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General Psychology - Sensation, Perception, and Consciousness

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PSY-102 – General Psychology

Topic 2 – Sensation, Perception, and Consciousness

Sensation and Perception: Application

Directions: Making concepts personally relevant to an individual helps to learn them. Below are several concepts from your reading. Provide a psychological definition of the term and connect it to personal example in your life. Each concept should be a minimum of 50 words with citations to support your examples. List all references at the end of the list in APA style. Do not use examples in the book!


Sensation – I like listening to my music before going to sleep, but if my parents hear my music after 10 pm, I get in trouble. If my music is below their absolute threshold, then I won’t get in trouble, because they won’t hear it. It is really hard to keep it below their absolute thresholds because it seems that even the faintest amount of sound coming from my room is detectable. In this example, the absolute threshold is the lowest amount of volume that they can detect up to 50% of the time (Grison, Heatherton, & Gazzaniga, 2017).

  1. Absolute Threshold- Hearing- I think that hearing the tick tock of a clock in a quiet room is very relaxing for the most part. If we hear the tick tock in a doctor’s office that just means that we are sitting around waiting to be seen or something of that nature. It is really hard not to hear the clock when you are waiting at the doctor’s office. In this example, the absolute threshold is hearing a tick tock at 20 feet under quiet conditions. (Grison, Heatherton, & Gazzaniga, 2017).
  2. Difference Threshold- Whenever my boyfriend watched television on the living room; he listens to it very loud. I have to tell him to lower it down all the time. He lowers it down to where he thinks it is low enough however I still think it is too loud. We have different threshold when it comes to this. Since we do not agree on the threshold we argue as of why the volume should be so high/low.
  3. Sensory Adaptation- When I go to visit my brother and I walk in to my nephew’s room the smell is not a nice smell. The smell of sweat, dirty clothes, sports shoes, and dirty cups is not a good mixture. After being in the room for about five minutes my sensory adaptation kicks in and I do not smell those awful smells any longer. This is my example of sensory adaptation as the time goes on, my senses get used to that specific smell and it no longer bothers me.
  4. Dark/Light Adaptation-When I was in High School I would like to sit in the cafeteria where there was no windows so it was dark in there. I can remember thinking that I liked the “dark” in the cafeteria, however as the lunch hour went on the cafeteria did not seem as dark. Being inside the cafeteria would affect my sight by the time I had to go outside; the sun was too bright for my eyes. The outside light had high amplitude according to the definition and example in the book. It states that colors that are bright have high amplitude because of space between the base line and peaks are higher (Grison & Gazzaniga, 2017).
  5. The Gate-Control Theory of Pain-I relate to this theory when I get a “charley horse” when I am asleep in the middle of the night. When I do get one I have to get up and try to walk it off and try not to focus on the pain from it. For this theory we experience pain when pain receptors are activated and neural “gate” in the spinal cord allows the signals up to the brain. (Grison & Gazzaniga, 2017, PG 191).
  6. Perception- This one is different for everyone as no one perceives things the same way. For me I do not like the smell/taste of cucumbers I can smell them from a mile away, I have never like them. When my senses receive that smell and my brain recognizes it, my brain flips out and interprets that as a bad perception due to cucumber smell.
  7. Choose One of These – Closure, Proximity, Similarity, or Simplicity- Closure- The example I would use is the Dodge Ram logo since my dad is a big fan of cars. The logo has gaps in between if you do not see that logo often you would not have knowledge of what it is. Since I had prior knowledge of that the logo was I would be able to recognize it easily.
  8. Top Down Processing or Bottom Up Processing- A real life experience that I am going through at the moment, is when I recognize that I am starting to get sick. I have good knowledge of the symptoms due to prior experiences, if I had no prior experience I would assume that I was sore from the work out I did the night before. My brain process my body aches with top down processing.
  9. Depth Perception-
  10. Perceptual Constancy = It means that physical objects are perceived as unvarying and consistent despite changes in appearance or changes in physical environment (Terry, 2017). The moon changes every month, as it goes through its cycle. We still recognize it and perceive it as the moon even with the changes it goes through.


Grison, S., Heatherton, T., & Gazzaniga, M. (2016). Psychology in your life (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Norton Publishing.

Terry, L. (2017). Phycology in your life Chapter 5 Sensation and Perception



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