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Vocab for Chapter 5

Myers 7th Edition - Chapter 05 Vocabulary

TERMDEFINITION
Sensation The process by which our sensory receptors and 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 50 percent of the time.
Signal detection theory Predicts how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus(signal) amid background stimulation(noise). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on experience, expectations, motivation, and level of fatigue.
Subliminal Below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.
Difference threshold The minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference. (Also called just noticeable difference or jnd.)
Weber's law The principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant ammount).
Sensory adaptation Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.
Transduction Conversion of one form of energy into another. In sensation, the transforming of stimulus energies into neural impulses.
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.
Pupil The adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters.
Iris A ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size of the pupil opening.
Lens The transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina.
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.
Acuity The sharpness of vision.
Nearsightedness A condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than distant objects because distant objects focus in front of the retina.
Farsightedness A condition in which faraway objects are seen more clearly than near objects because the image of near objects is focused behind the retina.
Rods Retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond.
Cones Receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in the 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 "blind" spot because no receptor cells are located there.
Fovea The central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster.
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 any 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 Percieving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
Audition The sense of hearing.
Frequency The number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second).
Pitch A tone's highness or lowness depending 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 [KOHK-lee-uh] A coiled, bony, fluid-filled tude 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 cochlea's membrane is stimulated.
Frequency theory In hearing, the theory that the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch.
Conduction hearing loss Hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea.
Sensorineural hearing loss Hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness.
Gate-control theory The spinal cord contains a "gate" that blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to the brain. It's opened by the activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in large fibers or 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 [kin-ehs-THEE-sehs] The system for seeing the position and movement of indivual body parts.
Vestibular sense The sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance.
Created by: shellenberger on 2005-12-29



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