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Introduction to Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Lesson 16
Hearing or audition is the sense of sound perception and results from tiny hair fibers in the inner ear
detecting the motion of a membrane which vibrates in response to changes in the pressure
exerted by atmospheric particles within (at best) a range of 20 to 20000 Hz. Sound can also
be detected as vibrations conducted through the body by tactician. Lower and higher
frequencies than can be heard are detected this way only. The main features regarding ear are:
·  Ear is regarded as the organ of hearing.
·  Like our other senses, our hearing or audition, is highly adaptive
·  Sense of motion and balance is regarded as the main and important function of the ear
·  Organisms have the ability to hear a wide range of sounds with different frequencies (ranging from
higher to very low faint voice)__ but more importantly we can easily detect different voices of
people whom we know or met
·  For this, the important question is how we do it? How the transformation of sound waves into
neural messages takes place?
Some Interesting Facts about Hearing
·  Animals have the capability of hearing more sounds than humans
·  Dolphins have the best sense of hearing among all animals
·  When people go up high in the mountains, the changes in pressure cause the ear to pop
·  Babies can get ear aches because of the milk deposit in the eustachian tube, which helps the
bacteria to grow there and may cause problems later in life
·  Children can hear more noises than adults, as their ears are more sensitive than that of adults
·  Ear aches result when too much fluid causes pressure in the eardrum__ often occur due to
allergies, virus or some sort of infection
The Human Ear: Anatomy/ Structure
The primary apparatus of hearing i.e., the ear is divided into three parts
1. The outer ear
2. The middle ear
3. The inner ear
1. The Outer Ear
·  The outer ear serves the function of collecting the sound waves from the environment to the
internal portions of the ear. It is shaped like a reverse megaphone
·  It also plays an important role in locating the sound direction from which it originates
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Auditory Canal
·  When sound waves originate from the vibrating object, they then pass through the auditory canal,
which is a tube like passage through which the sound travels to the inner part of the ear or " the
·  The part of the ear that starts vibrating when sound waves strike/ hit it.
·  Its intensity of vibration is dependent on how intense the sound waves are___ the more intense the
sound, the more intensely it vibrates.
·  These vibrations are then transmitted to the " middle ear".
2. Middle Ear
·  A tiny chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three bones---- the hammer, the anvil, and
the stirrup, which transmit vibrations to the oval window.
·  These three bones have only one function, i.e. to convey/ transmit the message to the inner ear.
These bones are also effective in the sense that they strengthen the stimulus (vibration) so that it can be
easily heard. Information (Vibration) Travels Through These Three
Oval window
Oval Window
· A membrane between the middle and the inner ear that increases the strength of the stimulus (vibration)
while transmitting them.
· Serves as the amplifier so that tiny or hiss voices could be heard, which otherwise may remain unnoticed.
3. Inner Ear
·  The innermost region/ part of the ear that contains important structures such as cochlea, semi
circular canals and vestibular sacs, and that changes/ transforms the sound waves into the neural
·  Organs that are present in it help us to determine in locating our position and how we are moving
in space.
·  In the inner ear, the sound enters into the cochlea___ a coiled, bony tube filled with the fluid that
receives information (sound) from the oval window or through bone conduction. The sound waves
that reach here help in triggering the nerve impulse. Basal Membrane
·  Inside the cochlea is the basal membrane passing from the middle of cochlea___ a structure that
divides the cochlea into the upper and lower chambers/ parts.
·  This basal membrane is covered/ surrounded by the tiny hair cells that are bent on the vibration, so
that neural message reaches the brain without any hindrance or difficulty; helps to transmit
information to the temporal lobe's auditory region.
·  Another  means
of hearing sound
besides  cochlea
is through bone
conduction.  As
ear  is  directly
connected  with
the skull's bones,
the  cochlea  is
then  able  to
voices (such as
voice). This is
largely  due  to
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
bone conduction. Why one's own voice seems different to one's self than to others is due to this
phenomenon. This may also occur because voice reaches one's self through the air and also
through bone conduction.
Sound and Its Physical and Psychological Aspects and Impacts
Sound is the primary stimulus for hearing.
Sound actually refers to the physical movement of air molecules in regular and wave like pattern/
·  When an object creates/ produces sound, it results in the back and forth vibration of its surface,
creating sound waves in the surrounding air. These dense and thin sound waves serve as the
stimulus for the ear/ for hearing process.
