61 terms

AP Psychology: Sensation and Perception

Vocabulary words from the sensation and perception chapter.
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Sensation
the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment.
Perception
the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events.
Bottom-Up Processing
analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up from 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 of them.
Psychophysics
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them.
Absolute Thresholds
the mimimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time.
Signal Detection
Theory
a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amin background stimulation (noise). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience, expectations, motavation, and level of fatigue.
Subliminal
below the threshold of conscious perception; Ex. subliminal advertisement.
Priming
the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, 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 a just noticeable difference (or jnd).
Weber's Law
the principle that, to be percived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount).
Sensory Adaptation
diminished sensitivity as a conequence of constant stimulation.
Transduction
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.
Wavelength
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 cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmissions.
Hue
the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, green, and so forth.
Intensity
the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the wave's amplitude.
Pupil
the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters.
Iris
a ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size of the pupil opening.
Lens
the transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina. (Myers Psychology 9e p. 237)
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. (Myers Psychology 9e p. 237)
Accommodation
the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina.
Rods
retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond.
Cones
retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight 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.
Fovea
the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster.
Feature Detector
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. Contrasts with the step-by-step (serial) processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving. (Myers Psychology 9e p. 242)
Trichromatic (three-color) Theory
the theory that the retina contains three different color receptors - one most sensitive to red, one to green, and one to blue- which, when stimulatued in combination, can produce the perception of any color.
Opponent-Process Theory
the theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, yellow-blue, 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.
Audition
the sense or act of hearing.
Frequency
the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second).
Pitch
a tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency.
Middle Ear
the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (the hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval windiow.
Cochlea
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 the 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.
Kinesthesis
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.
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 by the activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers or by information coming from the brain.
Gestalt
an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to intergrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes.
Sensory Interaction
the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste.
Figure-Ground
the organization of the visual field into objects (the FIGURES) that stand out from their surroundings (the GROUND).
Grouping
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, that depend of the use of two eyes.
Retinal Disparity
a binocular cue for perceving depth: By comparing images from the retinals in the two eyes, the brain computes distances- the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object.
Monocular Cues
depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone.
Phi Phenomenom
an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession.
Perceptual Constancy
perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent shape, size, lightness, and color) even as illumination and retinal images change.
Color Constancy
perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
Perceptual Adaptation
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 enviornments can be made safe and easy to use.
Extrasensory Perception (ESP)
the contrversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input; includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
Parapsychology
the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis.