Sensation & Perception Lecture 6 2/09/04
From Scentsational Sex: The Secret to Using Aroma for Arousal, 1998 “PPL are powerfully influenced no by manly, sweet, or earthy colognes, but by odd mixtures of everyday odors- pumpkin pie and lavender for men, or licorice candy mixed with cucumber for women”
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How does physical energy become a psychological experience? • Sensation • Sensory receptors in eyes, ears, nose absorb raw, physical energy • Transduction • Raw energy converted to neural signals to be sent to brain • Perception • Signals selected, organized & interpreted
Example- Vision Sunset Sensory receptors in eyes Neural impulses (Chemical rxn of light sensitive cells) Brain (occipital lobe)
Importance of Smell • Past: used sweat, brain, urine, odor to diagnose illness • Today: Aromatherapy (inhalation of odors) to ward off illness • Dogs have 200 million olfactory receptors, we have only 10 million • Dogs mark territory, signal danger, establish dominance, attract mates, track down animals, criminals, drugs, disease… • Can our behavior influenced by odor?
How our nose knows • Breathe through nose and mouth to inhale airborne oderant molecules • Molecules dissolved and trapped by olfactory receptors • Like lock & key, AP activated in olfactory bulb • Info DIRECTLY distributed throughout cortex & limbic system • What do I smell, how do I feel about that smell, have I smelled that before & Awareness
Individuals differ in smelling sensitivity • We can distinguish among 10,000 different odor molecules • Primary odors are vinegar, rose, mint, rotten egg, mothballs, dry-cleaning fluid, musk • Women > men in ID-ing different smells • Some are anosmic (Ben Cohen)
Age • Nursing infants (2wks) prefer their own mother’s body odor to others. • Olfactory sensitivity peaks in middle age and declines in 70’s + 80’s • Based on National Geographic scratch n’ sniff recognition test.
How early? • Expose fetal rat pups to lemon scent • Nursing preference • Place-preference task • Mate preference
How sensitive to scent are we? • Sniffing Studies • College students can ID own shirts • Mothers can pick out children’s • Most can ID Men vs. women • Women can ‘sniff’ attractive men
Pheromones • Chemicals secreted by animals of same species to transmit signals • Dogs in heat… • E.g. male Emperor Moth • Chemoreceptors on antennae can detect scent of virgin female > 6 miles away!
4 categories of behavior affected by Pheromones • Mother-Infant Interaction • Territorial Marking • Reproductive Synchrony • Sexual Attraction
“if you had to smell it all the time” • 49 unmarried women • Chose smell of genetically similar men to fathers • Women who had pheromone added to perfume reported 50% increase in sexual attention from men • Sexual intercourse, kissing, heavy petting, affection, slept closer
Fragrance enhanced performance Yale Chocolate Study, 1991 RETEST Odor No Odor Odor LEARNING No Odor
Fragrance & Arousal • Write description of personality • Exchange with partner • Rate partner • Exchange • Angry vs. Nonangry • “Aggression Machine” • Jungle gardenia vs. no scent
How well do our senses sense? • Experience is subjective • The same visual input can result in radically different perceptions • Psychophysics • Relationship between physical stimulation AND subjective sensations • Signal Detection Theory • Detection based on signal AND response criterion
Perceptual Set • Center figure depends on the order in which one looks at the figures: • If scanned from the left, man’s face • If scanned from the right, a woman’s figure
Gestalt Principles Applied • Figure & Ground • Dividing visual displays into the THING being looked at and the BACKGROUND against which it stands • THING has substance, stands in front of ground • Fundamental Attribution Error • Discounting the situation, attributing behavior to dispositions • Why did she litter? And you?
Gestalt Laws of Grouping • We tend to group collections of shapes, sizes, colors, and other features into perceptual wholes
Proximity • Seeing 3 pair of lines in A • Similarity • Seeing columns of orange and red dots in B • Continuity • Seeing lines that connect 1 to 2 and 3 to 4 in C • Closure • Seeing a horse in D
Stereotypes • Generalizations about groups with identical characteristics • We tend to see members of stereotyped groups as more similar to stereotype than they actually are • Cliques, sports teams, majors, Greek life • Read description of b-ball player…
Closure • The Zeingarnik Effect • Tendency to remember an uncompleted task rather than a completed one • Unfinished business creates “psychic tension” • Tension motivates us to seek closure by completing the task
S.B. • Blind until 52 • Corneal Transplant performed, sight restored • Looked out hospital window • Small objects below • Climbed out on 4th floor ledge to check them out by lowering himself with hands! • No depth perception
The Visual Cliff Eleanor Gibson & Richard Walk, 1960 • Visual illusion of a cliff • At which point in dvlptl process can humans perceive depth • Nativist vs. empiricist perspective
Procedure • 36 infants 6-14 months • Placed on ‘shallow side’ • Mothers called from deep side • *also chicks, turtles, rats, lambs, kids, pigs & kittens
Results • ALL p’s crawled when called from shallow side • ONLY 3 crept across “cliff” • Animal abilities varied by when skill was needed for survival • Chicks less than 24hrs made no mistakes • Rats showed no preference
The Müller-Lyer Illusion • Perceived length of line altered by position of other lines enclosing it
The Ponzo Illusion • Illusion in which the perceived line length is affected by linear perspective cues. • Side lines seem to converge • Top line seems farther away • But the retinal images of the red lines are equal.