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16 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive & represent stimulus energies from our environment.
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.
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 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 experience, expectations, motivation, and level of fatigue.
below one’s absolute threshold for conscious awareness.
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. (aka 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 that a constant amount).
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. Electromagnetic wavelengths vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission.
the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, green, 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.