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the stimulation of sense organs


the selection, organization, and interpretation of sensory input


a transparent eye structure that focuses the light rays falling on the retina


close objects are seen clearly but distant objects appear blurry


distant objects are seen clearly but close objects appear blurry


the opening int he center of the iris that helps regulate the amount of light passing into the rear chamber of the eye


the neural tissue lining the inside back surface of the eye; it absorbs light, processes images, and sends visual information to the brain


specialized visual recepetors that play a key role in daylight vision and color vision


a tiny spot in the center of the retina that contains only cones, visual acuity is greatest at this spot


specialized visual receptors that play a key role in night vision and peripheral vision

dark adaptation

the process in which the eyes become more sensitive to light in low illumination

light adaptation

the process in which the eyes become less sensitive to light in high illumination

receptive field of a visual cell

the retinal area that, when stimulated, affects the firing of that cell

optic chiasm

the point at which the axons form the inside half of each eye cross over and then project to the opposite half of the brain

feature detectors-

neurons that respond selectively to very specific features of more complex stimuli

subtractive color mixing

works by removing some wavelength of light, leaving less light than was originally there

additive color mixing

works by superimposing lights, putting more light int he mixture than exists in any one light by itself

trichromatic theory

holds that the human eye has three types of receptors with differing sensitivities to different light wavelengths

color blindness

encompasses a variety of deficiencies in the ability to distinguish among colors

complementary colors

are pairs of colors that produce gray tones when mixed together


a visual image that persists after a stimulus is removed

opponent process theory

holds that color perception depends on receptors that make antagonistic responses to three pairs of colors

reversible figure

a drawing that is compatible with two different interpretations that can shift back and forth

perceptual set

a readiness to perceive a stimulus in a particular way

inattentional blindness

which involves the failure to see fully visible objects or events in a visual display because one's attention is focused elsewhere

feature analysis

the process of detecting specific elements in visual input and assembling them into a more complex form

bottom-up processing

a progression from individual elements to the whole

top-down processing

a progression from the whole to the elements

phi phenomenon

the illusion of movement created by presenting visual stimuli in rapid succession

perceptual hypothesis

an inference about what form could be responsible for a pattern of sensory stimulation

depth perception

involves interpretation of visual cues that indicate how near or far away objects are

binocular depth cues

are clues about distance based on the differing views of the two eyes

retinal disparity

refers to the fact that objects within 25 feet project images to slightly different locations on the right and left retinas, so the right and left eyes see slightly different views of the object

monocular depth cues

are clues about distance based on the image in either eye alone

pictorial depth cues

cues about distance that can be given in a flat picture

perceptual constancy

is a tendency to experience a stable perception in the face of continually changing sensory input

visual illusion

involves an apparently inexplicable discrepancy between the appearance of a visual stimulus and its physical reality

impossible figures

are objects that can be represented in two-dimensional pictures but cannot exist in three-dimensional space

the cochlea

a fluid-filled, coiled tunnel that contains the receptors for hearing

basilar membrane

runs the length of the spiraled cochlea, holds the auditory receptors, called hair cells

place theory

holds that perception of pitch corresponds to the vibration of different portions, or places, along the basilar membrane

frequency theory

holds that perception of pitch corresponds to the rate, or frequency, at which the entire basilar membrane vibrates

sensory adaptation

a gradual decline in sensitivity to prolonged stimulation

door-in-the-face technique

involves making a large request that is likely to be turned down as a way to increase the chances that people will agree to a smaller request later


people, objects, events, and other standards that are used as a baseline for comparison in making judgements

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