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60 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Sensation & Perception

what's out there & what we think is out there.

Basic Perceptual Principles

transduction & accommodation.


in sensation, the transformation of stimulus energy (sights, sounds, smells( into neural impulses).


sensation - stimulus input: light energy; visible spectrum.
perception - visual; the process to transform light energy into neural signal.

Physical Characteristics of Light

wavelength (hue / color) and intensity (brightness).


the distance from the peak of one wave to the peak of the next.
short - high frequency (blue, high-pitched).

long - low frequency (red, low-pitched).

Hue (color)

determined by the wavelength of the light.

Intensity (brightness)

amount of energy in a wave determined by the amplitude, related to perceived brightness.
great - bright colors, loud sounds.
small - dull, soft.

Parts of the Eye

pupil, iris, lens, retina.


opening in the iris through which light passes.


muscle that expands and contracts to change the size of opening (pupil) for light.


focuses the light rays on the retina.


contains sensory receptors that process visual information and send it to the brain.


the process by which the eye's lens changes its curvature to help focus near or far objects on the retina.

more or less refraction of the light.


a condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than distant objects.


a condition in which faraway objects are seen more clearly than near objects.

Visual Information Processing

optic nerves connect to the thalamus in the middle of the brain, and the thalamus to the visual cortex.


the stimulus input: sound waves; the ear.

Sound Waves

composed of compression and rarefaction of air molecules.

Acoustical Transduction

conversion of sound waves into neural impulses in the hair cells of the inner ear.

Sound Characterisitcs

frequency (pitch), intensity (loudness), and quality (timbre).

Frequency (pitch)

determined by wavelength of sound.

Intensity (loudness)

determined by amplitude relates to perceived loudness.

Quality (timbre)

characteristics of sound from different instruments allows the ear to distinguish between the two.

Parts of the Ear

outer ear, middle ear, inner ear.


collects sounds.


chamber between eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window.


contains cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.


coiled, bony fluid-filled tube in the inner ear that transduces sound vibrations to auditory signals.


a mix of four distinct skin senses - pressure, warmth, cold, and pain.

Pressure on adjacent pressure receptors


Pressure + Pain


Cold + Pressure


Warm + Cold



sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, and 'umami' (fresh chicken).

Sensation Threshold

absolute threshold, subliminal threshold, and difference threshold (just noticeable difference).

Absolute Threshold

minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of time.

Subliminal Threshold

when stimuli are below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.

Difference Threshold

Weber's law - regardless of magnitude, two stimuli must differ by a constant proportion (instead of constant amount) for their difference to be perceptible.


we have the tendency to organize pieces of sensory information into meaningful whole.

Perceptual Rules

form (figure vs. ground; grouping), depth, motion, and constancy.


we tend to group nearby objects together.


we tend to group similar objects together.


we perceive smooth, continuous patterns rather than broken lines.


we tend to perceive adjacent objects as a single unit.


we fill in gaps with imagination.


we tend to group objects with common fate together.

Retinal Disparity

images from the two eyes differ.

Relative Size

if two objects are similar in size, we perceive the one that casts a smaller retinal image to be farther away.


objects that occlude (block) other objects tend to be perceived as closer.

Relative Height

we perceive objects that are higher in our field of vision to be farther away than those that are lower.

Relative Motion

objects closer to a fixation point move faster and in opposing direction to those objects that are farther away from a fixation point, moving slower and in the same direction.

Linear Perspective

parallel lines appear to converge in the distance. the more the lines converge, the greater their perceived distance.

Light & Shadow

near vs. far; direction of light.

Tall Arch

vertical dimension of the arch looks longer than the horizontal dimension when both are equal.

Perceiving Motion

changes in size - moving; series of rapidly varying images - continuous motion (stroboscopic movement).

Perceptual Constancy

when an object changes shape in different angles, we can still perceive it as the original object.

Selective Attention

countless events are going on around us, if we attend to everything, we will be overwhelmed. the ability to focus is a bless.

Change / Inattentional Blindness (deafness)

by focusing on something else, sometimes we are unable to notice the changes right in front of us.

Choice Blindness

after having made a choice, we tend to fixate on our choice, simply because it's the "choice", regardless of the object.