This book was created by the students of PSY 3031: Sensation and Perception, as a class project, because there is no existing open-source textbook for S&P. Content is, for the most part, re-used and re-mixed from existing open-source materials from Psychology and Anatomy textbooks. We needed to do this project because we need a resource that goes into greater depth than the Sensation and Perception sections of introductory psychology textbooks. We also wanted to create a resource with a stronger neuroscience foundation than your average psychology textbook, with strong links between physiology and perception. The final product will always be a work in progress, but hopefully a useful collection of materials to support college-level courses that want to understand how human physiology supports human perceptual experiences.
The course has two over-arching themes or guiding principles, both of which rest on the basic understanding that perception is an interpretive act, which means that our perceptions are sometimes only loosely based on our sensory experiences:
- Our brains shape our environment: there are many things that we simply do not perceive because we are not prepared to perceive them.
- Our environments shape our brains: color categories and phonetic boundaries are just two examples of how our conscious access to sensory information is limited by the culture we grew up in.