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SENSATION – is an awareness or a mental process which is aroused

because of the stimulation of a sense organ
- it is a one-stage process in which the sensory surface is
stimulated and a sensation results
- it is an elementary experience associated with a very
simple stimulus
- it briefly refers to the physiological arousal of a sense
organ by a stimulus
- sense organs respond directly to the environmental stimuli
of odor, touch, light, sound, and taste

PERCEPTION – a process of making sense out of a jumble of so many

- the process of interpreting sensations and events as
influenced by set and prior experience – making them

Acquiring Sensory Awareness:

Conditions in order for sensation to occur:

a. Receptor organ stimulation. First essential condition to have a sensory
 Stimulus – anything that rouses a sense organ to activity
o Physical energy – ex. heat, light, sound, and pressure
o Chemical energy – ex. substances that can be
smelled or tasted

 Sense organs – considered as the doorways of the body

- is a highly specialized part of the body and is
selectively sensitive to a definite stimulus
b. Presence of the receptor cells.
- receptor cells detect the stimuli from the environment and
transmit information to the appropriate areas of the brain
Ex. Rods and cones of the retina
c. Transduction must take place.
 Transduction – is the process of converting/ transforming a
stimuli into a code of electrochemical impulses which travels to
the brain.
- this process takes place in the receptors
- the specialized cells transform the physical energy gradually
into electrical voltages known as the generator potentials.

Detecting the stimulus:

• ABSOLUTE THRESHOLD – the lower limit of sensitivity or the

least quality and quantity of stimulus that can be detected or sensed
and perceived consequently
 The least amount stimulus necessary to produce a
response in a person
 There will be no sensation if the stimulus does not reach
or go beyond this threshold

Light A candle seen at 30 miles on a dark,
clear night
Sound The tick of a watch under quite
conditions at 20 feet
Taste One teaspoon of sugar in 2 gallons of
Smell One drop of a perfume diffused into
a 3-room apartment
Touch The wing of a bee falling on your
cheek from a distance of 1 cm

• SUBLIMINAL THRESHOLD – when there is no sense of awareness

and that they escape unnoticed
• TERMINAL THRESHOLD – when the stimuli reach an increased
intensity, they produce pain in the individual being stimulated and
make him uncomfortable.

Noting changes in stimulation:

DIFFERENTIAL THRESHOD – the minimum amount of change

in the stimulus necessary for the object t o be able to detect
- also known as the discrimination threshold or the just
noticeable difference (JND)
- minimum detectable change

Sensory adaptation


1. distal senses – are senses that are sensitive to stimuli coming from
a distance in the outside environment
ex. Mother approaching from the other side of the street
2. proximal senses – bring information only when there is direct
contact with the objects that stimulate them.
ex. Gustatory sensation which we experience when we
eat a ripe mango
olfactory sensation experienced when we smell a
sampaguita garland.

- one of the distal senses which utilizes the physical characteristic
of light
 Organ of vision: EYES
Parts of the eye:
a. Iris & Pupil– is a group of muscles which operates by reflex action
and gives color to the eye. Contracts when in a bright place, making
the pupil smaller, thus controlling much of the brightness of light.
b. Cornea – a white tough membrane which is continuation of the
schlera. Transparent in appearance and that provides protection to the
inner parts of the eye
c. Lens –adjust the light rays so that whatever one is looking at is
sharply focused on the retina
d. Retina – the true organ of vision and is known as the photosensitive
area of the eye; where visual transduction takes place
2 receptor cells:
1. rods – about 100 million in numbers
- used for twilight vision or low light intensity and
enable one to make colorless discrimination
- are color blind / see the world in black and white
- the rods are better in dim light
2. cones – more than 6 million in numbers, allow us to see the
different wavelength of light as different colors/ hues
- the one that interprets colors
- when a set of cone is weak, a person is colored
3 types of cones:
1. sensitive to red
2. sensitive to green
3. sensitive to blue

2 Types of color blindness:

ex. If an individual has 1 type of color blindness – red-green
deficiency, a red ball to him appears yellow, and a green
appears blue
b. achromatic – a person has no retina
- he will see the world without colors at all times, it will only be
black and white

