Perception Psychology


Terms in this set (...)

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 process
analysis that begins with the sensory 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 percent of the time.
Signal detection theory
a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimuli amid background stimulation. Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience, expectations, motivation, and level of fatigue.
below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.
the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perceptions, memory, or response.
Difference Threshold
the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as just noticeable difference.
Weber's Law
the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage.
Sensory adaption
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of a constant stimulation
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.
the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Electromagnetic wavelength vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission.
the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, green, and red.
the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness, or loudness, as determined by the wave's amplitude.
the adjustable opening in the center of the through which light events.
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 then 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 don't respond.
retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in day light 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 detectors
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. Constants with the step-by-step processing of most computes and of conscious problem solving.
Young-Helmholtz trichromatic 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 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 art of hearing
the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time
a tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency
Middle Ear
the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammar, anvil, and stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window
a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses
Inner ear
the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.
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.
Cochlear implant
a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea.
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. The "gate" is opened small nerve fiber and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brains.
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.
Selective attention
the 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.
Vistual capture
the tendency for vision to dominate the other senses.
an organized whole.
the organization of the visual field into objects that stand out from their surroundings
the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups
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 and convergence, that depend on the use of two eyes.
Retinal disparity
a binocular cue for perceiving depth: by comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes it.
the greater the disparity between the two images, the closer the object.
a binocular cue for perceiving depth; the extent to which the eyes converge inward when looking at an object. The greater the inward strain, the closer the object.
Monocular cues
depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone.
Phi phenomenon
an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off i quick succession.
Perceptual constancy
perceiving objects as unchanging even as illumination and retinal images change
Perceptual adoption
in vision, the ability to an artificially displaced or even invented visual field.
Perceptual set
a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another
Human factors psychology
a branch of psychology that explores how people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be made safe and easy to use.