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Threshold for which the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time.


brain's higher level cells respond to combined information from feature-detector cells


The sense or act of hearing

bipolar cells

Cells that receive messages from photoreceptors and transmit them to ganglion cells

blind spot

Point where the optic nerve leaves the eye, with no receptor cells.


The amplitude of light tells us what?


How bright or dull a visual stimulus is.


Coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear that transforms sound vibrations to auditory signals.


Four distinct touch sensations: pressure, warmth, ______ and pain.

color blindness

Genetic disorder that supports the trichromatic theory of vision

color blindness

Genetic disorder in which people are blind to green/red, blue/yellow, or all colors.


Photoreceptors in the eye that detect color and work in light conditions


Photoreceptors located in the center of the retina


Photoreceptors located in the center of the retina that detect color and work in light conditions

context effect

A perceptual adaptation where context radically alters our perception of a stimulus, for example, cultural context


The transparent tissue through which light enters the eye

cultural context

A perceptual adaptation where our culture alters our perception of stimuli.

feature detection

brain's detector cells respond to elementary features: bars, edges or gradients of light.

feature detection

Nerve cells in the visual cortex of the brain that respond to specific features of a stimulus, such as edges, angles, and movement.


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


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

form perception

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


Central point in the retina around which the eye's cones cluster.

ganglion cells

Cells that receive messages from the retina's bipolar cells and converge to form the optic nerve.

Gate-Control Theory

Theory proposed by Melzack and Wall (1965, 1983) that our spinal cord contains neurological "gates" that either block pain or allow it to be sensed


An organized whole, which emphasizes our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes.


A perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into meaningful groups, such as proximity, similarity, and continuity.


The dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light, which we know as the color names blue, green, etc.

inner ear

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


The amount of energy in a light or sound wave, determined by its amplitude, which we perceive as brightness (for vision) or loudness (for hearing).


Monocular cue: objects that occlude (block) other objects tend to be perceived as closer


The muscle that expands and contracts to change the size of the pupil


Our sense of the position and movement of individual body parts.


The transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to focus light rays on the retina.

light and shadow

Monocular cue: nearby objects reflect more light into our eyes than more distant objects. Given two identical objects, the dimmer one appears to be farther away

light energy

The stimulus input for vision

linear perspective

Monocular cue: parallel lines, such as railroad tracks, appear to converge in the distance. The more the lines converge, the greater their perceived distance.

middle ear

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

monocular cues

Relative size, interposition, relative height, relative motion, linear perspective, and light and shadow, which are used to denote distance.

Opponent Color

Theory of vision which ....

optic nerve

Part of the eye that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain

outer ear

Part of the ear that collects and sends sounds to the eardrum.


Four distinct touch sensations: pressure, warmth, cold and _______.

pain control

Application of therapies including, drugs, surgery, acupuncture, exercise, hypnosis, and even thought distraction.

parallel processing

Processing of several aspects of a stimulus simultaneously. For example, where the brain divides a visual scene into subdivisions such as color, depth, form, movement, etc.


Selecting, organizing and interpreting sensations

perceptual adaptation

Visual ability to adjust to an artificially displaced visual field, e.g., prism glasses

perceptual constancy

Perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent color, brightness, shape and size) even as illumination and retinal images change.

perceptual organization

Forming meaningful perceptions from sensory information.

perceptual set

A mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another, for example, to see the Loch Ness monster in a photo of a tree trunk.


A tone's experienced highness or lowness, which depends on a sound wave's frequency.


Four distinct touch sensations: ______, warmth, cold and pain.


The only skin sense with identifiable receptors

Process Theory of Opponent Color

Theory of vision which suggests cones exist for pairs of colors, red/green, blue/yellow, black/white


Study of the relationship between physical characteristics of stimuli and our psychological experience with them


The hole in the iris that lets light into the eye


brain matches the constructed image with stored images

relative height

Monocular cue: objects that are higher in our field of vision are farther away than those that are lower.

relative motion

Monocular cue: objects closer to a fixation point move faster and in opposing direction to those objects that are farther away from a fixation point, moving slower and in the same direction.

relative size

Monocular cue: if two objects are similar in size, we perceive the one that casts a smaller retinal image to be farther away.


The light sensitive inner surface of the eye that contains sensory receptor rods and cones and other layers of neurons that process visual information and sends it to the brain.

retinal disparity

A binocular cue for perceiving depth by comparing images from two eyeballs and comparing the difference between the two images.

retinal processing

receptor rods and cones pass signal to bipolar cells, pass signal to ganglion cells


Photoreceptors in the eye that do not detect color, but work in dark conditions


Photoreceptors in the eye that are located at the periphery (edges) of the retina


Photoreceptors located at the periphery (edges) of the retina that do not detect color, but work in dark conditions


Detecting physical energy (stimulus) from the environment and converting it into neural signals

sensation to recognition

Scene, retinal processing, feature detection, abstraction, recognition.

sensory adaptation

reduced sensitivity in response to constant stimulation. Occurs for every sense except vision.

sensory interaction

The principle that one sense affects another sense, as when the smell of food influences its taste

shape detection

Specific combinations of temporal lobe activity occur as people look at shoes, faces, chairs and houses


Chemical sense that is processed in the brain near the limbic system (part of the brain involved with memories)

sound waves

The stimulus input for hearing


Physical energy that we can detect


Threshold for which a stimulus is below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.


How we psychologically experience sugar


Chemical sense that consists of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and Umami.


Sense that is a mix of four distinct skin senses: pressure, warmth, cold, and pain.


The transformation of stimulus energy (sights, sounds, smells) into neural impulses in human sensation.


Theory of vision, that the eye must contain three receptors that are sensitive to red, blue and green colors. Suggested by Young and von Helmholtz.

vestibular sense

Our sense that monitors the head's (and thus the body's) movement and position, including the sense of balance.

visual information processing

Optic nerves connect to the thalamus in the middle of the brain, and the thalamus connects to the visual cortex


How we psychologically experience sound


Four distinct touch sensations: pressure, ______, cold and pain.


The distance from peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next, which we perceive as hue (for vision) or pitch (for hearing).

wavelength and intensity

The physical characteristics of light and sound

Weber's law

Name of the law that says that a minimum amount of change is needed before we can detect that two stimuli are different from each other


How we psychologically experience pressure

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