Sensation & perception is one of the most fascinating topics in psychology, both for the beginning student & for the professional psychologist, because it addresses one of the most fundamental issues of life: how does information from the world get into the brain & then processed to make meaningful information. When you think about it, the brain does not perceive or sense anything. It only receives electro-chemical messages from the sense organs. Everything we experience in the world comes from this process.
- Over the next few days, we will cover some very hard concepts:
- How sensation becomes meaningful
- How sensation is filter to be manageable
- How each of the senses work (eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin, & balance) — Yes that is six!
As far as something interesting to blog about, I think that the vestibular sense or balance is it. Most of us believe that the sixth sense is ESP (extra-sensory perception), but it is not. It is our sense of balance. Our balance gives us information about the world just as much as our eyes give us information about shapes, color, & texture; ears, sound; nose, scent; tongue, taste; or skin, temperature, touch, or pain. Without a sense of balance, our lives would be greatly impaired just as they are if we loose any of our other senses.
Think about it. If you could not balance, you could not walk, sit up right, or even lie down. You would constantly feel dizzy and have the sensation of falling. Someone like me that gets motion sickness easily would be constantly nauseated. It is little wonder that people who loose their sense of balance have the highest suicide rate of any group that looses a sense.
That’s right, people (a) can loose their sense of balance & (b) it is so disturbing and difficult to compensate for that these people commit suicide at a much higher rate than those who are blind, deaf, cannot smell, cannot taste, cannot feel pain, cannot feel sensation, or cannot sense temperature. And, some how we are completely unaware of our sense of balance.
Just to whet your appetite, and hopefully, get you to return to this blog, I will blog about a case study of someone who lost her sense of balance & was successfully treated for it! Check back soon for that exciting & interesting update!