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Psychology 111


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Psychology defined
The scientific investigation of mental processes and behavior. Psychology reflects the influences of biological processes, individual differences, time, and culture.
4 goals of Psychology as a science:
Describe how people and animals behave.
Then understand and explain the causes of behavior.
Predict behaviors/reactions across situations.
Control behavior through understanding its causes and consequences. Example: changing the colors of patrol cars and fire engines so people can respond to them better.
Wilhelm Wundt
started the first laboratory in psychology in Leipzig, Germany in 1879. By studying consciousness, perceptions and sensation he founded a basis for psychology. He founded Structuralism.
a school of thought that taught people to use introspection to look at the conscious experience of people.
brought structuralism to the U.S.
William James
desired to know about the function of the body’s structures and so founded Functionalism.
Sigmund Freud
brought together the notion of the unconscious; people had wishes and impulses, many of which a sexual nature. He brought to life the notion of Ego, Id and Superego. [For test use Conscious, Unconscious and Preconscious] Conflict between society’s goals and the desires you’re trying to work through. Psychoanalysis was brought about by Freud
John Watson
founded a focus of Behaviorism to make Psychology more of a hard science, something observable which looked at measurable behaviors in people. Almost all nature. He had an early focus on animal research as he believed animals were easier to control and use for this purpose.
B.F. Skinner
a student of Watson and brought about reinforcement practices with his students.
Biological Perspective
Understanding the mind and behavior through biological processes in the brain; mind and body behavior can be linked by examining the electrical and chemical processes of neurons. This perspective is based on the notion that what our brain does impacts our behavior; certain parts of our brain are responsible for certain parts of our behavior. This is called localization of behavior, inspired by the brain-injury patient Phineaus Gage.
Psychodynamic perspective
comes out of the ideas of Freud and believes that there are conscious and unconscious forces which determine our behavior. Behavior is interplay between thoughts and feelings, and mental processes can conflict with each other.
Behaviorist perspective
looks at the environmental impact on a person’s actions. There are observable behavioral responses in people which can be honed by classical [learned association between two things] and operant [taught directly, reinforcements] conditioning. Behaviorists also have a social learning theory which states that reinforcements can be based on ideas too; “is exposure to TV violence encouraging violent behavior?”
Cognitive perspective:
One of the newest perspectives; observes the mental processes involved in knowing. It focuses on the storage and retrieval of information and believes that our minds are like computers
Evolutionary perspective
Understands not only physical things, but adaptive behavioral traits selected to ensure our survival. Personality traits, like what we do and who we are, are partially determined by evolution.
Humanistic perspectives
reject psychoanalysis as too pessimistic. These perspectives stress free will and strive to reach human potential; the “feel good” group.
Feminist perspectives
stress gender and the behavior of the sexes. Psychology has historically been a white-male-dominated field, and this venue is gaining popularity. Feminist psychology also focuses on such women’s issues as menstruation and menopause.
Sociocultural perspectives
identify social rules, roles and influences of groups on behavior. Looking at different societies and exploring the impact of cultural norms and values on behavior. Different cultural and social norms can affect how people behave, what they expect, and how they are treated.
Gestalt perspectives
look at the elements of experienced organized as a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts. The construct of insight, experiencing epiphanies [“a-ha!” moment], and looking at things holistically are Gestalt events.
Developmental Psychology
looks at change and growth over the entire lifespan. Identify issues like “senior citizens with some sense of control or responsibility live longer.”
Social Psychology
Looks at individual and group behaviors and responses across situations.
Experimental Psychology
Conduct lab studies of learning, motivation, emotion, sensation and perception, physiology and cognition.
Physiological Psychology
Looks at genetic influences and factors that impact our behavior. Observe brain chemistry, nervous system and the regulation of behavior
Cognitive Psychology
Explore higher level mental processes like memory, reasoning, information processing and creativity. “What do you know, how do you know you know that?”
Personality Psychology
Define, describe, and measure the stability of behaviors and personality traits over time
Psychometrics Psychology
Looks at the measurement of behavior through the development o psychological tests. “What are good tests? How can we rely on them? Do what they achieve what they are designed for? What do tests show us?”
