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Unit 4 ap psych
Terms in this set (81)
our sense organs must detect physical energy (a stimulus) from the environment and convert it into neural signals.
we select, organize, and interpret our sensations
enables us to recognize meaningful objects and events
Analysis of the stimulus begins with the sense receptors and works up to the level of the brain and mind.
Information processing guided by higher-level
mental processes as we construct perceptions,
drawing on our experience and expectations.
Focusing of conscious awareness on a particular (part of a) stimulus
Allows a person to function in a world filled with many stimuli
Stroop Effect: Selective Attention Theory
The interference occurs because naming colors requires more attention than reading words
(reading is automatic).
the inability to see an object or a person in our midst.
failing to notice change in a stimulus
the transformation of stimulus energy into neural impulses
Each sense organ has specialized receptor cells that do this.
study of the relationship between physical characteristics of stimuli and our psychological experience with them
minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time
Stimuli that are below one's absolute threshold for
Can be detected in brain scans
Need synchronized activity in several brain areas to reach consciousness
activation (often unconsciously) of certain associations, predisposing one's perception, memory, or response
Signal Detection Theory
Formulas predict how and when we detect the
presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid
background noise (other stimulation).
assumes that there is no single absolute threshold
& detection depends on:
(1) Stimulus (2) Environment (3) Organism
Minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50% of the time, also called just noticeable difference
Two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum
percentage (rather than a constant amount), to be perceived as different.
Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation
Mental predisposition to perceive something one way and not another
Example of top-down processing
Influence of the "power of suggestion"
Guided by schemas
Context instilled by culture also alters perception.
dimension of color determined by the wavelength of the light.
distance from the peak of one wave to the peak of the next.
Amount of energy in a wave determined by the amplitude (height).
Transparent tissue where light enters the eye; Protects and starts to bend light
Muscle that expands (constricted, small pupil) and contracts (dilated, large pupil) to change the size of the opening (pupil) for light
Focuses the light rays onto the retina by bending them
changes shape to focus images onto the retina.
Contains 3 layers that process light and send neural impulses to brain
The process by which the eye's lens changes shape to help focus near or far objects on the retina.
receive messages from photoreceptors (rods and cones)
axons form the optic nerve.
Axons of ganglion cells; carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain (occipital lobe).
Point where the optic nerve leaves the eye; no receptor cells located there
Central point in the retina around which the eye's cones cluster; Vision is most clear here.
Feature detector cells
in the visual cortex (occipital lobe)
respond to specific features, such as edges,
angles, and inward and outward movement.
Processing of several aspects of the stimulus
Trichromatic theory (Young-Helmholtz theory)
the retina should contain three receptor types that are sensitive to long (red), medium (green), and short (blue) wavelengths.
Opponent Process Theory
we process four primary colors combined in opponent color pairs of red-green, blue-yellow, and a light-dark pair (black-white).
Perception of color of an object remains the same despite different lighting
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Figure vs. Ground
Organization of the visual field into objects (figures) that stand out from their surroundings (ground)
Gestalt Grouping Principles
After distinguishing the figure from the ground, our perception needs to organize the figure into a meaningful form (a single unit) using grouping rules.
Images from the two eyes differ
Muscle tension difference when two eyes move inward to see near objects and outward to see faraway objects.
work best at close distances
If two objects are known to be similar in size, we perceive the one that casts a smaller retinal image to be farther away
Objects that occlude (block) other objects tend to be perceived as closer.
we perceive hazy (and bluer) objects to be farther away than those objects that appear to have sharp and clear edges.
Closer objects will have a distinct (coarse) texture. Farther objects appear more densely packed
We perceive objects that are higher in our field of vision to be farther away than those that are lower.
Parallel lines appear to converge in the distance. The more the lines converge, the greater their perceived distance.
Light and Shadow
Given two identical objects, the dimmer one appears to be farther away.
Relative motion (motion parallax)
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.
Objects traveling towards us grow in size and those moving away shrink in size.
The illusion of motion by the rapid projection of slightly changing images (e.g., Motion pictures)
When lights flash at a certain speed they tend to present illusions of motion.
Perceiving objects as unchanging even as illumination and retinal images change.
shape, size, color, and lightness.
Stable size perception despite changing size of the stimuli
Conversion of sound waves into neural impulses in the hair cells of the inner ear.
determined by the wavelength of sound
Amount of energy in a wave, determined by the
those characteristics of sound which allow the ear to distinguish sounds which have the same pitch and loudness
Pinna and Auditory canal
thin flap of skin that is stretched tight like a drum and vibrates when sound hits it. These vibrations move the tiny bones of the middle ear, which send vibrations to the inner ear.
amplify and concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window
hammer, anvil, stirrup
Coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear where hair cells transduce sound vibrations to neural impulses.
a bundle of nerve fibers that carries hearing information between the cochlea the brain
the sensory area for hearing, which is located in the temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex
forwards messages to the primary visual cortex in the occipital lobe
essential to the conscious processing of visual stimuli
suggests that sound frequencies stimulate the basilar membrane at specific places resulting in perceived pitch.
states 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
caused by damage to the mechanical system that
conducts sound waves to the cochlea
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerve
Odorants enter the nasal cavity to stimulate 5 million receptors
Smell and Memories
The olfactory bulb and the temporal cortical region for smell are closely connected with the limbic system, responsible for emotion (amygdala) and memory (hippocampus).
sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami
mix of four distinct skin senses—
pressure, warmth, cold, and pain.
tells the body that something has gone
wrong. Usually results from damage to the
skin and other tissues.
our spinal cord contains neurological "gates" that
either block pain or allow it to be sensed.
The system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts
The system for sensing head (and body) orientation and balance
Relies on fluid in the semicircular canals and vestibular sacs of the inner ear
Recommended textbook explanations
Arlene Lacombe, Kathryn Dumper, Rose Spielman, William Jenkins
Psychology: Principles in Practice
Spencer A. Rathus
Understanding Psychology, Student Edition
Richard A. Kasschau
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