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the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system take in stimulus energies from our environment


the process by which our brain organizes and interprets sensory information, transforming it into meaningful objects and events


changing from one for of energy into another. transforming stimulus energies into neural impulses our brain can interpret

absolute threshold

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


below our absolute threshold for conscious awareness


activating, often unconsciously, associations in our mind, thus setting us up to perceive or remember objects or events in certain ways

difference threshold

the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. we experience this difference as a just noticeable difference

Weber's Law

the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum proportion

sensory adaptation

reduced sensitivity in response to constant stimulation

perceptual set

a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another


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


the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light


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


the light sensitive inner surface of the eye; contains the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information

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