Applied Psychology
clinical psychologists, counceing psychologists, school/educational psychologists, and industrial/orginizational psuchology.
clinical psychologists
diagnose and treat emotional problems.
Counseling psychologists
deal with problems of everyday life and transitions.
School and educational psychologist
enhance school performance and resolve emotional problems by meeting with students and staff.
psychologists staff human service departments in business, working on issues of morale, job satisfaction and productivity issues.
Weitan’s seven organizing themes
Empirical basis of observation and tests. [Empirical=observable] Once ideas are observed and knowledge is acquired, the ideas need to be tested. Psychology is Theoretically diverse; several theories can explain the same type of behavior. Sociohistorical context impacts theory and practice; there are trends and psychology influenced by time. Psychology is determined by multiple causes; motivation, genetic factors, situations in life; who we are and why we do certain things. Psychology is shaped by cultural heritage. People are influenced by heredity and environment; how much does biology predetermine who we are what we’re going to be. We are an integration of nature and nurture. Experiences are subjective.
Systematic way of organizing and understanding observations. Shaping a belief based on everything you’ve observed.
A proposed relationship between two variables
Anything which can be measured or described along a particular dimension.
Continuous variable
A variable that can be measured across a continuum; weight, height.
categorical variable
Fixed meaning or attribute; gender, marital status.
Operationalize definitions
Label and describe what the variable of interest is; “What is aggression? How will it be measured?” Ex; every time a specific behavior occurs, that must be categorized under strict conditions and leave no room for misinterpretation.
Research Methods Five Step Process
1)Develop a theory based on observations
2)Develop a hypothesis from the theory
3)Design a research study
4)Gather the data
5)Analyze the data and report findings. Both positive and negative findings must be reported, even if the findings don’t support the hypothesis.
Does it measure what it is supposed to measure? [Ex; no misleading motivations]
Do you get consistent results over time?
Direct observation
has made recording situations with the most detail and data possible. Ex; videotaping behavior, charting growth.
designed for the subjects to understand.
let you enrich the data. However, they are hard to compare in a standardized manner and use in a scientific manner.
Psychological Tests
Good validity and reliability
Physiological Recordings
Heart rate, blood pressure, salvation
Examination of Historical Records
Transcripts, psychological records, etc
Experimental Method
is a systematic observation in variables of interest. If you change one variable, will it produce a change in another variable?
Independent variables
are the variables which are manipulated by the experimenter. [X-axis]
Dependent Variables
are what you measure to see if there is any change in response to the manipulations. [Y-axis]
Ideally, they are a random sample which represents the population as a whole
Sampling bias
Skewed samples will give results which don’t generalize. If an entire group of people were taken from similar age, geographical, or interest groups, there would be a bias which would invalidate the study.
Experimental group
Receive the special treatment in the experiment.
Control Group
Receive all the same treatment except the independent variable to assess its impact.
Extraneous variables
A variable other than the IV which can impact the results: Time of day, lighting
Confounding of variables
interacts making it difficult to know the true impact of the IV; when participants in one group are inadvertently different from participants in another group. [The sample needs to be randomized.]
Placebo Effect
Expectancies can impact subjective experiences. [Mind-body connection]
Demand Characteristics:
Subjects may behave in ways they think are expected of them. Some people want to be “good subjects” rather than act naturally.
Social Desirability
Subjects often give answers which are “correct” or “appropriate” and not necessarily true. You might say you’ll do something, but it might not be true because you don’t want to accept/admit that.
The ability to reasonably apply the results to other similar populations.
Response Set
Consistency in answers reflective of a patterned response.
Experimenter Bias
Research expectations may impact the interpretation of results.
Single-Blind Studies
Controls for subject bias by limiting their knowledge
Double-Blind Studies
Controls for subject and experimenter bias with limited knowledge for both. [The best control]
Descriptive/Correlational Studies
Look at patterns of behavior across conditions. These studies link variables which show consistent patterns of relationships.
Case Study
In-depth study of an individual or small group. Case studies provide systematic observations, limited Generalizability, and are susceptible to researcher bias. Though you get some ideas and insights on an issue, these are so personal that they are hard to generalize since the same researcher would lead the entire study.
