How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

61 terms

Psych 101 Ch. 6

Vocab & main ideas
STUDY
PLAY
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.
Bottoms up processing
analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brains 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
Psychophysics
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them.
Absolute Threshold
the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time.
Signal detection theory
a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience, expectations, motivation, and level of fatigue.
Subliminal
below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness
Prime
The activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response.
Difference threshold
the minimum difference between to stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference (or jnd).
Weber's law
the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount). (ex. 1 ounce to 10 ounce weight you can tell difference, 1 ounce to 100 ounce weight you can't.)
Sensory adaptation
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.
Transduce
conversion of one form of energy into another. In sensation, the transforming of stimulus energies, such as sights, sounds, and smells, into neural impulses our brains can interpret.
Wavelength
the distance form the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Electromagnetic wavelengths vary form the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission.
Hue
the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, green, and so forth.
Intensity
the amount of energy in light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the waves amplitude.
Pupil
the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters.
Iris
a ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size of the pupil opening. The iris dilates or constricts in response to light intensity and even to inner emotions.
Lens
the transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images 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
Accommodation
the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina.
Rods
retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond.
Cones
retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. The cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations.
Optic nerve
the nerve that carries neural impulses form the eye to the brain.
Forvea
the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster.
How light enters the eye
1)Light entering eye triggers photochemical reaction in rods and cones at back of retina
2)Chemical reaction in turn activates bipolar cells 3)Bipolar cells then activate the ganglion cells, the axons which then converge to form the optic nerve.This nerve transmits information to the visual cortex (via the thalamus) in the brain.
Parallel processing
the processing of many 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 (three color) 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 or act of 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.
The middle ear
the chamber between the eardrum and 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.
Place theory
in hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochlea's membrane is stimulated
Frequency theory
in hearing, the theory that the rate 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 damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness.
Cochlear implant
a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea. The only way to restore hearing for people with nerve deafness.
Kinesthesis
your sense of the position and movement of your body parts
Vestibular sense
monitors your head and your body's position and movement.
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.
Gestalt
an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes.
Figure ground
the organization of the visual field into objects that stand out from their surroundings.
Grouping
the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups.
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.
Binocular Cues
depth cues, such as retinal disparity, that depend on the use of two eyes.
Retinal disparity
a binocular cue for perceiving depth: By comparing images from the retinas in the two eyes, the brain computes distance- the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object.
Monocular cues
depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone.
Phi phenomenon
an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession.
Perceptual Constancy
perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent shapes, size, lightness, and color) even as illumination and retinal images change.
Color constancy
perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
Perceptual adaptation
in vision, the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field.
Perceptual set
a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another
Human factors psychologists
a branch of psychology that explores how people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be made safe and easy to use.
Extrasensory perception
the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input; includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition
Parapsychology
the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis.
Synesthesia
"joining the senses": sensory crossovers. For example, seeing a sound.