Modules 11-14: Sensation and Perception

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rods

detect black, white or gray

cones

detect well-lit light or daylight conditions

optic nerve

carries information to the brain. Its made up of axons

blind spot

the optic nerve leaves the eye and no receptor cells are present

fovea

the retina's area of focus, where the cones cluster

sensation

a process where we detect physical energy from the environment and encode it as neural signals

perception

when we select, organize and interpret the sensations

bottom-up processing

using the sensory receptors to detect the lines, angles, and colors that form an image

top-down processing

to process information by constructing perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations

psychophysics

the study of the relationship between physical energy and our psychological experience

absolute thresholds

the minimum stimulation necessary to detect a particular light, sound, pressure, taste, or ordor 50% of the time

subliminal

below absolute threshold for conscious awareness

prime

the activation of certain associations, predisposing one's perception, memory or response

difference threshold

the minimum difference a person can detect between any two stimuli half the time

Weber's Law

for something to be perceived as different, as two stimuli must differ by a constant proportion-not a constant amount

sensory adaptation

our diminishing sensitivity to an unchanging stimulus

wavelength

the distance from one peak to the next

hue

the color we experience determined by the wavelengths

intensity

the amount of energy in light waves

accommodation

the process in which the lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina

feature detectors

nerve cells that enter the brain responding to specific features of the stimulus such as shape, movement, or angle located in the occiptal lobe

parallel-processing

the processing of many aspects simultaneously in the brain

Young-helmholtz trichromatic (three color) theory

the retina has three types of color receptors, each especially sensitive to one of the three colors; red, green, and blue, and when these cones are combinationally stimulated, we see other colors

Opponent-Process Theory

the opposing retinal processes enable color vision. (red-green; yellow-blue; white-black)

Gesalt

an organized whole

Figure-ground

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

Grouping

organizing stimuli into coherent groups

proximity

group nearby figures together

similarity

we group similar figures together

continuity

to perceive smooth, continuous patterns rather than discontinuous ones

connectedness

perceiving two dots and a line as a single unit

closure

fill in gaps to create a complete, whole object

Depth Perception

estimating the distance between us and an object which we see in 3 dimensions

Visual Cliff

a laboratory device used to test depth perception in infants and young animals

Binocular Cues

depth cues that depend on the use of two eyes

Retinal Disparity

difference computed with the use of the eyes between two things

Monocular Cues

depth cues that are available to either eye

Relative Height

perceive objects higher in our field of vision as farther away

Relative Motion

as we move, objects that are stable appear to move

Relative Size

if we assume objects are similar in size, the one that casts the smaller retinal image is farther away

Interposition

if one object partially blocks our view of another we perceive it as closer.

Light and Shadow

nearby objects reflect more light to our eyes

Perceptual Constancy

perceiving objects as unchanging even as illumination and retinal images change

color constancy

perceiving familiar objects as having constant color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object

perceptual adaptation

invision to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field

perceptual set

mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another

Extrasensory Perception

the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input

Telepathy

mind-to-mind communication

Clairvoyance

perceiving remote events

Precognition

perceiving future events

Psychokinesis

mind over matter {ex: levitating a table}

Parapsychology

the study of ESP and psychokinesis

audition

our hearing

frequency

the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time

pitch

a tone's experienced highness or lowness {depends on frequency}

middle ear

the chamber between the ear drum and the cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window

cochlea

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

inner ear

the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs

gate-control theory

theory that the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to the brain; the spinal cord nerve fibers conduct most of the pain signals

sensory interaction

the principle that one sense may influence another {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

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