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selective attention

The focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus

inattentional blindness

Failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere

cocktail party effect

Ability to attend to only one voice among many

Max Wertheirmer

Gestalt theory (see things as a whole)

Stroop task

A task in which the participant has to name the colours in which words are printed. (stroop effect)

visual capture

the tendency for vision to dominate the other senses


"an organized whole" or "configuration"


The organization of the visual field into objects that stand out from their surroundings


the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups


Grouping nearby figures together.


Group similar figures together


We perceive smooth, continuous patterns rather than discontinuous ones.


Because they are uniform and linked, we perceive each set of two dots and the line between them as one unit


Fill gaps to create whole objects

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 desparity

A binocluar cue for perceiving depth: By encompassing images from the two eybealls, the brain computes distance--the greater the disparity (difference) 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

monocular cues

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

relative size

if we assume that two objects are similar in size, we perceive the one that casts the smaller retinal image as farther away


A depth cue in which one object partly covering another is assumed to be closer in distance.

relative clarity

because light from distant objects passes through more atmosphere we perceive hazy objects as farther away than sharp,clear objects

texture gradient

-A gradual change from a coarse, distinct texture to a fine, indistinct texture signals increasing distance

relative height

We perceive objects higher in our field of vision as farther away

relative motion (motion parallax)

as we move, objects that are actually stable may appear to move

linear perspective

Parallel lines appear to converge with distance.

light and shadow

Nearby objects reflect more light to our eyes. Dimmer objects seem farther away.

phi phenomenon

An illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession

perceptual constancy

perceiving objects as unchanging even as illumination and retinal images change

stroboscopic movement

Brain perceives continuous movement in a rapid series of slightly varying images

perceptual adaption

in vision, the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted 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


Controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input. Said to include telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.


the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis

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