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Sensation and Perception
Terms in this set (64)
the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment.
sensory nerve endings that respond to stimuli.
the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events.
analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information.
information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations.
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 brain can interpret.
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them.
threshold the minimum stimulus energy 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 stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience, expectations, motivation, and alertness.
below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.
the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference (or jnd).
the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response.
the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount).
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.
a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another.
extrasensory perception (ESP)
the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input; includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis.
the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Electromagnetic wavelengths vary from the short blips of gamma 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 so forth.
the amount of energy in a light wave or sound wave, which influences what we perceive as brightness or loudness. Intensity is determined by the wave's amplitude (height).
the eye's clear, protective outer layer, covering the pupil and iris.
the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters.
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 light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information.
In sensation and perception, the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina.
retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray, and are sensitive to movement; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond.
retinal receptors that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. Cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations.
the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain.
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.
Young-Helmholtz trichromatic (three-color) theory
the theory that the retina contains three different types of 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.
the theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, blue-yellow, white-black) enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green.
nerve cells in the brain's visual cortex that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement.
an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes.
the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundings (the ground).
the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups.
the ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance.
a laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals.
a depth cue, such as retinal disparity, that depends on the use of two eyes.
a binocular cue for perceiving depth. By comparing retinal images from the two eyes, the brain computes distance—the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object.
a depth cue, such as interposition or linear perspective, available to either eye alone.
an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession.
perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent color, brightness, shape, and size) even as illumination and retinal images change.
perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
the ability to adjust to changed sensory input, including an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field.
the sense or act of hearing.
the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second). In hearing, frequency determines pitch
a tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency.
the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones known as ossicles - the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus), and stirrup(stapes) - that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) on the cochlea's oval window.
a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear; sound waves traveling through the cochlear fluid trigger nerve impulses.
the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.
sensorineural hearing loss
hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; the most common form of hearing loss, also called nerve deafness.
conduction hearing loss
a less common form of hearing loss, caused by damage to the mechanical system (the ossicles) that conducts sound waves to the cochlea.
a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea.
in hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochlea's membrane is stimulated.
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. (Also called temporal 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 by the activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain.
the sense of smell.
our movement sense—our system for sensing the position and movement of individual body arts.
our sense of body movement and position that enables our sense of balance.
the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste.
a brain structure for smell located above the nasal cavity beneath the frontal lobes
taste receptor cells
sensory receptors for taste that reside in the taste buds
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