·  Sound waves that are being produced differ in their intensity, amplitude, frequency and
complexity___ they afterwards produce corresponding dimensions of sound. i.e. pitch, volume and
·  Frequency is the prominent feature/ characteristic of sound and refers to the number of complete
wave lengths/ crests that occur or pass a point in each second.
·  In low frequency of sounds, there are relatively fewer and slower up- and- down wave patterns per
second__ these low frequencies are then translated in what is called " pitch".
·  Primarily related with the frequency and refers to the quality of sound that is being produced by the
frequency of the sound wave; expressed in cycles per second__ the trait that makes the sound
"high" or " low".
·  The lowest and highest frequencies that humans can hear range from 20 cycles per second to
20,000 cycles per second.
Volume/ Intensity/ Loudness
·  Volume or loudness can be described as " strong" or " weak"__ determined by the amount of
pressure difference between the compressed part of the sound wave and the prominent part
·  Waves that have low peaks create soft sound as compared to the waves with higher peaks
·  The range within which humans can hear is extensive measured in unit called decibel (db).
·  If the sound exceeds 120 decibels then it become painful to human ear.
·  When fundamental tones are combined with the weaker tones, they are then to be known as over
·  Partials and harmonic tones are the audible tones that help to make up timbre__ quality of sound
determined by the complexity of sound waves
·  The difference in quality or timbre is determined by the complexity and arrangements of the
overtones that any instrument/ object produces which largely depends on its design and material
from which it is made.
Theories of Hearing/ Theories of Pitch Perception
Place Theory of Hearing
·  The most frequent question that comes to mind is that how can our brain sort out the sound waves
of different frequencies and intensities without any hindrance or problem?
·  The answer lies in the studies done in this regard. They show that the basal membrane (inner most
region of the ear near the cochlea) and its associated areas are most sensitive to high pitched
frequency sounds, and the area near the cochlea is more sensitive to low- frequency sounds.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
The findings of these studies led to the formation of place theory of hearing, which says that
different areas in the basal membrane respond to different frequencies of sound; pitch corresponds
to the location of greatest stimulation along the basilar membrane.
·  The most important shortcoming of this theory is that it is unable to explain the process of hearing,
i.e. sounds of low frequencies also trigger the neurons in the basal membrane and its associated
·  Due to this incomplete explanation of auditory phenomena, an additional explanation came in the
form of " frequency theory of hearing".
Frequency Theory of Hearing
·  This theory explains that the entire basal membrane acts as a microphone, vibrating in response to
sound i.e. activation occurs in the whole area in response to the vibration.
·  The theory tends to explain that the nerve impulses in that region are directly connected/
associated with the frequencies of sound to which they are exposed___ so the higher the pitch of
the sound, the more the nerves trigger and send messages to the brain.
·  Both theories are important and useful in the sense that they provide the accurate description of
the whole auditory phenomena.Specifically, place theory gives a better explanation of processing
the high- frequency sounds and frequency theory tells us that how the low- frequency sounds are
encountered and dealt with.
Auditory Information Processing
·  After leaving the ear, the auditory message is directly transmitted to the auditory cortex of the brain
with the complex series of neural interconnections
·  Within the cortex, there are neurons that respond to selective sounds having specific features___
there are neurons also that respond only to specific pattern/ sort of sounds and not to the
intermittent sounds.
·  Auditory cortex provides us with the " map" of sound frequencies that furnishes our response to
the environmental stimuli.Auditory/ Hearing Damage
· Auditory damage occurs largely due to the following three major reasons besides some others:
1. Prolonged exposure to loud noise
2. Severe/ hard blow to the ear sensitive regions
3. Old age
(Others include illness, or damage to the middle or inner ear)
1. Prolonged Exposure to the Loud Noise
·  It is also called stimulation deafness
·  It includes various types of loud tones/ sounds such as speech, music, machinery,
·  and other complex sounds
·  The damage is irreversible as the receptors which are damaged do not regenerate
·  Large amount of damage occurs between the frequency of 1000 Hz to 2000 Hz
2. Severe/ Hard Blow to the Ear Sensitive Regions
·  Tinnitus refers to a "ringing in the ears" ____ it is usually a high-pitched tone.
·  The origins of it may lie in either extreme stimulation (above 130 db) or in vascular
·  blockage, or in muscle spasms i.e., in the tympanic muscles.
