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Myers 9 Chapter 6

Bell West / Sensation and Perception

sensation the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receieve and represent stimulus energies from our environment
perception the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events
Top-down proscessing Information processing guided by higher-level mental processess, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations
Bottom-up processing Analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information
psychophysics the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli such as their intenistity and our psychological experience of them.
Absolute thresold The minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time
Signal decetion theory a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus amid background stimulation assumes there is no single absolute Threshold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience, expectations, motivation, and level of fatigu
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 (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 dimished 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 smell, 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 wavelenghts vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission.
Hue The dimension of color that is determined by 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.
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.
Accommadtion The process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina.
Rods Retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond.
Cones Retinal receptors 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 impluses 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 many 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.
Audition The senseor act 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.
Middle ear The chamber between the eardrum and the cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window.
Cochlea A coil, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which waves trigger nerve impluses.
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 sounds 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 implant A device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea.
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.
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 traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers
Sensory interaction The principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste.
Gestalt An organized whole. Gesalt 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, that depend on the use of two eyes.
Retinal disparity A binocular cue for perceiving depth; By comparing images from the retinas in the two eyes, the brain computes distance-the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, 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 shapes, size, lightness, and color) even as illumination and retianl images change.
Color constacy Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
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 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; includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
Parasychology The study of paranormal phenomea, including ESP and psychokinesis.
Created by: rkratina