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Experiments

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Conduct three of the following experiments and record your reactions. Be specific for each experiment.

1. Rub your index fingers gently over a piece of very coarse sandpaper a few times and rate its coarseness on a scale from 1 (very soft) to 7 (very coarse). After a minute or two, rub the same finger over the paper and again rate its coarseness. Did your perception of the coarseness change? How?

2. Distribute one cup with sugar water and one with fresh water. Take a sip of the sugar water and swish it around in your mouth for several seconds without swallowing it; gradually, it should taste less sweet. After swallowing it (or spitting it back into the cup), taste from the cup containing fresh water. Did the taste of the fresh water surprise you? How?

3. Take about 15 index cards and a flashlight that is opaque on all sides (so that light shines only through the front) into a very dark room. After placing all 15 cards over the beam of light, slowly remove the cards one at a time until you can barely detect the light, and then count the number of cards that remain over the light. After a few minutes, the light should begin to look brighter. When this is the case, add a card and see if you can still see the light. Repeat this process of gradually adding cards over a 15-minute period. Were you able to detect an increasingly dim light the longer you spent in the dark?

4. Fill 3 medium-sized bowls with (a) very hot (but not painfully so) tap water, (b) very cold tap water, and (c) a mixture of the very hot and very cold water. Arrange them, so your right hand is in front of the cold water, your left hand is in front of the hot water, and the lukewarm water is in the middle. Submerse your hands into the water (right into cold, left into hot) for about 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, quickly transfer both hands to the lukewarm (middle) bowl. What did you sense?

In all four experiments, you will experience adaptation.

· Fully describe the process and results of each experiment.

· What is adaptation? Explain adaptation as discussed in the text, not as a general dictionary definition.

· Explain how adaptation is evident in each of your experimental results. Be sure to differentiate between sensory adaptation, which is due to either fatigue or recovery of receptors, and perceptual adaptation, which is due to the reticular system directing the focus of our attention elsewhere.

· Comprehensively describe the sensory systems involved in these experiments, from the receptors all the way into and including the brain. Be sure to describe how we smell, touch, taste, etc. and how we smell, touch, taste, etc. Make sure that your discussion of the sensory system illustrates what you experienced in each experiment.

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Solution Preview

You will need to do the experiments and record your results, so this response uses illustrative examples. Let's look at #1, 2 and 4. I also attached an APA sample paper to follow for your final write-up.

RESPONSE:

1. Rub your index fingers gently over a piece of very coarse sandpaper a few times and rate its coarseness on a scale from 1 (very soft) to 7 (very coarse). After a minute or two, rub the same finger over the paper and again rate its coarseness. Did your perception of the coarseness change? How?

This experiment has to do with touch perception (i.e. your skin receptors in the skin take in sensory stimuli and sends messages to the receptors in the brain and then you perceive the sensation) and sensory adaptation occurs due to fatigue of the receptors which results in changes perceptions or adaptation to the coarseness with repeated exposure (i.e. sandpaper feels less course with each repeated exposure due to the fatigue of the receptors).

A)
The research/participant (you in this case) rubbed her/his index fingers gently over a piece of very coarse sandpaper a few times and rated its coarseness on a scale from 1 (very soft) to 7 (very coarse). After a minute or two, she/he rubbed the same finger over the paper and again rated its coarseness. Did your perception of the coarseness change?

B)
You should find that with repeated exposure to the course sandpaper you will rate the coarseness of the paper as being less course (e.g., first rating: 7; second rating: 4) (record your results). In other words, your perception of the degree of coarseness should change with repeated exposure.

C)
Your perception of the experiment is the interpretation of what you take in through your senses, in this case through your touch. In touch sensation, your receptors located in your sensory organs (skin on finger) received and convert stimulus energies from your environment (touching the course sandpaper) into neural impulses.

Sensory Adaptation occurs when your brain receptors and neurons ...

Solution Summary

Assists in conducting three experiments related to adaptation.

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