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AP Psychology Review Term List Pacific American School


signals are transformed into neural impulse.

sensory adaptation

decreasing responsiveness to stimuli due to constant stimulation

sensory habituation

our perceptions of sensations is partially due to how focused we are on them

cock tail party phenomenon

involuntary pay attention or turn to a far distant stimuli.


transparent, anterior part of the eyeball covering the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber that functions to refract (bend) light to focus a visual image


contractile aperture in the iris of the eye


muscles that control pupils


a transparent optical device used to converge or diverge transmitted light and to form images


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


the light-sensitive membrane covering the back wall of the eyeball


cells that are activated by color; they're concentrated toward the center of retina


cells that respond to black and white color; their cells outnumber cones


area consisting of a small depression in the retina containing cones and where vision is most acute

ganglion cells

the specialized cells which lie behind the bipolar cells whose axons form the optic nerve which takes the information to the brain

lateral geniculate nucleus

specific region in the thalamus

blind spot

the point where the optic nerve enters the retina

optic chiasm

the crossing of the optic nerves from the two eyes at the base of the brain

feature detectors

nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement; Hubel and Weisel

Trichromatic Theory

detected three color of blue, red, and green; the cones are activated to combined colors and to produce colors of visual spectrum


looked at color for long time and afterward see the color on different background.

color blindness

individual with dichromatic color can't se either green or red shades

Opponent Process

sensory receptors with two opposites colors such as blue/yellow pairs, red/green pairs and black/white pairs


height of the waves and determines the loudness of the sound(decibel)


length of the waves and determine the pitch(megahertz)


outer ear

ear canal

auditory canal , either of the passages in the outer ear from the auricle to the tympanic membrane


tympanic membrane that vibrates as the sound waves hit it.


malleus; eardrum


incus ;eardrum

oval window

membrane very similar to the eardrum

organ of Corti

neurons activated by movement of hair cells


hair cells in the cochlea responds t different frequencies of sound based on where they are located in the cochlea


lower tones are sense at rate which cells fire.

Conduction deafness

something goes wrong with the system of conducting the sound to the cochlea

Nerve(sensorimotor deafness)

hair cells in the cochlea are damaged with noise

Gate control

how we experience pain the way we do; pain message send, gate swing open for it and shut for a low priority message


bumps on the tongue

taste buds

sense receptors in the tongue that respond to sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami, and perhaps fat

olfactory bulb

one of two enlargements at the terminus of the olfactory nerve at the base of the brain just above the nasal cavities

olfactory receptor cells

sensory receptors for smell, constantly replaced every 30 to 60 days. when stimulated by airborne molecules, the stimulation gets passed to its axons which bundle to create the olfactory nerve

Vestibular sense

a sensory system located in structures of the inner ear that registers the orientation of the head


sense that gives us feedback about position and orientation of specific body part

absolute threshold

smallest amount of stimulus or light we can detect


below the threshold of conscious perception

placebo effect

any effect that seems to be a consequence of administering a placebo

difference threshold(noticeable difference)

smallest amount of change needed in a stimuli before we detect a change.

Weber's Law

the change needed in proportional to the original intensity of the stimulus. The more intense the stimulus, the more it will need to change before we notice a difference

Signal Detection theory

the effects of the distractions and interference we experience while perceiving the world

response criteria (receiver operating characteristics)

how motivated we are to detect certain stimuli and what we expect to perceive

false positive

we think we perceive a stimulus that is not there.

false negative

not perceiving a stimulus that is present

top down processing

information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations


mental representations of how we expect the world to be; it influences how we perceive the world.

perceptual set

predisposition to perceiving something in a certain way

bottom up processing (feature analysis)

the opposite of top down processing

Gestalt psychology

(psychology) a theory of psychology that emphasizes the importance of configurational properties


objects that are close together are most likely to be perceived as belonging in the same group


objects that are similar in appearance are most likely to be perceived as belonging in the same group


objects that form a continuous form are most liiely to be perceived as same group


similar to top bottom processing; objects make recognizable images are more likely to be perceived as belonging in the same group even if the image contains gaps that the mind need to fill in.

size constancy

objects closer to eyes will produce bigger images on our retinas, but we take distance into account in our estimation in size

shape constancy

objects viewed from different angles will produce different shapes on our retinas, but we know it maintain constant.

color constancy

we perceive objects as being a constant color even the light reflecting off the object change

stroboscopic effect

Images in a series of still pictures presented at a certain speed will appear to be moving

phi phenomenon

A series of lightbulb turned on and off at a particular rate will appear to be one moving light

auto kinetic effect

spot of light is projected steadily nto the same place on a wall of an otherwise dark room and people are asked to stare at it, they will report seeing it move.

visual cliff experiment

Gibson; infant may perceive depth

linear perspective

the appearance of things relative to one another as determined by their distance from the viewer

relative size cue

you would draw boxcars closer to the viewer as larger than the engine off in the distance

interposition cue

objects that block the view to other objects must be closer to us

monocular cues

depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone

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