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49 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system recieve and represent stimulus energies from our enviornment
the process of orginizating and interpreting snesory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events
bottom - up processing
analysis that begins with the sensory recetops and works up to the brain's intergration of sensory information
top - down processing
information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our expierence and expectations
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of the 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
a theory predicting 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 a person's expierence, expecatations, motivation, and level of fatigue
below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness
the activation, often unconsciously, of certian 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 expierence the difference threshold as a just notticable difference
Weber's law
the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minium percentage (rather than a constant amout)
sensory adaptation
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation
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
the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Eletromagnetic wavelengths vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of raido transmission
the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, gren and so forth
the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the wave's amplitude
the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters
a ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil opening
the transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus near or far objects on the retina
the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina
the light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that being the processing of visual information
the sharpness of vision
a condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than distant objects because distant objects focus in the front of the retina
a condition in whic far away objects are seen more clearly than near objects because the image if near objects is focused behind the retina
retinal receptors that detect black, white and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond
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
the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster
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, 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. For exapmle, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green
color constancy
perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the waverlengths reflected by the object
the sense or act of hearing
the number of complete wavelenths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second)
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
a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which the sound waves trigger nerve impulses
inner ear
the intermost 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 the tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch
conduction hearing loss
hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system the 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 verve deftness
cochlear implant
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 pains 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 or by information coming from the brain
sensory interaction
teh principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences taste
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
feature detectors
nerve cells in the brain the respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle or movement