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Basic regularities of sensations: know 6 concepts

Sensations are a mental process

Sensation is a mental process that reflects an objective reality.Sensations can undergo changes depending on changes in the external environment.


  • Sensitivity threshold and adaptation
  • Contrast and interaction
  • Sensitization and synesthesia

Sensitivity threshold and adaptation

There are basic patterns of sensations that describe all the processes occurring in analyzers.

Among them are:

  • threshold of sensitivity
  • adaptation
  • contrast
  • interaction
  • sensitization
  • synaesthesia

The irritant must have a certain force to create a sensation.If the stimulus is weak, then the person does not feel anything, and too much influence acts analogously.

If you turn on the sound at a frequency of more than 20 thousand hertz, a person will not hear the sound.This applies to both light and other sensations, a person will feel pain.

The sensitivity threshold determines the relationship between the strength of the stimulus and the quality of the sensations.The minimum amount of stimulus that the analyzer is able to detect is called the absolute threshold of sensations.The lower the sensitivity threshold, the stronger the irritant is needed for it.

Sensitivity depends on external factors

The sensitivity can vary depending on external factors.This is evident from the effect of fog: the more water vapor in the air and other substances, the lower the visibility.If you eliminate all the obstacles, a person will see a burning candle at a distance of 25 km.

Adaptation characterizes the moment when the sensitivity level changes under the constant action of the stimulus.The organism gets used to the action of a certain stimulus and the quality of sensations undergoes changes.Adaptation is closely related to environmental conditions.

Adaptation can be positive and negative.Positive adaptation occurs when the stimulus is weak - then the sensitivity increases.As a consequence, the conditioned reflex work of the organism is intensified.

In the dark, visual acuity increases, the pupil size increases 17 times.With negative adaptation under the action of a strong stimulus, the sensitivity decreases.

With the adaptation, the sensations can completely disappear.Weaker adaptation is expressed to auditory and painful sensations.

From the video offered, learn about sensory psychophysics.

Contrast and interaction

The following basic patterns of sensations are referred to as contrast and interaction.Contrast means that strong stimuli reduce sensitivity to irritants, and weak ones increase.The quality of sensations can change under the influence of the present or previous stimulus.

Two stimuli acting simultaneously can cause double contrast.If you look at a figure on a black and white background, it will be perceived differently.This applies to other colors.This property is used when camouflaging military facilities.

Contrast also occurs with tactile sensations.After exposure to cold temperature, a slightly warm stimulus will appear hot.If you eat an acidic product, and after it is sweet, then the quality of the second will intensify several times.

Consistent contrast is well traced in visual sensations.If you look at the white spot for a long time, and after you look at the dark surface, the spot will remain for a few seconds.After a long listening to loud music, there is still a noise in the ears.

The interaction of sensations arises when one analyzer system affects the other, so that the sensitivity of one of them changes.The quality of the sensation is affected not only by the strength of the stimulus, but also by other stimuli to other organs.

It has been proven by experience that a weak sound stimulus increases the sensitivity of the visual analyzer.If the noise around is strong, then the visual sensations become less clear.Vision also reacts to strong olfactory sensations.

A weak light stimulus strengthens auditory sensations, and strong - worsen.When the pain stimulus is applied, the remaining sensations become more acute.

All systems of analyzers affect each other in varying degrees.The sensitivity may decrease or increase depending on the conditions.

Sensitization increases sensitivity

Sensitization and synaesthesia

Sensitization of sensations means increased sensitivity due to exercise.To achieve this, you can concentrate on a particular stimulus, asking yourself the installation.

Sensitization is used in two cases.First of all, it is necessary to compensate for sensory pathologies in deafness or blindness.In this case, the sense of touch develops to a greater degree.

Blind people learn to read using the Braille alphabet, where the letters have a relief-dotted tactile font.Blind people are successfully engaged in sculpture, playing musical instruments.Deaf people develop vibrational sensations that allow them to feel music, tact.Stronger developed in the deaf and charm, touch, sight.

Sensitization occurs with specific activities, with professional training in musical instruments or working in special conditions.The acuity of hearing increases in musicians, visual acuity increases in artists and people performing precise work, such as painters or grinders.

People working with flowers( designers, seamstresses, etc.), distinguish more shades of the same color.Tasters otherwise taste.

When the stimulus affects one analyzer, and the sensation occurs in another, speak of a pattern like synaesthesia.It can concern all kinds of sensations.

With the influence of sound or olfactory stimuli, visual images appear.It happens the other way round: when an effect of a certain visual irritation arises an auditory sensation.

Each person has permanent synesthesia, but for individual people they rarely coincide.Some people have never experienced such feelings.

The presence of the above properties shows how well the human body works together.Every sensation is unique, although it can be formed into a certain system.

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