaning of (a whole pattern), psychologists organized it according to the basic principles the figure ground, similarity, proximity, continuity, and closure.

Similarity: (objects with similar characteristics are perceived as units)

Proximity: (objects that are close together are

Continuity: (objects that appear to form a pattern are perceived as units)

Closure: (Figures with missing parts are perceived as a whole figure)

Figure ground: (one object seems to stand out from the background)

There is also something called the perceptual constancy which is divided to size constancy and shape constancy, the size constancy is a phenomenon when for example you see a car passing by and as you stare, this car grows smaller until it disappears yet our brain knows the original size it first saw. This is because of the size constancy while the shape constancy is, for example, when we see a door from different angles we yet perceive this door as rectangle

(By: David and Mohammed)

We have also the depth perception. It is the ability to see and perceive three dimensional pictures in a two dimensional plan and this is with the help of the binocular depth cues as they help in the closer of nearby objects the closer the object the greater the convergence.

The binocular depth cue is perceived with 2 eyes, and comes also the monocular depth cues in which someone can perceive it by one eye alone and with monocular depth cues comes seven descriptions known as (interposition, linear perspective, relative size, texture gradient, atmospheric perspective, shadow or shading, and motion parallax)

Interposition: (when one object partially blocks your view of another you perceive the partially blocked object as being farther away)

Liner perspective: (parallel lines are the same distance apart but grow closer together, or converge as they recede into the distance)

Relative size: (larger objects are perceived as being closer to the viewer, and small objects as being farther away)

Texture gradient: (objects close to you appear to have sharply defined features, and similar objects farther away appear progressively less well-defined)

Atmospheric perspective: (Objects in the distance have a bluish tint and appear more blurred than objects close at hand)

(By: David and Mohamed)

Shadowing or shading: ( when light falls on objects, they cast shadows, which add to the perception of depth

Motion parallax: (when you ride in a moving train and look out the window the objects you see outside appear to be moving in the opposite direction and at different speeds; those closest to you appear to be moving faster than those in the distance

As we have discussed the monocular depth cues, comes also the puzzling perception that is related to illusion, the meaning of illusion is a false perception of an actual stimulus in the environment just as you go to see an illusionist he tricks our eyes since his hands are faster than our eyes. With illusion comes something else called the moon illusion that involves relative in size as we see the moon bigger at the horizon that it does overhead.

In additional to puzzling perception there are influences on perception that are covering attention, inattentional blindness, and the cocktail party phenomena, the attention is the process of sorting through sensation and selecting some for further processing, for example while driving a car on a daily bases it will require very little mental effort until the first times of driving, or even reading familiar words the understanding of it later becomes also easier (Heil et al., 2004). While inattentional blindness is a phenomena in which we shift our focus from one object to another and, in the process, fail to notice changes in objects to which we are not directly paying attention for example also while driving we don’t concentrate on every single car we inattentionally pass them therefore we are blinded by other things while sifting from one visual to another.

With influences on perceptions comes also what is called the unusual perception that is also covering subliminal perception and subliminal persuasion, I have done a research on subliminal issues and how they affect our brain but first subliminal stands for (above threshold) the threshold here is meant to be the level of awareness we respond to, the subliminal perception is a study that only Neuroimaging can show the progress of how it works, as I have read from a book called (buy-ology, Martin Lindstrom, 2009) it explains how subliminal messages are used in advertisement sometimes it is effective when need to make smokers quit smoking yet it is dangerous when it is used by the wrong hand on teenagers to brainwash their minds yet a person can’t literally find the subliminal messages in some sort of things like songs, when they hold some phrases that our ears can’t understand unlike our mind example in a song for The Beatles when Paul passed out they kept repeating the words, miss Paul miss Paul however it is not yet proven if subliminal messages are effective or true.

The conclusion of this article is the demonstration on how we are affected by our 5 main senses in our daily life and how these senses function in its own way to help give a result, yet we also know how each sense has its own complexity of functioning and how sensitive each sense is and how these sense send signals to our by electrical signals sent to the brain by neurons and being organized and analysed, yet we also covered perception and its types and what these types are used in our daily life and how it is a habit in our daily life not only but also how we perceive things in 2D as 3D, and we have also discussed the types of perception that we pass by in our daily life and the illusions and what they really are and the moon illusion too, we even discussed the subliminal messages how we are everyday are affected by messages our mind we can’t recognized only our sub-minds do and also how it is used in advertisement and also to help us in a positive way to avoid smoking and if you noticed from the title (sensation and perception) it’s because perception does not occur unless our senses are at function in order for our perception to take place and by this we have reached the conclusion of our topic of sensation and perception.