Explore the accompanying experiments, videos, simulations and animations on MyPsychLab. This chapter includes activities on:
- Facial perception
- Recognising the sex of a face
- Cues to depth
- The phi phenomenon
- Check your understanding for your exams using the multiple choice, short answer and essay practice tests also available.
One case that came back to me while I was writing was the curious one of a man who was charged with sexual assault on the train.
He had been asleep, flown with wine, and when he woke up grabbed a woman sitting across the carriage and started kissing her. She fought him off and when the train stopped in a station he was arrested.
In conference, he kept saying, 'I thought she was my wife.' When we got to court, the victim was the complete doppelganger of the wife - they could have been identical twins. I called the wife and the jury acquitted.
Source: Clarissa Dickson-Wright (2007) Spilling the Beans, p.87
What you should be able to do after reading chapter 6
- Define the term perception
- Describe and understand how form, motion and space might be perceived
- Describe the way in which the brain processes different types of visual information
- Describe and understand the way in which we recognise faces and other types of stimuli
- Understand the consequences of brain damage on visual perception and be aware of how these might help us to understand how the brain normally perceives
Questions to think about
- How do we assemble sensory cues from the environment and turn them into something meaningful?
- What is it about a face that makes it recognisable?
- How can we perceive a moving object as moving?
- How can we tell a moving car from a moving bus or train?
- Damage to which parts of the brain do you think would impair perception?
- Does the brain process different types of perception - form, space, motion, colour - differently?
- Are there stimulus-specific brain regions, ones that respond to specific classes of stimuli but not to others?
The nature of perception
Take a look around you - around the room or out the window? What do you see as you and your eyes move around? Shapes? Figures? Background? Shadows? Areas of light and dark? Your knowledge of the objects you see and their relative location is extensive, and you have a good idea of what they will feel like, even if you have not touched them. If the lighting suddenly changes (if lamps are turned on or off or if a cloud passes in front of the sun), the amount of light reflected by the objects in the scene changes too, but your perception of the objects remains the same - you see them as having the same shape, colour and texture as before. Similarly, you do not perceive an object as increasing in size as…