Sensory Adaptation

You have just been asked to teach the concept of adaptation to a psychology 
class. You decide to conduct the following experiments to teach the concept of

Task 1: Conduct three of the following 
experiments. Record your reactions, and be specific for each experiment.


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


·         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? Record your


Experiment 2:


·         Prepare 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. (Dispose
of the sugar water)


·         Taste from the cup containing fresh water. Did the taste of the fresh water 
surprise you? How? Record your reaction.


Experiment 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.


·         Place 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 cards 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? Record your reaction.


·         How many cards did it take to not see the light after time?


Experiment 4:


·         Fill 3 medium-sized bowls as follows: 

o    Bowl 1 – with very hot (but not painfully hot) tap water


·         Bowl 2 – with very cold tap water


·         Bowl 3 – with 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? Record your reaction.


In all four experiments, you will experience adaption.


Task 2: Write a paper that describes adaption and how you 
experienced it in your experiments. The paper should cover the following.


·         Fully describe the process and results of the experiments that you 


·         What is sensory adaptation? Explain the concept of sensory 
adaptation. Refer to your text for the definition of sensory adaptation (this is
not the general dictionary definition)


·         Explain how adaptation is evident in each of your experimental 


·         Provide a comprehensive description of the sensory systems that are involved 
in the experiments that you performed. This description should include what
happens from the receptors to the brain. Your discussion should illustrate what
was experienced in each experiment.


·         Discuss how adaptation is important from an evolutionary perspective.


Be sure to document your references using APA format.


For assistance with your assignment, please use your text, Web resources, and 
all course materials. Please refer to the following multimedia course


·         Week 2 – The Sensation & Perception of Psychology


·         Week 2 – Sensation and Perception


·         Week 2 – The Nervous System


·         Week 2 – FAQ: Sensation and Perception


Please use the following guidelines for formatting your assignment.




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