Sensory Mechanisms in Perception



It may be necessary at the outset to emphasize that my theme is taken to be physiological mechanisms in perception, as elucidated by reasonably precise experimentation. Many participants are laymen in this field and may like to know how far into psychology we can penetrate by the analysis of cell properties, impulses, and circuitry and I shall try to provide an answer to this question by selecting suitable cases. Clearly we cannot explain the existence of conscious modalities such as sight, smell, and hearing, though we can trace their pathways. Probably the physiologist in the past has done best when studying the sense organs purely as measuring instruments, quantifying his findings, and going on to look for equivalents in perception. There is, for instance, in vision and acoustics the threshold in terms of impulses per unit energy in different wavelengths which determines thresholds as perceived. Thus the rhodopsin distribution of spectral sensitivity can be measured photochemically, physiologically, and psychologically (as perceived threshold), and the values obtained by these different methods lie on the same curve (after correction in the last case for slight selective absorption in the ocular media). The information from the transducer has thus been relayed without distortion.


Purkinje Cell Receptive Field Mossy Fiber Horseshoe Crab Sensory Mechanism 
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Copyright information

© Pontificia Academia Scientiarum, Città del Vaticano 1965

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Nobel Institute for NeurophysiologyStockholmSweden

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