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the process by which our sensory receptors receive info from our environment


the process of interpreting info received from our environment

bottom-up processing

analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory info

top-down processing

info processing guided by higher-level mental processes; construct perceptions and experience expectations


study of relationships b/w physical characteristics of stimuli and our psychological experience of them

absolute threshold

minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time


below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness


activation usually unconsciously of certain associations, predisposing on'es perception, memory or response

difference threshold

minimum diff. b/w 2 stimuli required for detection 50% of the time

Weber's law

principle that, to be percieved as diff., 2 stimuli must differ by constant minimum percentage

sensory adaptation

diminished sesnitivty as a consequence of constant stimulation


distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next


dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; for example, blue and green as colors


amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness determined by a wave's amplitude


light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones and layers of neurons that begin processing of visual info


process by which eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on thr retina


retinal recpetors that detect black, white and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision when cones don't respond


retinal receptor cells near the center of the retina and function in daylight; detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations

optic nerve

nerve that carries neural impulses from eye to brain

blind spot

point at which optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a "blind" spot b/c no receptor cells are located there


central focal pt. in retina, around which eye's cones cluster

feature detectors

nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of stimulus, such as shape, angle or movement

parallel processing

processing of aspects of a problem simultaneously; brain's natural mode of info processing for many functions including vision

opponent-process theory

theory that opposing retinal processes enable color vision

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