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the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment


the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information and enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events

bottom up processing

analysis that behings with the sense receptors and works up to the brains intergration of sensory information

top down processing

information processing guided by higher level mental processes as when we conxtruct perceptions drawing our experience and expectations


the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli such as their intensity and our psychological experience of them

absolute treshhold

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

signal dtection theory

predicts how and when we dectect the presence of a faint stimulus amid background stimulation. assume there is no absolute treshhold and that detection depends party on a persons experience expecattions motivation and level of fatigue


below ones absolute treshhold for conscious awareness

defference treshhold

the minimum difference that a person can detect between to stimuli. we experience the difference treshold as just noticeable difference

webers law

the principle that to perceive their difference two stimuli must differ by a constact minimum percentage rather than a constant amount

sensory adaption

diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation


coversion of one from of energy into another. in sensation, the transforming of stimulus energies into neural impulses


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


the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength


the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, brightenss or loundness, determined by amplitude


adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters


ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored protion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size of pupil opening


transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape tofocus images on the retina


the process by which the eyes lens changes shape to focus the image of near objets to the retina


light sensitive inner surface of the eye containing the receptor nods and cones plus layers of neurons that behing the processing of visual information


sharpness of vision


condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than distant objets because the lens focuses the image of distant objects in the front of the retina


condition in which faraway objects are seen more clearly than near objets because the image of near objets is focused behind the retina


retinal receptors that detect black white and gray, necessary for peripheral and twilight vision when cones dont respond


receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina tha function in daylight or in well lit conditions. the cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations

optic nerve

carries neural impulses from eye to the brain

blind spot

the point at which the potic never leaves the eye creating a blind spot because there are no receptor cells


the central focal point in the retina around which the eyes cones cluster

feature decetors

nerve cells in the brain the respond to specific features of the stimulus such as shape angle or movement

parallel processing

processing of several aspects of a problems simultaneously, the brains natural mode of information processing for many fuctions including vision. contrasts with stepe by step processing of most computers and of conscious problems solving

young helmholtz trichromatic three color theory

theory that the retina contains three different color receptors, which when stimulated in combination can produce toe perception of any color. on senstivie to red one to green one to blue

opponent process theory

theory that opposing retinal process (red green yellow blue white black) enable color vision. ex-some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red ect

color constancy

perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object


the sense of hearing


number of complete wavelenghts that pass a point in a given time


tones highness or lowness, depends on frequency

middle ear

chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones, concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochleas oval window

inner ear

innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea semicurcular canals and vertibular sacs


coiled, bony fluid filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses

place theory

in hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochyleas membrane is stimulated

frequence theory

theory that the reate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nevrve matches the frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch

conduction hearing loss

hearing loss cusae by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sounds waves to the cochlea

sensorineural hearing loss

hearing loss cause by damage to the cochleas receptor cells or to the auditory nerves`

gate control theory

theory that the spinal cord contails a neurological gate that blocks pain singals or allows them to pass on to the brain. gate is opened by the acitivty of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in large fivers or by information coming from the brain

sensory interaction

principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste


the system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts

vestibular sense

sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance

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