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33 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and 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 sense 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 consruct 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
below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness
difference threshold
the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticable difference
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
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 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
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 begin the processing of visual information
retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones dont respond
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 becaus no receptor cells are located there
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 stimultaneously; 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 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
color constancy
perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object
visual capture
the tendency for vision to dominate the other senses, as when we perceive voices in films as coming from the screen we see rather than from the projector behind us
the sense of hearing
the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second)
the tone's 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
inner ear
the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs
a coiled bony, fluid filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses
extra-sensory perceptions (ESP)
the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input. Said to include telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition
the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis