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AP Psych Ch. 5 Vocab

Sensation - AP Psychology, Chapter 5

Bottom-up processing Receptors pick up information, and the brain processes it
Top-down processing When the brain already knows how a stimulus will feel, taste, etc.
Psychophysics The study of the relationship between physical characteristics of stimuli (such as their actual intensity) and our perception of them (e.g. thresholds and when we pick up on stimuli)
Absolute thresholds The minimum stimulus needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time
Signal detection theory Predicts when we will detect weak signals - there is no single absolute threshold, and detection depends on experience, expectations, motivations, and levels of fatigue
Subliminal Below the threshold
Priming Activating (often unconsciously) certain associations that can affect perception (ex: people rated images more positively when they were preceded by imperceptible images of kittens rather than werewolves)
Difference threshold The minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50% of the time
Weber's law The principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a minimum percentage rather than amount
Adaptation Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation
Transduction The conversion of one form of energy into another (e.g. sights/smells/tastes to neural impulses)
Pupil The opening in the eye through which light enters
Iris A ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye and controls the size of the opening
Lens The transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina
Retina The light-sensitive inner surface of the eye; contains rods, cones, and neurons
Accommodation (vision) The process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina
Acuity Sharpness of vision
Farsightedness A condition in which an individual can see far objects, but not near ones
Rods Detect black, white, and grey; for night and peripheral vision
Cones Detect color and fine detail, concentrated near the center of the retina
Optic nerve Carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain
Blind spot The point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, where no receptor cells are located
Fovea The central focal point in the retina, around which the cones cluster
Feature detector A nerve cell in the brain that responds to specific features of a stimulus, like shape, angle, or movement
Parallel processing Processing several aspects of a problem simultaneously, the brain's natural mode for many functions
The Young-Helmholtz trichromatic theory The retina has three types of color receptors: red, green, and blue
Opponent process theory Opposing retinal processes enable color vision (some cells are stimulated by red and inhibited by green, etc) - explains afterimages, which tire out one color's response and only allow its opponent to fire properly when looking at white
Frequency The number of wavelengths passing through a point at a given time (causes pitch)
Pitch A tone's experienced highness or lowness
Middle ear The chamber between the eardrum and the cochlea, contains the three tiny bones that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window)
Inner ear The innermost part of the ear; contains the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs
Cochlea A coiled, bony fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses
Place theory The theory that we hear different pitches because different sounds waves trigger activity at different places along the cochlea's basilar membrane
Frequency theory The theory that we hear different pitches because the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of a tone
Conduction hearing loss Hearing loss caused by mechanical damage to the system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea
Sensorineural hearing loss Hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or the auditory nerves
Cochlear implant Converts sound into electrical signals and stimulates the auditory nerve via electrodes in the cochlea
Gate control theory The theory that the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that either blocks or allows pain signals to enter the brain
Sensory interaction One sense may influence another (scent enhances the taste of food, seeing lip movements allows us to better understand words)
Created by: emilyjane1221
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