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42 Cards in this Set

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The process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment.
Sensation
The process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events
Perception
Analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information.
Bottom-up Processing
Information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations.
Top-down processing
The study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them.
Psychophysics
The minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time.
Absolute Theshold
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.
Signal Detection Theory
Below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.
Sublimal
The minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the different theshold as a just noticeable different. (Also called just noticeable difference or jnd.)
Difference Threshold
The principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount).
Weber's Law
The chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window.
Middle Ear
A coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses.
Cochlea
The innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.
Inner Ear
In hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochlea's membrane is stimulated.
Place 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.
Frequency Theory
Hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea.
Conduction Hearing Loss
Hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
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 or by information coming from the brain.
Gate-Control Theory
The system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts.
Kinesthesis
The sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance.
Vestibular Sense
Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.
Sensory Adaptation
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.
Transduction
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.
Wavelength
The adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters.
Pupil
A ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size of the pupil opening.
Iris
The transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina.
Lens
The process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina.
Accommodation
The light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of vital information.
Retina
The sharpness of vision.
Acuity
A condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than distant objects because distant objects focus in front of the retina.
Nearsightedness
Retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond.
Rods
Retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or well-lit conditions. The cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations.
Cones
defines the center of the retina, and is the region of highest visual acuity. The fovea is directed towards whatever object you wish to study most closely.
Fovea
The point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a "blind" spot because no receptor cells are located there.
Blind Spot
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.
Parallel Processing
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.
Young-Helmholtz Trichromatic (Three-color) Theory
The theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, yellow-blue, white-black) enables color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green.
Opponent-Process Theory
Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
Color Constancy
The sense or act of hearing.
Audition
The number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second).
Frequency
the nerve that transmits visual information from the retina to the brain.
Optic Nerve
A tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency.
Pitch