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79 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Absolute Threshold
The minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time.
(perceptual) - The process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina.
The sharpness of vision.
The inability to smell.
The sense of hearing.
Basilar Membrane
Runs the length of the spiraled cochlea, holds the auditory receptors.
Binocular Cues
Depth cues, such as retinal disparity and convergence, that depend on the use of two eyes.
Blind Spot
The point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye and does not contain receptor cells.
Bottom-up Processing
Analysis that begins with the sense receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information.
A coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses.
Cocktail Party Effect
The ability to attend selectively to only one voice among many.
Color Constancy
Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
Conduction Hearing Loss
Hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea.
Receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. They detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations.
A binocular cue for perceiving depth; the extent to which the eyes turn inward when looking at an object.
The curved, transparent, protective layer through which light rays enter the eye.
Dark Adaptation
The process in which the eyes become more sensitive to light in low illumination.
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.
Difference Threshold
The minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. (Also called just noticeable difference or jnd.)
The thin, semitransparent, oval-shaped membrane that separates the middle ear from the external ear.
Extrasensory Perception
(ESP) - The controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input. Said to include telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
A condition in which faraway objects are seen more clearly than near objects because the image of near objects is focused behind the retina.
Feature Detectors
Nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement.
The organization of the visual field into objects that stand out from their surroundings.
The central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster.
The number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second).
Frequency 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.
Gate-control Theory
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.
An organized whole. Emphasizes our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes.
The perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups.
Decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation.
The dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, green, and so forth.
Human Factors Psychology
A branch of psychology that explores how people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be adapted to human behaviors.
Inner Ear
The innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.
The amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the wave's amplitude.
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 system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts.
The transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina.
Middle Ear
The chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window.
Monocular Cues
Distance cues, such as linear perspective and overlap, available to either eye alone.
Motion Parallax
(relative motion) - Monocular cue for depth that involves images of objects at different distances moving across the retina at different rates.
A condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than distant objects because distant objects focus in front of the retina.
The sense of smell.
Opponent-process Theory
(color) - 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.
Optic Nerve
The nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain.
Parallel Processing
The processing of several aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain's natural mode of information processing for many functions, including vision.
The study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis.
The process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events.
Perceptual Adaptation
In vision, the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field.
Perceptual Constancy
Perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent lightness, color, shape, and size) even as illumination and retinal images change.
Perceptual Set
A mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another.
Chemicals released by one animal and detected by another that shape the second animal's behavior or physiology.
Phi Phenomenon
An illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in succession.
A tone's highness or lowness; depends on frequency.
Place Theory
In hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochlea's membrane is stimulated.
The study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them.
The adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters.
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 Disparity
A binocular cue for perceiving depth: By comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance - the greater the difference between the two images, the closer the object.
Retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond.
Selective Attention
The focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus, as in the cocktail party effect.
The process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness.
Sensory Adaptation
Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.
Sensory Interaction
The principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste.
Shape Constancy
Refers to our perceiving an object as retaining its shape even when the shape it casts on the retina changes.
Signal Detection Theory
A theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus amid background stimulation. Assumes that there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience, expectations, motivation, and level of fatigue.
Size Constancy
The perception that an object remains the same size despite changes in the size of the proximal stimulus on the retina.
Stroboscopic Motion
An illusion in which images flashed in rapid succession are perceived as moving.
Subliminal Perception
The registration of sensory input without conscious awareness. Below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.
Taste Buds
Clusters that contain taste-receptor cells located inside the small visible protrusions on the tongue.
Top-down Processing
Information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations.
Conversion of one form of energy into another. In sensation, the transforming of stimulus energies into neural impulses.
Trichromatic Theory
(Young-Helmholtz) - 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.
Vestibular Sense
The sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance.
Visual Capture
The tendency for vision to dominate the other senses.
Visual Cliff
A laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals.
The distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next.
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).