Visual acuity – the individual’s ability to discriminate the details of what he

- refers to the clearness/sharpness of vision which can be
Snellen Eye Chart – the most common way of measuring this ability
 20/20 vision – normal vision, perfect vision, 100% efficiency

Physical Stimulus : LIGHTWAVES

Sense Organs, Receptors: EYES, RODS AND CONES IN RETINA
Area of cerebral Cortex: OCCIPITAL LOBE
Types Of Sensation:
• Hues – refers to the name of the colors
• Brightness – the basis of brightness is the energy of the source
light or the intensity of the stimulus ( Yellow appears brighter
than red and blue.
- may range from bright to dim

• Saturation – associated with the purity or richness of colors


 Organ for Hearing: EARS

- sensitive to sound waves
Sound waves – mechanical vibrations in the air

3 Main parts of the Ear

1. Outer Ear;
a. Pinna (concha) – a skin covered cartilage protruding on the
side of the head that collects sound waves
b. Auditory canal
c. Eardrum (tympanic membrane) – a movable diaphragm
activated by sound waves
2. Middle Ear:
o Ossicles – systems of bones
 Malleus/ hammer - attached firmly to the eardrum
 Incus (anvil)
 Stapes (Stape) – attached firmly to the oval window
 Oval window – conducts the sound waves to the cochlea

3. Inner Ear: Cochlea (Greek word for “snail”)

- a fluid-filled coiled or spiral formed structure where
transduction takes place
- contains: basilar membrane – composed of hair cells
(“cilia”)which is responsible for the release of
- cilia – contains the Organ of Corti which makes the hair cells
receptors for hearing

Type of Sensitivity: Auditory

Physical Stimulus: Sound Waves
Sense Organ, Receptors: Ears: hair Organs Of Corti
Area of Cerebral Cortex: Temporal Lobe
Types of Sensations:
a. Pitch – the qualitative dimension of hearing correlated with
the frequency of the sound waves that constitute the stimulus
- refers to the highness or lowness of a sound
b. loudness – an intensity dimension of hearing correlated with
amplitude of the sound waves constituting the stimulus
c. complexity –different sounds / differences of sounds
noise – complex sounds composed of many frequencies
not in harmonious relation with one another
d. timbre – is the characteristic quality of a musical tone (piano
or a violin)
Decibel Scale
The decibel scale is used primarily to compare sound intensities although it can be used to compare
s 0 Typical soundthreshold of hearing
10 rustle of leaves in gentle breeze
10 quiet whisper
20 average whisper
20-50 quiet conversation
40-45 hotel; theater (between performances)
50-65 loud conversation
65-70 traffic on busy street
65-90 train
75-80 factory (light/medium work)
90 heavy traffic
90-100 Thunder
110-140 jet aircraft at takeoff
130 threshold of pain
140-190 space rocket at takeoff


Organ of Smelling: Nose

Type of sensitivity: Olfactory
Physical Stimulus: Gaseous Substances
Receptors: Hair Cells in Olfactory Epithelium
Area of Cerebral Cortex: None (processed in the lower brain centers)

Your nose helps you breathe and smell. Air enters the nose through the
nostrils and passes into a large space called the nasal cavity. Nerve cells in
the olfactory bulb collect information about smells in the air and pass that
information to the olfactory tract and onto the brain.

 Adaptation – a process in which a sense gradually ceases to respond to

a constant stimulus

Seven Basic Molecules or Smells that can be perceived or determined by the

brain: (Boeree, 2003)

a. Floral (flowery)
b. Pepperminty (minty)
c. Musky - perfume
d. Pungent – spices, vinegar
e. Camphoraceous – mothballs
f. Ethereal – dry-cleaning fluid
g. Putrid (putrial) – rotten eggs, raw/ decaying fish or meat

Nose and Smell

People use their noses to smell. Most people can identify about 10,000
different types of odors.

