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Unit 3 Perception

selective attention the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus, as in the cocktail party effect
inattention blindness failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere
visual capture the tendency for vision to dominate the other senses
gestalt an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes
figure-ground the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundings (the ground)
grouping the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups
depth perception the ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance
visual cliff a laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals
binocular cues depth cues, such as retinal disparity and convergence, that depend on the use of two eyes
retinal disparity a binocular cue for perceiving depth: By comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance-the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object
convergence a binocular cue for perceiving depth; the extent to which the eyes converge inward when looking at an object. The greater the inward strain, the closer the object.
monocular cues depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone
phi phenomenon an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession
perceptual constancy perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent lightness, color, shape, and size) even as illumination and retinal images change
perceptual adaptation in vision, the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field
perceptual set a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another
human factors psychology a branch of psychology that explores how people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be made safe and easy to use
extrasensory perception (ESP) the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input. Said to include telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition
parapsychology the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis
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 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 expectations
psychophysics the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity
absolute threshold the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time
signal detection theory a theory predicting how and when we detect the presences of a faint stimulus ("signal") amid background stimulation ("noise"). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience, expectations, motivati
subliminal below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness
priming the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response
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 amount)
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 brains can interpret
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
hues 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 form 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 focus near or far objects 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
aculty 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
farsighteness a condition in which faraway objects are seen more clearly than near objects because the image 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 retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in 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 computes and 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
audition the sense or acting of hearing
frequency the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second)
pitch a tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency
middles ear the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that consecrate 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 vestibluar 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
sensorineaural hearing loss hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness
cochlear implant a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and simulating that 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 or allows them to pass on to the brain. The "gate" is opened by the activity of pain signals travelling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fiber
sensory interaction the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of flood influences it taste
kinethesis system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts
vestibular sense the sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balnce
Created by: jmason23
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