Naturalistic Observation
looks at behavior in a natural environment. Naturalistic observation reports observations, and can describe but not explain behavior.
Survey Method
Large sample sizes are possible, questionnaires can save times, and quick interviews can be performed. However, there is a possibility for response bias, especially because how questions are asked can skew responses.
Correlational Studies
explore the relationship between two variables using a numerical value. The scale ranges from -1, 0, +1 where -1 is a strong negative relationship, +1 is a strong positive relationship, and 0 indicates no relationship. Correlations do not indicate causes.
Group scores added and divided by the number of scores
The score which falls exactly in the middle of the scores
The most frequently occurring score
Standard Deviation
How much individual scores vary (the standard deviation is the less typical the mean)
Ethical Issues in Research
*Subject participation is voluntary
*Based on informed consent; patients should know details about study
*Free to withdraw at any time
*Not exposed to harmful/dangerous procedures
*Deception requires debriefing. Must be justifiable and useful to know
*Rights to privacy respected at all times
IRB Review
is necessary for all research. Reports to the review must be full and accurate. Raw data shared when requested, and retractions of the data must be made if error found in subsequent studies. Otherwise, people might use falsified data provided by your experiment and hurt others because of that.
Animals in research
Harmful or painful procedures must be justified. The animals must be entitled to decent living conditions, and the subject must be submitted to the review process.
The Nervous System
is the body’s electrochemical communication system
Central Nervous System (CNS)
is your brain and spinal cord, which contain 99% of all your body’s neurons. Functions include: receiving, processing, and storing incoming information; sends out messages to muscles, glands and internal organs. The CNS is the central command system which controls thought and movement.
Lesion method
damage or remove a section of the brain and observe the effects on the subject.
Electrode method (EEG)
detect electrical activity of neurons; look at brain waves across events.
CT scans
Multiple X-Rays of successive slices of the brain. Looks at brain structure. [computerized topography.]
PET scans [positron emission topography]
Records biochemical changes in the brain as they occur and looks at brain function.
Uses magnetic fields and radio frequencies which produce vibrations that are picked up by receivers
FMRI (functional MRI)
assess blood oxygen flow in positive activity level; these are able to look at both structure and function
Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
is the nervous system outside the human brain and spinal cord which hands input and output to the CNS. It connects the brain and spinal cord to the other areas of the body.
are individual cells which receive, integrate and transmit information. Neurons are the nerve cells which communicate to, from or inside the CNS.
Sensory or Afferent Neurons
carry information to the brain from the skin, muscles or organs.
Motor of Efferent Neurons
carry the brain’s output to muscles, glands and organs.
CNS neurons that mediate sensory input and motor input.
Glial Cells
hold the neurons in place, nourish and insulate neurons; non-neuron cells which provide a supportive function
receive messages from the other neurons and transmit these messages to the cell body
Soma/Cell Body
keeps the neurons alive; contains substances for growth, determines when to fire.
transmit messages away from the cell body to other neurons, muscles or glands. The Axon ends in Terminal Buttons and are insulated by the Myelin Sheath which helps the nerve impulse travel faster.
are the gaps between the neurons-often between the axon of one neuron and the dendrite or cell body of another.
Resting Potential of Neurons
a neuron at its stable negative charge when it is inactive
Action Potential of Neurons
when a nerve is stimulated, an electrical impulse occurs and moves down the axon to the end of the axon’s terminal tip. The synaptic vesicles then release neurotransmitters which then bind with a dendrite receptor site. This can excite or inhibit the firing of the receiving neuron.
