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process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energy (passive process--we dont dont have consciously think about it)

Sensation comes in the form of

seeings, hearing, touch, smell taste, kinesthesis


a process of organizing and interpreting sensory info, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events

Bottom-Up Processing

analysis that begins with the sense receptors and works up to the brain's integrating of sensory information
-senses receive it first
i.e. go into fishing store and see/smell fishing bait, then you know you can buy bait there

Top-Down Processing

guided by higher-level mental processes
-when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations
-use experience/mind first
i.e. mind says "I remember I've been fishing", then you see/smell the bait


the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them
i.e. light-brightness pressure-weight taste-sweet

Absolute Threshold

the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus
-stimulus needed for detection 50% of the time
i.e. volume on tv when partner is sleeping
i.e. faintest thing you can hear, softest touch you can feel

Sensory Adaptation

diminished sensitivity with constant stimulation
senses adapt to: loud concert, pool water, dark movie theater


conversion of one form of energy to another


the distance from the peak of one wave to the peak of the next


dimension of color determined by wavelength of light


amount of energy in a wave determined by amplitude
-brightness & loudness


transparent tissue where the light enters the eye


adjustable opening in the center of the eye


(color) a ring of muscle that forms the colored portion of the eye and controls the size of the pupil opening


transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to focus images o the retina


change in the shape of lens; focus near objects
-helps with focusing on information


-inner surface of eye
-light sensitive
-layers of neurons
beginning of visual information processing

Retina's Blind Spot

an area without receptor cells where the optic nerve leaves the eye

Retina's Cones

-near center of retina (fovea)
-fine detail and color vision
daylight/well-lit conditions

Retina's Rods

-peripheral retina
-detect black, white & gray
-twilight/low light
-helps you see at night

Retina's Optic Nerve

Nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain

Visual Information Processing

-begins in the retina
-can visually process things simultaneously

Feature Detectors

neurons in visual cortex
-respond to shape, angle & movement

Parallel Processing

-simultaneous processing of several dimensions through multiple pathways
i.e. color, motion, form, depth

Visual Capture

tendency to allow visual images to dominate our other senses
*vision is our strongest sense
i.e. movie theater, we sense sound is coming from images on screen


Hearing is audition**
-transduction of air pressure waves into neural messages that the brain reads as meaningful sound


sense of hearing

Middle Ear

hammer, anvil, stirrup

Deaf as a Culture

shared beliefs, values, behaviors of deaf or hard-of-hearing ppl who use sign language as primary means of communication marked by use of ASL

Gate-Control Theory (Pain)

spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to the brain
-gate "opened" by activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers
-gate "closed" by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain

Sensory Interaction

principle that one say may influence another
i.e. smell of food influences its taste
i.e. looks good so tastes good

Visual Capture

tendency for vision to dominate the other senses


the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups


an organized whole/form
-tendency to integrate pieces of info into meaningful wholes


group nearby figures together


group figures that are similar


perceive continuous patterns


fill in gaps


spots, lines, and areas are seen as unit when connected

Form Perception

Figure and ground grouping

Figure and Ground

organization of visual field into objects (figures) that stand out from their surroundings (ground)
-can also be with other senses; i.e. hear one person at a party and ignore surrounding noises

Depth Perception

ability to see objects in 3D


closer objects block distant object

linear perspective

parallel lines converge with distance

retinal disparity

images from the two eyes differ
-closer the object, the larger the disparity


neuromuscular cue
-two eyes move inward near objects

perceptual set

a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another
-form ideas and opinions about things once given info
ie. after hearing a friend has been prison, she perceives his friendly behavior as insecure and manipulative


the study of paranormal phenomena


Extrasensory Perception
-controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory impact


reading someone's mind


perceiving remote events, like friend's house on fire


perceiving future events


mind over matter
i.e. levitation


a relatively permanent behavior change due to experience

Associate Learning

learning that certain events occur together
-Classical Conditioning=Pavlov
-Operant Conditioning=Skinner

