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AP Psychology Myers 7e

sensation

the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment

perception

the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events

bottom-up processing

analysis that begins with the sense receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information

top-down processing

information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations

absolute threshold

the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time

sensory adaptation

diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation

transduction

conversion of one form of energy into another. In sensation, the transforming of stimulus energies into neural impulses

pupil

the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters

accommodation

the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina

retina

the light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information

rods

retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond

cones

receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. The cones detect find detail and give rise to color sensations

optic nerve

the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain

blind spot

the point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a "blind" spot because no receptor cells are located there

fovea

the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster

feature detectors

nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement

parallel processing

the processing of several aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain's natural mode of information processing for many functions, including vision. Contrasts with the step-by-step processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving.

Young-Helmholtz trichromatic theory

the theory that the retina contains three different color receptors - one most sensitive to red, one to green, one to blue - which when stimulated in combination can produce the perception of any color

opponent-process theory

the theory that opposing retinal processes (red, green, yellow-blue, white-black) enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green.

audition

the sense of hearing

cochlea

a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses

frequency theory

in hearing, the theory that the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch

conduction hearing loss

hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea

sensorineural hearing loss

hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness

gate-control theory

the theory that the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to the brain. The "gate" is opened by the activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain

sensory interaction

the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste

kinesthesis

the system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts

vestibular sense

the sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance

selective attention

the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus, as in the cocktail party effect

visual capture

the tendency for vision to dominate the other senses

figure-ground

the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundings (the grounds)

depth perception

the ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance

visual cliff

a laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals

retinal disparity

a binocular cue for perceiving depth: By comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance - the greater the difference between the two images, the closer the object

convergence

a binocular cue for perceiving depth; the extent to which the eyes converge in ward when looking at an object

perceptual set

perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent lightness, color, shape, and size) even as illumination and retinal images change

human factors psychology

a branch of psychology that explores how people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be adapted to human behaviors

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