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Perception begins with activation of receptors in the eye, ear, skin, nose, mouth, and additional receptors inside the body. This activation results in electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain, where perception occurs. The task of the physiological approach to perception is to understand this process. The origins of the physiological approach can be traced back to the early philosophers and physicians. This entry covers this historical background, followed by consideration of stimuli for perception, receptor activity, and molecular processes, neural processing and neural responding, organization of sensory systems, the sensory code, making connections between physiology and perception, and how the physiological approach has been extended beyond “perception” to include recognition and action.

Historical Background

Early thinking about the physiology of the mind focused on determining ...

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