-referred to as a chemical sense (together with the olfactory
Type of Sensitivity: Gustatory
Physical Stimulus: Soluble Substances
Sense Organ, Receptors: Tongue; taste cells in the taste buds
a. Papillae – slight elevations of the tongue
- taste buds lie in the crevices between the papillae
c. Taste buds – are shaped like a flask and each one has an opening like
a pore
- there are approximately 10,000 taste buds in the human adult
c. taste receptors – taste cells that are found in the taste buds
- 15-20 taste cells arranged in budlike form on the tip of the
- Reproduce themselves every seven to ten days
- As individual ages, there is a decrease in the cells and small
amount of cells are replaced
Area of Cerebral Cortex: Parietal Lobe
Types of Sensation:
Primary Tastes:
a. Salty – felt at the tip and along the sides of the tongue
b. Sweet – most felt at the tip of the tongue
c. Sour – on the sides
d. Bitter – at the base or on the back
- these sensations are combined with the sense of smell to give various
foods their unique tastes

AGEUSIA – a disorder of taste when the nerves responsible for taste are

- said to be as the reality senses [when we feel something with
our skin, we are convinced that something is really there]
- help us adapt to and survive to changing temperatures
- pain receptors warn us of harmful objects in the environment

Physical Stimulus: Mechanical or Thermal Stimulation

Sense Organ, Receptors: Skin; Free Nerve Endings
SKIN – contains the largest receptors of any sensory system in the body
because it covers the entire body

Structure of the Skin

Human skin has three layers. The epidermis forms the outer, protective layer.
The dermis contains hair roots, sweat and oil glands, nerves, and blood
vessels. The fat layer attaches the skin to internal organs.

Layers of the Skin:

a. Epidermis – outer layer;
b. Dermis – intermediate or the middle layer
c. Subcutaneous/adipose – innermost layer
Free Nerve Endings – considered as the sense organs of the skin
- are not equally distributed in the skin

Receptors for different Skin Sensations:

a. Meissner’s Corpuscles –receptor for touch
b. Pacinian Corpuscles – receptors for pressure
- responsible for pressure-sensitivity
- second most numerous
c.Ruffini Nerve Endings – receptor for hot
 Physiologic Zero – if the temp is 32 degrees centigrade, no sensation
is felt, neither hot or cold
Baseline temp: 28˚C – 37˚C
- a difference of 0.01˚C- 8˚C – an indication of slight
d. Krause end bulbs – receptor for cold
e. Free nerve endings – receptor for physical pain
- based on studies found out to be the most numerous

- the general term used to refer to the sense of body position
- involves to senses:
o Kinesthetic Sense
o Vestibular Sense

A. Kinesthetic Sense
- sense of movement and posture
Kinesthesia – is the sense of relating where the body parts are with
respect to each other
- gives information about body movements and positions
- the receptor cells are in the nerve endings of the muscles,
tendons and joints
Receptor cells – are simple neurons that branch off from the central
nervous system and lead into muscles, tendons, and joint linings

Physical Stimulus: Change in position of body parts

Sense Organ, Receptors: Muscles, tendons, and joints; nerve endings
Area of Cerebral Cortex: Parietal Lobe
Type of Sensation: Movement of body parts

B. Vestibular Sense
- Sense of balance
- Also called as the equilibratory or labyrinthine sense
- Deals with the total body position in relation to gravity
and with motion of the body as a whole
- Located near the cochlea in the inner ear
- 3 Semicircular Canals in the cochlea contains fluids that
moves whenever we turn or rotate our head
- lining these canals are small hair cells that respond with a
nerve when the fluid pushes against them
- -aside from the semicircular canals, the sense organ of
balance also includes two other cavities in the bone near
the cochlea
o Utriculus
o Sacculus
- these are cavities filled with small crystals that respond to
- respond to the change in position or tilt of the head

Type of Sensitivity: Equilibrium

Physical Stimulus: Change in Rotary motion; Change in Rectilinear
Motion; Body Position
Rotary Motion – sense when moving on a circular movement
- semicircular canals are sense organs for rotation
- the receptors respond only to changes in rate of rotations,
that is, to acceleration or decceleration
Rectilinear – is the motion that one makes when he is making
movement in a straight line
Sense Organ, Receptors: Ear; Semicircular Canals; ear; vestibule
Type of Sensation: Turning or Spinning acceleration; deceleration;
upright or tilted

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