Classical Conditioning

a type of learning in which one learns to link two or more stimuli and anticipate events
-reflexive or respondent behavior
-automatic response to a stimulus
i.e. blinking

Before Conditioning

Neutral Stimulus (NS) stimulus that doesn't elicit any conditioned or natural response i.e. bell
Unconditioned Stimulus (US) naturally/automatically triggers a response i.e. food
Unconditioned Response (UR) naturally occurring response to a US i.e. salivation


During Conditioning

**Acquisition: the pairing of neutral stimulus with unconditioned stimulus so that the neural stimulus comes to elicit a conditioned response
Bell (NS) + Food (US) -->Salivation (UR)

-best conditioning occurs when US is presented immediately after NS

After Conditioning

Bell (CS) --> Salivation (CR)

Conditioned Stimulus (CS) an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after associating with an unconditioned stimulus (US) comes to trigger a conditioned response

Conditioned Response (CR) the learned response to a previously neutral, but now conditioned, stimulus (CS)

Operant Conditioning

a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher


anything that increases the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated
-better option than punishment
-increase a behavior

Positive Reinforcement

rewards or other positive consequences that follow behaviors
i.e. giving your dog a treat when he follows a command

Negative Reinforcement

removing an aversive stimulus, engaging in behaviors to remove a "negative" stimulus
i.e. fastening your seatbelt to make the annoying fastening seatbelt ding stop


using reinforcers to guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior
-each step=successive learning
i.e. raising hand quickly


can result in fear, aggression, discrimination, etc
-tells you to stop
-decrease a behavior


**believed that psychology should be an objective science based on observational behaviors

Observational Learning

Bobo doll experiment

Latent Learning

learning that occurs but its not demonstrate until there's a need
-learn by observing
i.e. rats in maze-add food
i.e. college laundry-never done it until there's a need

Social Reinforcement

more likely to like people who like you
i.e. new to campus, and someone compliments you every time you see them

Amount of Reinforcement

-contrast effect (effect of reward is dependent on previous experience with rewards that differed in quality)
-negative (big to small)
-positive (small to big)


*emotions are our body's adaptive response
-can change emotion by changing your thinking
-nonverbal language of emotions is universal

Emotions are a mix of...

physiological activation
expressive behaviors
conscious experience


an emotional state consisting of feelings that varies in intensity from mild irritation or annoyance to intense fury and rage
-what makes someone angry varies

Causes of Anger

if love ones or friends commit wrongdoings, especially if they are willful, unjustified, and avoidable
-foul odors, high temperatures, traffic jams, aches&pains
i.e. more murders in summer


ppl who are happy perceive the world as being safer
-if happy, you are able to make decisions easily, are most cooperative, rate job applications more favorably, and live healthier, energized, and more satisfied lives

Subjective Well-Being

the self-perceived feeling of happiness or satisfaction with life

Positive Psychology

focuses on emotional health & happiness, not on pathology (illness)


any circumstance (real or perceived) that threatens a person's well-being
*stress is a PROCESS by which we appraise and cope with environmental threats and challenged
-when we feel severe stress, our ability to cope is impaired
-stress can be adaptive: in a fearful/stress-causing, we can run away or save our lives
-stress can be maladaptive: chronic stress increases our risk of illness and health problems

Explanatory Style

tend to:
have more control over stressors
cope better with stressful events
have better moods
have a stronger immune system

Social Support

supportive family members, marriage partners & close friends help cope with stress
-their immune functioning calms the cardiovascular system and lowers blood pressure

Managing stress effects...

having a sense of control
an optimist explanatory style
social support can reduce stress & improve health

Factors that reduce stress and increase health...

exercise elevates mood and well being
-raise energy, increases self-confidence, and lowers tensions, depression & anxiety

relaxation & meditation

regular religious attendance
-longer life span with a reduced risk of dying
-gives you hope & purpose

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