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Sensation and Perception


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2 theories of reasons for hearing loss
  • Cumulative effect of loud noise
  • Age-related changes in the cochlea
3 subtypes of people who are evaluated at pain centers
  • Dysfunctional
  • Interpersonally distressed
  • Adaptive copers
Absolute Threshold of Hearing
The tick of a watch at 20 feet
Absolute Threshold of Smell
One drop of perfume spread throughout a six-room apartment
Absolute Threshold of Taste
One teaspoon of sugar in two gallons of water
Absolute Threshold of Touch
A bee's wing falling on your cheek from a height of about half an inch
Absolute Threshold of Vision
A candle flame seen from 30 miles away on a clear, dark night
Absolute Threshold
the lowest level of stimulation that a person can detect
keenness of sense perception
Additive Color Mixing
mixing two different color beams of light

hammer to stirrup 

Color Constancy
tendency to see colors as we think they are rather than as we actually perceive them
Conductive hearing loss
Impairment of hearing due to failure of sound waves to reach the inner ear through the normal air conduction channels of the outer and middle ear
Photosensitive receptors in the retina that help you to see color
The clear, strong surface layer of the eye covering the iris and pupil
the person can match any given hue by mixing only two other wavelengths of light
Difference Threshold
the smallest change in stimulation that a person can detect
The condition of an eye with normal vision, meaning that light rays correctly are focused at the inner back of the eye (retina) where images are processed
Eustachian tube
a tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose; it equalizes the pressure between the middle ear and the air outside
Factors that influence taste
  • Temperature
  • Description or presentation
  • Smell
Feature Detector
A group of neurons that becomes active only if a particular feature is present in the sensory input
Five Basic Sensations of Taste
  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Salty  
  • Bitter
  • Umami
Frequency Theory
states that there are pulses that travel up the auditory nerve, carrying the information about sound to the brain for processing, and that the rate of this pulse matched the frequency of whatever tone you are hearing exactly
Gate control theory
proposes that a neural gate in the spinal cord can modulate incoming pain signals. The gate is opened and closed by messages from the brain
Gustav Fechner
  • Began psychophysics
  • Sensation the result of mental activity and physical experience
  • Proposed looking at stimulus magnitudes and relating them to sensation magnitude mathematically
a tiny bone that passes vibrations from the eardrum to the anvil
Also called farsightedness. Condition in which the length of the eye is too short, causing light rays to focus behind the retina rather than on it, resulting in blurred near vision
the ability to feel movements of the limbs and body
The nearly spherical body in the eye, located behind the cornea, that focuses light rays onto the retina
Method of Adjustment
asks the subject to control the level of the stimulus, instructs them to alter it until it is just barely detectable against the background noise, or is the same as the level of another stimulus
Method of Constant Stimuli
the levels of a certain property of the stimulus are not related from one trial to the next, but presented randomly
Method of Limits
The subject reports whether he or she detects the stimulus
Middle Ear
  • Hammer
  • Anvil
  • Stirrup
  • Eustachian Tube 
a person who is completely color-blind
Also called nearsightedness. Condition in which the length of the eye is too long, causing light rays to focus in front of the retina rather than on it, resulting in blurred distance vision
Opponent Process Theory
The human visual system processes these primary input into an opposing color system
Parallel Processing
The brain’s natural mode of information processing for many functions
Place Theory
perception of sound is based on frequency of vibrations along the basiliar membrane
Primer Pheromones
long-term effects
Production of focal points (acuity) affected by...
  • Distance of the object
  • Size of the pupil
  • Shape of the lens
  • Depth of the eyeball
A circular opening in the center of the iris through which light enters the eye
Relationship between Sensation and Perception
Sensation provides the raw information the perception constructs into our experiences
releaser pheromones
short-term effects
The sensory membrane that lines the eye
Photosensitive receptors in the retina that help you to see in low light
Selective Attention
The ability to attend to one stimulus from among a mass of competing stimuli
Semicircular Canals
the vestibular organs that sense rotational motion of the head
The senses receive communications from the environment
the ability to respond to physical stimuli or to register small physical amounts or differences
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
hearing loss caused by damage to the sensory cells and/or nerve fibers of the inner ear
Sensory Adaptation
a change in the responsiveness of the sensory system based on the average level of surrounding stimulation
Sensory Transduction
The process occurring within sensory receptors by which physical energy (stimulus) is converted into neural signals
Stimulus of Hearing
Sound Waves
Stimulus of Smell
Chemica substances that enter the nose
Stimulus of Taste
Chemical substances that contact the tongue
Stimulus of Touch
Movement of, or pressure on, the skin
Stimulus of Vision
Light Energy
a tiny, U-shaped bone that passes vibrations from the stirrup to the cochlea
Subliminal Persuasion
Claims are unsubstantiated by research and research that’s been conducted has had several methodological flaws
Subtractive Color Mixing
The process of mixing pigments to create new, darker colors that further reduce (subtract from) the reflection of light from the paper surface
The Retina contains...
Neurons and photoreceptors (rods and cones)
Three methods of experimental measurement used by Fechner and still used today
  1. limits
  2. constant stimuli
  3. adjustment
The technical name for RGB representation of color, ie, using red , green and blue to create all the colors in the spectrum
Vestibular Sacs
sends signals primarily to the neural structures that control our eye movements, and to the muscle that keep us upright
Visual Capture
visual perception dominates when visual cues and other sensory cues--auditory, proprioceptive, haptic, etc.--are in direct conflict
Weber's Law
The principle that, to perceive their difference, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage rather than constant amount
What determines the temperature we sense when we touch an object?
  • The surface conductivity of the object
  • The temperature of our body
  • Weight of an object

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