Absolute Refractory Period of Neurons
minimum amount of time during which another action potential cannot begin. [“Neuron Sex recharge; just like when guys fire, they have to wait awhile until they can do it again.” –Schreier]
chemical substances which carry information across the synaptic gap to the next neuron. Each neurotransmitter binds to a particular receptor site. Neurotransmitters affect much behavior and many functions. Various estimates from 10-15/100
Excitatory neurotransmitters
increase the likelihood it will fire an action potential
Inhibitory neurotransmitters
decreases the likelihood of an action potential.
is involved in sleep, mood, depression, OCD.
is involved in learning, memory, and pleasurable emotion. High levels of dopamine are associated with schizophrenia; low levels with Parkinson’s disease.
governs muscle action, memory and attention. It is associated with emotion and cognition; some ACh receptors are stimulated by nicotine.
is involved with learning, memory and emotion. It can excite heart muscles, intestines and the urogenital tract. Norepinephrine is involved in alertness and wakefulness.
GABA (gamma amino butyric acid)
is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Low levels are linked with anxiety, so anti-anxiety drugs increase the inhibitory effects of GABA.
are the Brain’s natural opiates. They produce effects of reducing pain and promoting pleasure. Endorphin levels increase during stress or fear response which give an evolutionary advantage (during childbirth, exercise)
are the chemical messengers manufactured in the endocrine glands and released into the blood stream. Some may be classified as neurotransmitters. A few of particular interest: Melatonin, which regulates biological rhythm and sleep; adrenal hormones, which are involved in emotions and stress; and Epinephrine and Norepinephrine which stimulate the sympathetic nervous system.
Gonadotropins/sex hormones
occurs in both sexes. Androgens are masculinizing and estrogens are feminizing. Both impact brain functioning and early development.
Somatic Nervous System (skeletal nervous system)
are sensory nerves that relay information from the skin and muscles to the CNS about pain, temperature, and informs muscles when to act.
Parasympathetic Nervous System (Autonomic nervous system)
fight or flight response, works automatically, takes messages to and from the body’s internal organs monitoring breathing, heart rate and digestion.
Two parts to the Autonomic nervous system
The sympathetic nervous system and The parasympathetic nervous system
The sympathetic nervous system
which mobilizes the body for action, stops digestion, increases oxygen to the blood for muscle responses, increases heart rate, dilates pupils, dry mouth, goose bumps.
The parasympathetic nervous system
slows action down and conserves bodily resources.
An entire cortex from one of the hemispheres is removed to reduce the chaos in a brain and allow people to function. The brain’s tremendous ability to adapt can eventually [more so at a young age] correct abilities that removed cortexes were previously responsible for. Normal brains change in response to the environment, during development, and across the lifespan.
Lymbic system
preservation of self, deals with our feeling tones, deals with the generation and retrieval of memory.
The brain stem turns into the spinal cord
it has the most to do with regulating our conscious states. The left hemisphere contains the brain’s speech centers, processes language, and does math. The right side of the brain deals with visual processing, facial recognition, and art appreciation. Emotions and other issues do exist in both hemispheres. A great way to see which hemisphere is active in image recognition is by staring at the middle of a screen and trying to determine on which side of the screen do images appear.
Brain structure
can provide examples to function; Larger visual cortexes are associated with stronger and more powerful visual skills. [In blind people, this part of the brain shrinks.]
Hindbrain Contents
Medulla, Pons, and Cerebellum
helps regulate our balance and coordination of muscle movement. It also helps analyze sensory information. Remembering simple skills; the cerebellum is one of the first parts of your brain affected by alcohol. Tests such as reciting the alphabet and touching your fingers to your nose when drunk are performed because you can’t do these properly when your cerebellum is depressed
attaches to the spinal cord. It regulates your automatic functions; circulation, breathing, muscle tone, and certain reflexes like sneezing and salivating. The medulla is important for critical functioning. If it is destroyed, we can’t survive.
helps regulate sleeping, waking and dreaming
Reticular formation modulates muscle reflexes. Damage to reticular formation often results in a coma. It is responsible for some of our pain perception. The midbrain is also active in the states of arousal and helps to process senses.
Forebrain Contents
Thalamus, Hypothalamus, Pituitary Gland, Limbic System, Amygdala, Hippocampus, Septal Area, Cerebrum,
is our relay center for our cortex; it relays motor impulses from our brain to our muscles. The thalamus helps direct incoming sensory messages to higher centers.
is associated with our drives; hunger, thirst, emotion, sex and reproduction. The hypothalamus also helps to regulate your body temperature and the autonomic nervous system. Four F’s: Fighting, fleeing, feeding, and …mating.
