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Chapter 6 vocabulary words and concepts on Perception.

selective attention

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

inattentional blindness

failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere

change blindness

after being distracted and refocusing on a particular stimulus, change in stimulus during distraction period goes undetected

change deafness

when focused on repeating a list, change in individual speaking goes unnoticed


when distinct stimulus pops out and draws our attention

visual capture

tendancy for vision to dominate other senses


an organized whole; tendancy to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes


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


perceptual tendancy to organize stimuli into coherant groups; has 5 rules


a rule for grouping; tendancy to group nearby objects figures together


rule for grouping; tendancy to group figures together that are similar


rule for grouping; tendancy to perceive smooth, continuous patterns


rule for grouping; tendancy to perceive connected, similar figures as 1 unit


rule for grouping; tendancy to fill in gaps to create complete whole objects

depth perception

the ability to see objects in 3D although the images that strike our retina are 2D; allows us to judge distance

visual cliff

labratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals

binocular cues

depth cues such as retinal disparity and convergence that depend on use of two eyes

retinal disparity

a binocular cue for perceiving depth; by comparing images from each eye, the brain computes distance; the greater the difference between two images the closer the object


binocular cue for perceiving depth; the estent to which the eyse converge inward when looking at an object; the greater the inward strain, the closer the object

monocular cues

depth cues such as interposition, relative size, and linear perspective available to each eye alone

relative size

a monocular cue; if we assume two objects are similar in size we perceive the one that casts the smaller retinal image as farther away


a monocular cue; if one object partially blocks the view of another, we perceive it as closer

relative clarity

a monocular cue; light from distant objects passes through more atmosphere therefore they are perceived as hazy and farther away than sharp, clear objects

texture gradient

a monocular cue; a gradual change from course, distinct texture to fine, indistinct textures signals increasing distance

relative height

a monocular cue; objects higher in our field of vision are perceived as farther away; causes the illusion that taller objects are longer than shorter objects

relative motion

a monocular cue; as we move, objects that are stationary appear to move; the closer the object, the faster it appears to move

Linear perspective

a monocular cue; parallel lines such as RR tracks, seem to converge with distance; the greater the convergence, the greater the distance perceived

light and shadow

a monocular cue; nearby objects reflect more light to our eyes, dimmer objects seem farther away (assuming light comes from above)

stroboscopic movement

brain perceives continuous movement in rapid series of slightly varying images

phi phenomenon

an illusion of movement created when two or more adjcent lights blink on and off in quick succession

motion perception of objects

shrinking objects are perceived to be retreating, enlarging objects appear to be approaching; large objects appear to move slower than small objects

perceptual constancy

perceiving objects as unchanging (in lightness, color, shape, size) as illumination and retinal images change; relating to top-down processing)

shape constancy

perceived shape can appear as staying consistant when angle is changes

size constancy

perceive objects as having constant size even as distance changes

lightness constancy

objects are perceived as having constant lightness despite illumination variations

relative luminance

amount of light an object reflects relative to surroundings

perceptual set

a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another; determined by our schemas and experiences

moon illusion

when the moon is closer to the horizon it looks 50 percent larger

Muller-Lyer illusion

distance determines length; lines farther away appear to be bigger than lines close to us

perceptual adaptation

in vision, the ability to adjust an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field

Human factors psychologists

psychologists who explore how people and machines interact, and how machines and physical environments can be made safe and easy to use; help design appliances, work settings to fit natural perceptions

extrasensory perception (ESP)

controvercial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input; said to include telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition


a type of ESP involving mind to mind communication


a type of ESP involving perceiving remote events, for example sensing that your friends house is burning down


a type of ESP involving perceiving future events


related to ESP; mind over matter principle; for example levitating a table, influencing a roll of dice

problems with ESP

rejects our understanding that we are creatures whose minds are tied to our physical brains, and our belief that perceptual experiences of the world are built on sensations

claims of ESP

astrological predictions, psychic healing, communication with dead, out of body experiences

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