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Nason Ch 5

Sensation Vocab

Vocab WordDefinition
Sensation the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system recieve 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 sensory 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 expecations
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% of the time
Signal Detection Theory a theory predicting how and when we detect the prescence of a faint stimulus ("signal") amid background stimulation ("noise"). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold
Subliminal below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness
Priming the activation, often uncosciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response
Difference Threshold the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50% of the time. We experience it as a just noticeable difference (jnd)
Weber's Law the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ my a constant minimum percentage
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, such as sights, sounds, and smells, into neural impulses our brain can interpret
Wavelength the distance from the peak of one light or soundwave to the peak of the next
Hue the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names
Intensity the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we percieve 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
Accomodation the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far images on the retina
Retina the light-sensative 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 far away 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 grey; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond
Cones retinal receptors that concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions; detect fine details 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 focus 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 funtions, including vision; contrasts with the step-by-step (serial) processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving
Young-Helmholtz Trichromatic Theory the theory that the retina contains three different color receptors- one most sensative to red, one to green, and 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
Color Constancy percieving familiar objects as having consistant color, even if changing illumimation alters the wavelengths reflected by the object
Audition the sense or act of hearing
Frequency the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time
Pitch a tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends 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
Cochlea a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses
Inner Ear the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs
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
Cochlear Impact a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea
Gate-Control Theory the theory that the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain
Sensory Interaction the principle that one sense may influence another, such as when the smell of food influences its taste
Kinesthesis the system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts
Vestibular Sense the sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance
Created by: cookie_luv
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