Glossary of psychology chapter 4 vocab

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the overall process of apprehending objects and events in the environment--to sense them, understand them, identify and label them, and prepare to react to them
what you perceive
process by which stimulation of sensory receptors--the structures in our eyes, ears, and so on--produces neural impulses that represent experiences inside or outside the body
the stage in which an internal representation of an object is formed and a percept of the external stimulus is developed
perceptual organization
assigns meaning to percepts
identification and recognition
the physical object in the world
distal stimulus
the optical image on the retina
proximal stimulus
a single image at the sensory level can result in multiple interpretations at the perceptual and identification levels
when your perceptual systems actually deceive you into experiencing a stimulus pattern in a manner that is demonstrably incorrect
study of the relationship between physical stimuli and the behavior or mental experiences the stimuli evoke
the minimum amount of physical energy needed to produce a sensory experience
absolute threshold
a graph that shows the percentage of detections at each stimuls intensity
psychometric function
the diminishing responsiveness of sensory systems to prolonged stimulus input
sensory adaption
the systematic tendency for an observer to favor responding in a particular way because of factors unrelated to the sensory features of the stimulus
response bias
a systematic approach to the problem of response bias
signal detection theory (SDT)
the smallest physical difference between two stimuli that can still be recognized as a difference
difference threshold
the point at which the stimuli are recognized as different half of the time
just noticeable difference (JND)
The JND between stimuli is a constant fraction of the intensity of the standard stimulus
Weber's law
the conversion of one form of physical energy, such as light, to another form, such as neural impulses is called
convert the physical for of the sensory signal into cellular signals that can be processed by the nervous system
sensory receptors
the process by which the ciliary muscles change the thickness of the lens of the eye to permit variable focusing on near and distant objects
gradual improvement of the eyes sensitivity after a shift in illumination from light to near darkness
dark adaptation
small region near the center of the retina which contains nothing but densely packed cones
nerve cells that combine impulses from many receptors and send the results to ganglion cells
bipolar cells
integrates the impulses from one or more bipolar cells into a single firing rate
ganglion cell
integrate information across the retina
horizontal and amacrine cells
the ultimate destination of much visual information
visual cortex
how things look
pattern recognition
where things are
place recognition
area of a cell in the visual field from which receives stimulation
receptive field
dimension that captures the qualitative experience of the color of a light
the psychological dimension that captures the purity and vividness of color sensations
the dimension of color experience that captures the intensity of light
wavelengeth that appear directly across from each other on the color circle
complementary colors
opposite of original color
negative afterimage
all color experiences arise from three underlying systems, each of which includes two opponent elements--red vs green, blue vs yellow, or back (no color) vs white (all colors)
opponent-process theory
highness or lowness of a sound determined by the sound's frequency
physical intensity of a sound
explains pitch by the rate of vibration of the basilar membrane
frequency theory
ability to determine the spatial origins of auditory events
sound localization
chemical substances used within a given species to signal sexual receptivity, danger, territorial boundaries, and food sources
skin senses
cutaneous senses
sense that tells you how your body--expecially your head-- is oriented in the world with respect to gravity
vestibular sense
sense that provides constant sensory feedback about what the body is doing during motor activities
kinesthetic sense
the body's response to stimulation from harmful stimuli
cells in the spinal cord act as neurological gates, interrupting and blocking some pain signals and letting others get through to the brain
gate-control theory
the distance from you to an object
you see the world as invariant, constant, and stable despite changes in the stimulation of your sensory receptors
perceptual constancy
when an opaque object blocks out part of a second object
interposition or occlusion
your ability to perceive the true size of an object despite variations in the size of its retinal image
size constancy
you percieve an objects actual shape correctly even when the object is slanted away from you
shape constancy
your tendency to perceive the whiteness, grayness, or blackness of objects as constant across changing levels of illumination
lightness constancy
involves your past experiences, knowledge, motivations, and cultural background in perceiving the world
a temporary readiness to perceive or react to a stimulus in a particular way

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