3. Old Age
·  As people progress towards their old age, their hearing capability weakens in higher
frequency ranges. This is primarily due to an over all degeneration .
·  Environmental factors also play role in causing auditory damage along with old age.
Types of Hearing Impairment
1. Conduction Deafness: problem in conduction of air vibrations to the cochlea; the bones in the
middle ear do not function properly.
Treatment: microsurgery for replacing the affected bone with an artificial one.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
2. Nerve Deafness: deafness caused by a damage to the neural mechanism that creates nerve impulses
or relays them to the auditory cortex; deafness may also be caused by a damage to the auditory cortex
Balance and the Role of Ear
·  Several ear structures are related with the sense of balance of the person much more than playing their
roles in hearing phenomena
·  Three tubes or the semi circular canals (inner ear) contain the fluid that moves when the head moves;
the rotational or angular movements are signaled to the brain.
The semicircular canals contain otoliths that are tiny motion- sensitive crystals. The otoliths can sense the
pull on our body exerted by gravity, as well as that by the acceleration of forward, backward, or up-and-
down motion. When the person moves these crystals also move. Thus the system is familiar with the feeling
in case of different moves, and constantly strives for a perfectly balanced position; the otoliths can sense
Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?:Theoretical perspectives of psychology
  3. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT:Biological Approach, Psychodynamic Approach
  4. PERSPECTIVE/MODEL/APPROACH:Narcosis, Chemotherapy
  5. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH/ MODEL:Psychic Determinism, Preconscious
  6. BEHAVIORAL APPROACH:Behaviorist Analysis, Basic Terminology, Basic Terminology
  8. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I):Scientific Nature of Psychology
  9. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (II):Experimental Research
  11. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Socio- Cultural Factor, The Individual and the Group
  12. NERVOUS SYSTEM (1):Biological Bases of Behavior, Terminal Buttons
  13. NERVOUS SYSTEM (2):Membranes of the Brain, Association Areas, Spinal Cord
  14. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:Pineal Gland, Pituitary Gland, Dwarfism
  15. SENSATION:The Human Eye, Cornea, Sclera, Pupil, Iris, Lens
  16. HEARING (AUDITION) AND BALANCE:The Outer Ear, Auditory Canal
  17. PERCEPTION I:Max Wertheimer, Figure and Ground, Law of Closure
  18. PERCEPTION II:Depth Perception, Relative Height, Linear Perspective
  19. ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:Electroencephalogram, Hypnosis
  20. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Problem Solving, Basic Terminology, Conditioning
  21. OPERANT CONDITIONING:Negative Rein forcer, Punishment, No reinforcement
  22. COGNITIVE APPROACH:Approach to Learning, Observational Learning
  23. MEMORY I:Functions of Memory, Encoding and Recoding, Retrieval
  24. MEMORY II:Long-Term Memory, Declarative Memory, Procedural Memory
  25. MEMORY III:Memory Disorders/Dysfunctions, Amnesia, Dementia
  26. SECONDARY/ LEARNT/ PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES:Curiosity, Need for affiliation
  27. EMOTIONS I:Defining Emotions, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  28. EMOTIONS II:Respiratory Changes, Pupillometrics, Glandular Responses
  29. COGNITION AND THINKING:Cognitive Psychology, Mental Images, Concepts
  31. PERSONALITY I:Definition of Personality, Theories of Personality
  32. PERSONALITY II:Surface traits, Source Traits, For learning theorists, Albert Bandura
  33. PERSONALITY III:Assessment of Personality, Interview, Behavioral Assessment
  34. INTELLIGENCE:The History of Measurement of Intelligence, Later Revisions
  35. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY:Plato, Aristotle, Asclepiades, In The Middle Ages
  36. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR I:Medical Perspective, Psychodynamic Perspective
  37. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR II:Hypochondriasis, Conversion Disorders, Causes include
  38. PSYCHOTHERAPY I:Psychotherapeutic Orientations, Clinical Psychologists
  39. PSYCHOTHERAPY II:Behavior Modification, Shaping, Humanistic Therapies
  40. POPULAR AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY:ABC MODEL, Factors affecting attitude change
  41. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY:Understanding Health, Observational Learning
  42. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:‘Hard’ Criteria and ‘Soft’ Criteria
  43. CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Focus of Interest, Consumer Psychologist
  44. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Some Research Findings, Arousal level
  45. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Origin and History of Forensic Psychology