How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

AP Myers psychology Unit 4 vocab

Myers' Psychology for AP*
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
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
absolute threshold
the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time
difference threshold
the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 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")
sensory adaptation
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation
selective attention
the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus
inattentional blindess
failure to detect stimuli that are in plain sight when our attention is focused elsewhere
change blindess
failing to notice changes in the environment
subliminal
below the level of consciousness
priming
activation, often unconsciously, of particular associations in memory
weber's law
the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage
cornea
the transparent outer covering of the eye
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
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
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, 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
trichromatic theory
idea that color vision is based on our sensitivity to three different colors: blue, green, and red
opponent-process theory
the theory that opposing retinal processes enable color vision
pitch
a tone's highness or lowness; depends on frequency
ear drum
a tightly stretched membrane at the end of the ear canal that vibrates when hit by sound waves
bones of the middle ear
the hammer, anvil, stirrup; vibrate with the eardrum
cochlea
a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses
hair cells
receptor cells for hearing found in the cochlea
kinesthetic sense
sense of the location of body parts in relation to the ground and each other
vestibular sense
the sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance
place theory
the idea that different sound frequencies stimulate different locations on the basilar membrane
frequency theory
that the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of a tone, enabling us to sense its pitch
conduction hearing loss
hearing loss caused by damage to the hair cells 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
feature detectors
nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement
cochlear implant
a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea
sensory interaction
impulses from sensory receptors, the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste
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
gesalt
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 meaningful groups: proximity, similarity, continuity, connectedness, closure
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
monocular cues
distance cues, such as linear perspective and overlap, available to either eye alone: relative height, relative size, interposition, linear perspective, relative motion, light and shadow
retinal disparity
a binocular cue for perceiving depth; by comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance - the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object
perceptual constancy
perceiving objects as unchanging
perceptual set
mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another
perceptual adaption
the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field
parapsychology
the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis
extrasensory perception
the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input. Said to include telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
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
phi phenomenon
an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession
inner ear
the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs
accommodation
the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina
fovea
the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster
parallel processing
The processing of several aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain's natural mode of information processing for many functions, including vision. Contrasts with the step-by-step (serial) processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving.
audition
the sense or act of hearing
frequency
the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time
pupil
the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters
intensity
the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the wave's amplitude
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
transduction
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 from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Electromagnetic wavelengths vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission.
psychophysics
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them