48 terms

AP Psyc Chapter 5 Terms

Sensation The process by which our sensory receptors and our 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 sense receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information. Top-down processing Information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we const…
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Sensation
The process by which our sensory receptors and our 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 sense receptors and works up to 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 and expectations.
Psychophysics
The study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them.
Absolute threshold
The minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus fifty percent of the time
Subliminal
Below one's threshold for conscious awareness.
Difference threshold
The least amount of difference between two stimuli required for detection fifty percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference.
Weber's Law
The principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount).
Sensory adaptation
Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.
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 transmission.
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.
Accommodation
The process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina.
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.
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 so called blind spot because no receptor cells are located there.
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 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
Young-Helmholtz trichromatic (three-color) theory
The theory that the retina contains three different color receptors--one most sensitive to red, one to green, one to blue--which when stimulated in combination can produce the perception of 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.
Color constancy
Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
Visual capture
The tendency for vision to dominate the other senses, as when we perceive voices in films as coming from the screen we see rather than from the projector behind us.
Audition
The sense of hearing.
Frequency
The number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time
Pitch
A tone's highness or lowness; depends on frequency.
Middle ear
The chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and 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, and vestibular sacs.
Cochlea
A coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses.
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 and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain.
Sensory interaction
The principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste.
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.
Figure-ground
the organization of the visual field into objects that stand out from their surroundings
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 and convergence, that depend on the use of two eyes.
Monocular cues
Distance cues, such as linear perspective and overlap, available to either eye alone.
Retinal disparity
A binocular cue for perceiving depth: By comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance, so for example, the greater the disparity between the two images, the closer the object.
Convergence
A binocular cue for perceiving depth
Perceptual constancy
to see objects as unchanging even as illumination and retinal images change.
Perceptual adaption
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.
Extrasensory perception
the controversial belief that perception can occur apart from sensory input. Said to include telepathy, and precognition.
Parapsychology
the study of extroadinary phenomenas, like ESP