Biological Adaptation

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The concept of biological adaptation has profound impact on how the experimenter understands psychology. Sensory adaptation is temporal change in the responses of the senses to a continuous stimulus (Boulpaep & Boron, 2003). The individual often perceives it as a change in sensation over time (Boulpaep & Boron, 2003).


In the first experiment, the experimenter rubbed our index fingers across very rough sandpaper for five seconds. The experimenter rated its coarseness as 5 on a scale of 1 (very soft) to 7 (very coarse). After one minute, the experimenter rubbed the same finger across the same paper and rated it again for 4. Our rating dropped one point between trials. The experimenter observed that our perception of the paper's coarseness change from the first to the second rubs. The sensitivity to coarseness changed over time demonstrating neural adaptation. The sensory system involved in this experiment is the somatosensory (Flanagan & Lederman, 2001). It is the sense that includes perceptions of pressure, temperature, and pain (Flanagan & Lederman, 2001). This system identifies stimuli from sensory receptors, and the sensory signal is sent to the central nervous system where it is processed in the brain (Flanagan & Lederman, 2001).
The next experiment reinforces the idea of adaptation in the somatosensory system. The experimenter filled three containers with water: one with hot, another with warm, and the third with cold. He placed his right hand in the hot water and left in the cold simultaneously and waited 3 minutes. Then, he places both hands in the warm bowl simultaneously. ...
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