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Q: Define sensation and perception. What is the difference between them? Provide an example.
A: We make contact with the world around us through our five primary senses — sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. [ Psychologists distinguish between sensation and perception. Sensation is the pickup of information by our sensory receptors, for example the eyes, ears, skin, nostrils, and tongue. In vision, sensation occurs as rays of light are collected by the two eyes and focused on the
retina. In hearing, sensation occurs as waves of pulsating air are collected by the outer ear and transmitted through the bones of the middle ear to the cochlear nerve. Perception is the interpretation of what is sensed. The physical events transmitted to the retina may be interpreted as a particular color, pattern, or shape. The physical events picked up by the ear may be interpreted as musical sounds, a human voice, noise, and so forth. Lack of experience may cause a person to misinterpret what he has sensed. In other words, perception represents our apprehension of a present situation in terms of our past experiences, or, as stated by the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): "We see things not as they are but as we are." The following situation will illustrate how perception correlates with previous experience: Suppose a person parked his car and walks away from it while continuing to look back at it. As he goes further and further away from his car, it will appear to him as if his car is gradually getting smaller and smaller. In such a situation none of us, however, would gasp in horror and cry out, “My car is shrinking!” Although the sensory perception is that the car is shrinking rapidly, we do not interpret that the car is changing size. Through past experiences we have learned that objects do not grow or shrink as we walk toward or away from them. You have learned that their actual size remains constant, despite the illusion. Even when one is five blocks away from one's car and it seems no larger than one's fingernail, one would interpret it as that it is still one's car and that it hasn't actually changed size. ]
Expert answered|selymi|Points 1427|
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Asked 3/7/2011 11:41:46 AM
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