Sensory Processing Study Guide



1) Sensory processing refers to the process of transmiting a sensation from the environment and processing the information into an ultimate perception.

2) The absolute threshold is the level of intensity of a stimulus that is necessary for it to be perceived half of the time. For instance, your tongue would not be able to taste a single molecule of glucose in a glass of water. There is a certain minimum amount necesary for you to perceive that it is there.

3) The just noticeable difference (JND) is the minimum change in intensity of a stimulus that can be perceived. For example, what is the minimum increase in volume that is necessary for humans to tell there is a difference.

4) Weber's Law describes how the ability to resolve differences in intensity decreases at a greater magnitude of the stimuli. Fechner's Law which adds to the theory states that the difference generally scales as a function of the log of the intensity.

5) The perception of stimuli is subject to sensory adaptation which generally is the process where prolonged exposure to a stimulus can result in a reduction in the perception of that stimulus.

6) A homunculus (or Penfield Cortical Body Map) is a diagram that maps how perception of sensations in differnt regions of the the body map to the cortex of the brain.

Penfield Cortical Body Map

7) Sensory information from different parts of the body pass through the thalamus in the brain and then are processed or perceived in the cerebral cortex (the outer layer of the brain).

Lobes of the Brain

8) The cortex is divided up into different regions: the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes.

    • Vision is processed in the occipital lobe
      Memory is handled by the temporal lobe
      Decision making takes place in the frontal lobe
  • Regions and Functions of the Brain

    9) Information is processed in the cortex cross-laterally or on the opposite side of the body from where the stimuli is received.