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Chapter Three psych terms


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The processes by which our sense organs receive information from the environment
The process by which physical energy is converted into sensory neural impulses
The processes by which people select, organize, and interpret sensations
The study of the relationship between physical stimulation and subjective sensations
Absolute threshold
The smallest amout of stimulation that can be detected
Signal-Detection Theory
The theory that detecting a stimulus is jointly determined by the signal and the subject's response criterion
Just Noticable Difference (JND)
The smallest amount of change in a stimulus that can be detected
Weber's law
The principle that the JND of a stimulus is a constant proportion despite variations in intensity
determined by the length of a lightwave. Short waves are blueish, long waves are red
Amplitute or height of a lightwave causes this
Purity/ Saturation
A measure of the numbers of wavelengths that make up light. The fewer the wavelengths, the richer the color.
The clear outer membrane that bends light so that it is sharply focused in the eye
The ring of muscle tissue that gives eyes their color and controls the size of the pupil
The small round hole in the iris of the eye through which light passes
A transparent structure in the eye that focuses light on the retina.
The visual process by which lenses become rounded for viewing nearby objects and flatter for viewing remote objects.
The rear, multilayered part of the eye where rods and cones convert light into neural impulses
Rod-shaped photoreceptor cells in the retina that are highly sensitive to light
Cone-shapped photoreceptor cells in the retina that are sensitive to color
The center of the retina, where cones are clustered
Dark adaptation
A process of adjustment by which the eyes become more sensitive to light in a dark environment
Light adaptation
The process of adjustment by which the eyes become less sensitive to light in a bright environment
Optic Nerve
The pathway that carries visual information from the eyeball to the brain
Blind Spot
A part of the retina through which the optic nerve passes. Lacking rods and cones, this spot is not responsive to light
Receptive field
An area of the retina in which stimulation triggers a response in a cell within the visual system
Visual Cortex
Located in the back of the brain, it is the main information-processing center for visual information
Feature Detectors
Neurons in the visual cortex that respond to specific aspects of a visual stimulus (such as lines or angles)
Simple Cells
Feature detector cells that are activated by highly particular images.
Complex Cells
Feature detector cells that receive input from many simple cells. They specialize in certain types of images. React to any where in the visual field
Hypercomplex Cells
Feature detector cells that recieve input from complex cells and respond to stimulus patterns. the letter A
Trichromatic Theory
A theory of color vision stating that the retina contains three types of color receptors, for red, blue, and green, and that these combine to produce all colors.
A visual sensation that persists after prolonged exposure to and removal of a stimulus.
Opponent-process theory
The theory that color vision is derived from three pairs of opposing receptors. The opponent colors are blue and yellow, red and green, and black and white.
The sense of hearing
White noise
A hissing sound that results from a combination of all frequencies of the sound spectrum
Outer ear
The fleshy pinna, the auditory canal, and the eardrum
Middle ear
The hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup
Inner Ear
Oval window, cochlea, basilar membrane, auditory nerve
Auditory localization
The ability to judge the direction a sound is coming from.
Conduction Hearing loss
Hearing loss caused by damage to the eardrum or bones in the middle ear
Sensoineural hearing loss
Hearing loss caused by damage to the structures of the inner ear
Olfactory System
The structures responsible for the sense of smell
Chemicals secreted by animals that transmit signals-usually to other animals of the same species
Gustatory system
The structures responsible for the sense of taste
Taste buds
Nets of taste-receptor cells
Gate-Control Theory
The theory that the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals from the brain when flooded by competing signals.
Kinesthetic System
Teh structures distributed throughout the body that give us a sense of position and movement of body parts
Vestibular System
The inner ear and brain structures that give us a sense of equilibrium
A rare condition in which stimulation in one sensory modality triggers sensations in another sensory modality.
Reversable Figure
A drawing that one can percieve in different ways by reversing figure and ground
Gestalt Psychology
A school of thought rooted in the idea that the whole (perception) is different from the sum of its parts (sensation)
The closer objects are, the more likely they are to be grouped together
Objects that are similare in size, shape, color or any other fearture are more likely to be grouped together
People percieve contours of straight and curved lines as continuous flowing patterns
When there are gaps in a figure in a familiar form, people mentally close the gaps and perceive as a whole.
Common Fate
Groups of objects that move together, like schools of fish fall into this Gestalt Law of Grouping
Size Consistancy
The tendency to view an object as constant in size despite changes in the size of the retinal image
Shape Consistancy
The tendency to see an object as retaining its form despite changes in orientation
Depth Perception
The use of visual cues to estimate the depth and distance of objects
A binocular cue for depth perception involving the turning inward of the eyes as an object gets closer
Binocular Disparity
A binocular cue for depth perception whereby the closer an object is to a perceiver, the more different the image is in each retina
Monocular Depth cues
Distance cues, such as linear perspective, that enable us to percieve depth with one eye EX: Relative image size, texture gradient, linear perspective, interposition, atmospheric perspective, relative elevation, familiarity.
Visual cliff
An apparatus used to test depth perception in infants and animals
Perceptual set
The effects of prior experience and expectations on interpretations of sensory input.
Perceptual illusions
Patterns of sensory input that give rise to misperceptions
Muller-Lyer illusion
An illusion in which the pervcieved length of a line is altered by the position of other lines taht enclose it
Ponzo illusion
An illustration in which the perceived length of a line is affected by linear perspective cues
Moon illusions
The tendency for people to see the moon as larger when it's low on the horizon than when it is overhead
Extrasensory perception (ESP)
The alleged ability to percieve something without ordinary sensory information
The study of ESP and other claims that cannot be explained by existing principles of science

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