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63 terms

AP Psychology Unit 4 Vocab

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Absolute Threshold
The minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time
Accommodation
(1) The process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina. (2) Adapting our current understandings to incorporate new information.
Audition
The sense or act of hearing.
Binocular Cues
Depth cues, such as retinal disparity, that depend on the use of two eyes.
Blind Spot
the point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a spot where there are no receptor cells, a spot in which is not visible.
Bottom-Up Processing
Analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information.
Change Blindness
Failing to notice changes in the environment.
Cochlea
A coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses.
Cochlear Implant
A device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulation the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded in the cochlea.
Color Constancy
Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
Conduction Hearing Loss
Hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea.
Cones
Retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in well-lit conditions. The cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations.
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.
Difference Threshold
The minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time.
Extrasensory Perception
The controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input.
Feature Detectors
nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement
Parallel Processing
the processing of many aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brains natural mode of information processing for many functions, including vision
Young-Helmholtz Trichromatic (three-color) Theory
the theory that the retina contains 3 different 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
Opponent-Process Theory
the theory that opposing retinal processes (white-black, red-green) enable color vision. ex: some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red, or vice versa
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 & cochlea containing 3 tiny bones (hammer, anvil & stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window
Inner Ear
the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, & 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 nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches that frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness
Kinesthesis
the system for sensing the position & movement of individual body parts
Vestibular Sense
the sense of body movement & 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 & is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain
Sensory Interaction
the principle that one sense may influence another
Gestalt
an organized whole
Figure-Ground
the organization of the visual field into objects (figures) that stand out from their surroundings (ground)
Grouping
the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups
Visual Cliff
a laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants & young animals
Retinal Disparity
a binocular cue for perceiving depth: by comparing images from the retinas in the 2 eyes, the brain computes distance; the greater the disparity, the closer the object
Monocular Cues
depth cues (such as interposition & linear perspective) available to either eye alone
Phi Phenomenon
an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on & off in quick succession
Perceptual Constancy
perceiving objects as unchanging, even as illumination & retinal images change
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 & not another
Parapsychology
the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP ^ & psychokinesis
Sensation
the process by which our sensory receptors & nervous system receive & represent stimulus energies from our environment
Perception
the process of organizing & interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects & events
Top-Down Processing
information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience & expectations
Selective Attention
the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus
Inattentional Blindness
failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere
Psychophysics
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, & our psychological experience of them
Signal Detection Theory
a theory predicting how & when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold & that detection depends partly on a persons experience, expectation, motivation & alertness
Subliminal
below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness
Priming
the activation, often unconsciously, of certain assosciations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory or response
Weber's Law
the principle that, to be perceived as different, 2 stimuli must differ by a constant percentage (rather than a constant amount)
Sensory Adaptation
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation
Transduction
conversion of one form of energy into another. ex. sensation: stimulus energies to neural impulses our brains can interpret
Wavelength
the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next.
Hue
the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light (color names like blue)
Intensity
the amount of energy in a light or sound wave as determined by the waves amplitude
Pupil
the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters
Iris
the ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil & controls the size of the pupil opening
Lens
the transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on gthe retina
Retina
the light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods & cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information
Rods
retinal receptors that detect black, white, gray; necessary for peripheral & twilight vision, when cones don't respond
Optic nerve
the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain
Fovea
The central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster