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Chapter Five... Feel free to add comments if i messed up


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


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


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% of the time

Signal Detection Theory

a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint simulus ("signal") amid background stimulation ("noise")


below one's absolute thresholdfor conscious awareness

Difference Threshold

the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time

Weber's Law

to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount)

Sensory Adaptation

diminished sensitivity as consequence of constant stimulation


conversion of one form of energy to another


the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next


the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, green, and so forth


the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we percieve as brightness or loudness, as determined by the waves amplitude


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


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 transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina


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


the sharpness of vision


a condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than distant objects because distant objects focus in front of the retina


a condition in which faraway objects are seen more clearly than near objects because the image of near objects is focused behind the retina


retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones dont respond


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 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


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

Feature Detector

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

Young-Helmoltz 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

Color Constancy

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


the sense of hearing


the number of complete waves that pass a given point in a certain amount of time (for example, per second)


a tone's highness or lowness; depends on frequency

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

Inner Ear

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


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

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 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

theory that spinal cord contains neurological gate that blocks pains signals or allows them to pass. gate is opened by activity of pain going up small nerve fibers & gate is closed by act of large fibers or by info coming from brain

Sensory Interaction

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


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

Size Constancy

Looking at a quarter in your hand casts a different image on your retina compared to looking at a quarter across the room, yet we know that the quarter is the same and retains the same dimensions. This phenomenon is known as ___________

Sensory Adaptation

You can't feel the waistband of your underwear (though you know it is there). This is mostly the result of _________

external; ear

The pinna is the _____ part of the ______which is quite useful for collecting sounds from the environment.


The _____ is held in place by ligaments attached to the ciliary muscle.

6 million; 125 million

Within the eye, there are about _____ cones and ______ rods.

sensory adaptation

You arrive at your friend's apartment for a big party at the end of the semester. When you first arrive, the music is so loud that it almost hurts your ears. After a couple of hours, even though the music is still at the same volume, it doesn't bother you anymore, and you like it. This change over time describes the process of _____________


A change in the wavelength of light would result in a change in __

sense organs

At the center of every sense organ there are ______ that transduce incoming stimuli.


The ______ threshold is the smallest magnitude of a stimulus that can be detected.


Human taste buds respond to ______ different classes of chemicals.


Where are the basilar membrane and the organ of Corti located?

It speeds the message

How does myelin influence the transmission of pain signals?


When looking at these letters: XXX XXX XXX XXX we tend to see 4 groups of 3 X's rather than 12 individual X's due to the principle of

improved moods

Women who are exposed to the male sex hormone, adrostadienone, show __________

complementary colors

For someone with color blindness, the colors that look the same are always ____________


The specialty area in psychology that studies topics such as sensory limits and sensory adaptation is called _____________

sense organs

We are aware of our internal and external world because we possess


We hear a tuning fork when it is struck because it causes compression and _________ of air molecules.

The animal could not distinguish colors

You dissect an animal and find no cones in its eyes. What can you conclude about its vision?


A person wishes to study how vision is affected by various stimulus conditions. Which specialty field within psychology would be best suited to his or her interest?

absolute threshold

An architect is designing apartments and wants them to be soundproof. She asks a psychologist what the smallest amount of sound is that can be heard. Her question is most related to


Hertz is a method of measuring the frequency of sound waves as the number of cycles per _______

trichromatic theory; opponent-process theory

One way to think about how we process color images is that the ______ describes the events at the first level of neurons in the visual system, while the ______ best describes the activities of neurons in the rest of the visual system.

number of nerve cells

On your skin, the level of sensitivity is controlled by the __________

detected; detected half the time

The absolute threshold is the smallest magnitude of a stimulus that can be ______ and the difference threshold is the smallest magnitude of s stimulus that can be ______.


When the molecules in the air become less dense (as in the process of hearing), ______ has occurred.

frequency is to intensity.

Hertz is to decibel as _____


Your friend asks you to help move some boxes. You look at the boxes and without even trying to move them you say, "These boxes are too heavy." Seeing the boxes as heavy is an example of _________

kinesthetic receptors

Information about the location and movement of skin, muscles, joints, and tendons is provided by _______

Unused cortical areas become sensitive to other body areas.

What does evidence suggest about the neural networks that mediate the sensations of phantom limb pain?

compression; rarefaction

In the process of hearing, successive waves of increased density (called ______) and waves of decreased density (called ______) cause us to hear a repeating sound.


Technically speaking, light is a form of _______


The major purpose of the iris is to ________ the amount of light entering the eye.

perceptual constancy

The tendency for perceptions of objects to remain relatively unchanged in spite of changes in raw sensations is called

Between death and shame, death has the greater beauty.

Which of the following phrases would be an accurate translation of a proverb from the Bariba culture related to pain?

vibrate the eardrum

When sound waves enter the ear canal, they first

releasing endorphins

According to the gate control theory of pain, how do gate neurons inhibit pain neurons? ans: by _______

kinesthetic sense

With your eyes closed, touch the tip of your nose with your right index finger. You are able to do this mainly because of information from your


The process of converting light, sound, and other forms of energy from the world we live in into a form of neural impulses our brain can understand is called


We hear a tuning fork when it is struck because it causes compression and __________ of air


One of the reasons that sensory adaptation occurs is because receptor cells become _____________


When you can tell the difference between candy apple red and fire engine red, it is partly because the light stimuli differ in their ________

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