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85 Cards in this Set

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Face blindness


The process by which our sensory receptors and nervous systems recieve and represent stimulus energies from our environment


The process of organizing nd 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 experiences and expectations


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 brain can interpret


the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them.

Absolute threshholds

German scientist & philosopher Gustav Fechner... the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% 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 on a person's experience, expectations, motivations, and alertness.


below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.


the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus pre-disposing one's perception, memory, or response.

difference threshold

the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detetion 50% of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference

Weber's law

the principle that, to be percieed as different, two stimuli mus differ by a constant minimum percentage rather than a constant amount..

ie) intensity- 8%

weight- 2%

frequency- .3%

Anthony Greenwald

Subliminal messages tapes switched experiment

sensory adaptation

diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation

perceptal set

mental predispostion to percieve one thing and not the other


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.


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 and controls the size of the pupil opening


the transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images 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


the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on 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 (fovea) 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, 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

David Hubel & Torsten Wiesel

1979 received a nobel peace prize for their work on feature detectors.

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 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 example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green.


an organized whole. gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes


the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundins (the ground)


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 yound animals.. used by Eleanor Gibson and Richard Walk

binocular cues

depth cues, such as retinal desparity, that descend on the use of two eyes

retinal desparity

a binocular cue for percieving 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.

monoular cue-Relative height

We perceive higher objects as farther away

monocular cue-Relative motion

As we move, stationary obects appear to move

monocular cue-relative size

assuming two objects are similar size, the one that casts a smaller retinal image is perceived as farther away

monocular cue- interposition

if one object partially blocks our view of another, we perceive it as closer

monocular cue- linear perspective

parallel lines appear to meet in the distance. the sharper the angle of convergence, the greater the perceived distance

monocular cue-Light and shadow

shading produces a sense of depth consistent with our assumption that light comes from above

stroboscopic movement

the brain perceives continuous movement in rapid series of slightly varying images

monocular cues

depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, availabe 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 consistancy

perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent shapes, size, brightness, and color) even as illumination and retinal images change

color constancy

perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wave-lengths reflected by the object

Albert Ames

Distorted room illusion

knowledge comes from our inborn ways of organizing sensory experiences

Immanuel Kant

Through our experiences we lean to perceive the world

John Locke

William Molyneux

Can people who were born blind, taught by touch to distinguish between a cube and sphere, and now are adults could if made to see visually distinguish the two

George Stratton

Perceptual adaptation goggles experiment

Perceptual adaptation

In vision, the ability to adjust to an artificiallu displaced or even inverted visual field


the sense or act of hearing


the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second)


a tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends on the frequency

middle ear

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.


a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear; sound waves traveling through the cochlear fluid trigger nerve impulses

inner ear

the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs

sensorineural hearing loss

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 mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea

cochlear implant

a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea

place theory

Herman von Helmholtz.... in hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochlea's membrane is stimulated (High pitch)

frequency theory

In hearing, the theory that the rate of nerve impluses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch (low pitch)

volley principle

neural cells alternate firing... combination of both place and frequency theory. (intermediate range pitch)


sensory receptors that detect hurtful temperatures, pressure, or chemicals.

Gate control theory

Ronald Melzack & Patrick Wall... the theory tht the spinal cord contans a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals or allows them to pas on to the brain. The "gate" is opened by the avtivity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain


a "ringing in the ears' sensation that somtimes occurs with people with hearing loss.. a phantom-sound similar to phantom-limb

McGurk effect

Harry McGurk & John MacDonald.. the brain perceiving one syllable as another when seeing and hearing two different ones together.

sensory interaction

the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences taste

embodied cognition

in psychological science, the influence of bodily sensations, gestures, and other states on cognitive preference and judgements.


one sort of sensation (such as hearing sound) produces another (such as seeing color)


inability to smell


the system fir sensing the position and movement of individual body parts

vestibular sense

the sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance

extrasensory preception (ESP)

the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input; includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition


the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis


mind-to-mind communication


perceiving remote events, such as a house on fire in another state


perceiving future vents, such as an unexpected death in the next month


"mind over matter"... levitation, influence