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The experience you have when some outside stimulus, such as light, sound, or physical pressure, reaches one of your sensory organs and is then relayed to your brain.


Refers to the experience you have when you organize sensations into some meaningful pattern. This also involves, learning, memory, beliefs and motivational factors.


perceiver selects based on past knowledge; the use of contextual information or knowledge of a pattern in order to organize parts of the pattern.


Attending to new stimuli that gets our attention: the organization of the parts of a pattern to recognize, or form an image of, the pattern they compose.


Believe that perceptions could be dissected into individual elements.

Gestalt Psychologists

Perceptions should be viewed wholistically, they are often more than the sum of their parts.

Principles of Perceptual Organization

Figure and the ground, simplicity, similarity, continuity, closure.

Figure and Ground

Figure dominates the center of attention and the ground recedes into the background; figure-mire detail; ground-less detail.


We tend to organize material into the simplest way possible.


We tend to organize elements that appear similar.


We tend to see as groups those objects that are physically close together.


We tend to perceive a series of points or lines along a smooth or continuous path.


The tendency to fill in missing parts of a figure and see the figure as complete.

Perceptual Constancies

Size, shape, brightness, and color constancies. The tendency to see an object as retaining in actual shape no matter what angle it is viewed from.

The importance of constancies

Perceptual constancies give the world a sense stability. Threshold, subliminal perception, and esp.

Perceptual Thresholds

How intense does a stimulus have to be before it will be perceived?

Classical Threshold Theory

This theory assumes that for any type of stimulus, such as light or sound, there is an absolute level below which a particular person can no longer perceive that stimulus.

Absolute Threshold

The lowest level of stimulus energy needed in order for that stimulus to be perceived. Since this level varies from person to person and certain other conditions, an absolute threshold is often declined as the stimulus intensity a given, individual can detect 50% of the time.

The Concept of Just Noticeable Difference

The increase of decrease in the intensity of a stimulus that a person can manage to detect.

Subliminal Perception

Wholistic way of seeing versus analytic. Below the level of conscious awareness but still able to perceive unconsciously.

Extrasensory Perception

Any perception that supposedly occurs outside normal sensory processes. Psychologists are not convinced any of these exist- however some research is being conducted that may not preclude the existence of some anomalous human experience that cannot be tested in the laboratory.


foretelling the future.


transfering thoughts from one person to another or reading the thoughts of others.


Perceiving events or objects for which there is no sensory stimulation.


Mentally influencing the movement of objects.

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