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Individuals can be born deaf, or they can develop deafness as a result of age, genetic predisposition, and/ or environmental causes. Hearing loss that results from a failure of the vibration of the eardrum or the resultant movement of the ossicles is called conductive hearing loss. Hearing loss that involves a failure of the transmission of auditory nerve impulses to the brain is called sensorineural hearing loss.

5.5 The Other Senses Taste (gustation) and smell (olfaction) are chemical senses that employ receptors on the tongue and in the nose that bind directly with taste and odor molecules in order to transmit information to the brain for processing. Our ability to perceive touch, temperature, and pain is mediated by a number of receptors and free nerve endings that are distributed throughout the skin and various tissues of the body. The vestibular sense helps us maintain a sense of balance through the response of hair cells in the utricle, saccule, and semi-circular canals that respond to changes in head position and gravity. Our proprioceptive and kinesthetic systems provide information about body position and body movement through receptors that detect stretch and tension in the muscles, joints, tendons, and skin of the body.

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5.6 Gestalt Principles of Perception Gestalt theorists have been incredibly influential in the areas of sensation and perception. Gestalt principles such as figure-ground relationship, grouping by proximity or similarity, the law of good continuation, and closure are all used to help explain how we organize sensory information. Our perceptions are not infallible, and they can be influenced by bias, prejudice, and other factors.

Review Questions

1. ________ refers to the minimum amount of stimulus energy required to be detected 50% of the time.

a. absolute threshold b. difference threshold c. just noticeable difference d. transduction

2. Decreased sensitivity to an unchanging stimulus is known as ________.

a. transduction b. difference threshold c. sensory adaptation d. inattentional blindness

3. ________ involves the conversion of sensory stimulus energy into neural impulses.

a. sensory adaptation b. inattentional blindness c. difference threshold d. transduction

4. ________ occurs when sensory information is organized, interpreted, and consciously experienced.

a. sensation b. perception c. transduction d. sensory adaptation

5. Which of the following correctly matches the pattern in our perception of color as we move from short wavelengths to long wavelengths?

a. red to orange to yellow b. yellow to orange to red c. yellow to red to orange d. orange to yellow to red

6. The visible spectrum includes light that ranges from about ________.

a. 400–700 nm b. 200–900 nm c. 20–20000 Hz d. 10–20 dB

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7. The electromagnetic spectrum includes ________.

a. radio waves b. x-rays c. infrared light d. all of the above

8. The audible range for humans is ________. a. 380–740 Hz b. 10–20 dB c. less than 300 dB d. 20-20,000 Hz

9. The quality of a sound that is affected by frequency, amplitude, and timing of the sound wave is known as ________.

a. pitch b. tone c. electromagnetic d. timbre

10. The ________ is a small indentation of the retina that contains cones.

a. optic chiasm b. optic nerve c. fovea d. iris

11. ________ operate best under bright light conditions.

a. cones b. rods c. retinal ganglion cells d. striate cortex

12. ________ depth cues require the use of both eyes.

a. monocular b. binocular c. linear perspective d. accommodating

13. If you were to stare at a green dot for a relatively long period of time and then shift your gaze to a blank white screen, you would see a ________ negative afterimage.

a. blue b. yellow c. black d. red

14. Hair cells located near the base of the basilar membrane respond best to ________ sounds.

a. low-frequency b. high-frequency c. low-amplitude d. high-amplitude

15. The three ossicles of the middle ear are known as ________.

a. malleus, incus, and stapes b. hammer, anvil, and stirrup c. pinna, cochlea, and utricle d. both a and b

16. Hearing aids might be effective for treating ________.

a. Ménière’s disease b. sensorineural hearing loss c. conductive hearing loss d. interaural time differences

17. Cues that require two ears are referred to as ________ cues.

a. monocular b. monaural c. binocular d. binaural

18. Chemical messages often sent between two members of a species to communicate something about reproductive status are called ________.

a. hormones b. pheromones c. Merkel’s disks d. Meissner’s corpuscles

19. Which taste is associated with monosodium glutamate?

a. sweet b. bitter c. umami d. sour

20. ________ serve as sensory receptors for temperature and pain stimuli.

a. free nerve endings b. Pacinian corpuscles c. Ruffini corpuscles d. Meissner’s corpuscles

188 Chapter 5 | Sensation and Perception

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21. Which of the following is involved in maintaining balance and body posture?

a. auditory nerve b. nociceptors c. olfactory bulb d. vestibular system

22. According to the principle of ________, objects that occur close to one another tend to be grouped together.

a. similarity b. good continuation c. proximity d. closure

23. Our tendency to perceive things as complete objects rather than as a series of parts is known as the principle of ________.

a. closure b. good continuation c. proximity d. similarity

24. According to the law of ________, we are more likely to perceive smoothly flowing lines rather than choppy or jagged lines.

a. closure b. good continuation c. proximity d. similarity

25. The main point of focus in a visual display is known as the ________.

a. closure b. perceptual set c. ground d. figure

Critical Thinking Questions

26. Not everything that is sensed is perceived. Do you think there could ever be a case where something could be perceived without being sensed?

27. Please generate a novel example of how just noticeable difference can change as a function of stimulus intensity.

28. Why do you think other species have such different ranges of sensitivity for both visual and auditory stimuli compared to humans?

29. Why do you think humans are especially sensitive to sounds with frequencies that fall in the middle portion of the audible range?

30. Compare the two theories of color perception. Are they completely different?

31. Color is not a physical property of our environment. What function (if any) do you think color vision serves?

32. Given what you’ve read about sound localization, from an evolutionary perspective, how does sound localization facilitate survival?

33. How can temporal and place theories both be used to explain our ability to perceive the pitch of sound waves with frequencies up to 4000 Hz?

34. Many people experience nausea while traveling in a car, plane, or boat. How might you explain this as a function of sensory interaction?

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35. If you heard someone say that they would do anything not to feel the pain associated with significant injury, how would you respond given what you’ve just read?

36. Do you think women experience pain differently than men? Why do you think this is?

37. The central tenet of Gestalt psychology is that the whole is different from the sum of its parts. What does this mean in the context of perception?

38. Take a look at the following figure. How might you influence wheth

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