Pituitary Gland
gland that governs growth hormones and the Limbic System
Limbic System
Behavioral and emotional responses to taste. There is transduction in two areas: the thalamus or the primary gustatory cortex (to identify tastes). Humans have about 9,000 taste buds. Newborns prefer sweet to sour or bitter, and taste preferences are largely learned and subject to cultural influences
evaluates sensory information to determine its importance. It also seems to be responsible for mediating depression and anxiety. Learning and remembering significant emotional events is also associated with the amygdala.
is the significant part of the limbic system; it is nicknamed the “gateway to memory [and learning].” People with damage to this part of the brain are not able to form new memories.
is the largest and most complex part of the brain. It is divided into two halves or hemispheres and connected by a band of fibers called the corpus callosum. The cerebrum is divided into four parts called lobes.
right hemisphere
in charge of the left side of the body [and art appreciation, music, creativity]
left hemisphere
in charge of the right side of the body [and language, math, reasoning].
Occipital Lobe
contains the visual cortex
Parietal Lobe
is sometimes called the somatosensory cortex; receives information about pressure, pain, touch and temperature
Temporal Lobe
is involved in memory, perception and emotion. It contains the auditory cortex and “Wernicke’s Area” which is involved in language comprehension [understanding words. If damaged: you can speak but can’t understand what you’re saying].
Frontal Lobe
contains the motor cortex, responsible for making plans, initiative, creativity, and contains “Broca’s Area” which is involved in speech production [damaged: you can understand words but can’t speak them].
Prefrontal lobe [Cortex]
involved in personality, decision making, social judgment, goal seeking, and sequencing. Damage results in flattening of emotions and feelings.
Left Brain dominance
: touch and movement of the right side; vision in the right half of the visual field, production and comprehension of speech, reading ability and mathematical ability.
Right Brain dominance
touch and movement on the left side, vision in the left half of the visual field, visual and spatial ability, map reading, art and music appreciation and analysis of nonverbal sounds.
Split brain surgery
refers to the surgery in which the corpus callosum is severed. This is often performed as a treatment for those with severe seizure disorders. This is based on Sperry’s earlier research. Much split-brain research is done by Gazzinaga, Sperry and Bogen.
Behavioral genetics
are the influence of genetic traits on behavior
are hereditary material found in the nuclei of all cells. Each chromosome is made up of a number of genes which contain DNA. At fertilization a sperm and egg each have 23 chromosomes when they join and form a zygote which contains 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs.
signal cells to produce and behave a certain way
Homozygous genes
are two genes in a pair that are the same
Heterozygous genes
are the two genes in a pair that are different
Recessive genes
are masked when paired with a dominant gene
Dominant genes
are expressed when a pair of genes is different [or⬦always].
genetic make-up or structure of the organism
observable or expressed characteristics of an organism. [Doesn’t always express genotype; dominant-recessive would only show up as dominant.]
Polygenic Inheritance
many traits are determined by a combination of gene pairs
Multifactorial Transmission
looks at what environmental factors interact with genetic factors to produce traits.
Twin Studies
About 1 in 50 born are twins; the number is increasing due to maternity drugs and the increase of reproductive age of mothers thanks to modern medicine. Twins are great research opportunities; twins reared apart are even more valuable.
stimulus detection process where our sense organs respond to and translate stimuli into nerve impulses sent to the brain.
active process of organizing stimulus input and giving it meaning. The same input can be perceived differently depending on the contextual cues around the stimulus.
Stimulus Detection
How intense does a stimulus need to be for us to recognize its presence?
Absolute Threshold
The lowest intensity at which a stimulus can be detected at least 50% of the time.
Taste Threshold
1 tsp sugar in 2 gallons of H20
Smell Threshold
1 drop of perfume in 6(3) room apartment
Touch Threshold
Wing of bee on cheek dropped from 1 cm
Signal Detection Theory
Various factors influence our sensory judgment; often involves a process of decisions in addition to sensation
Difference Threshold
The smallest difference between two stimuli that people can perceive 50% of the time.
Weber’s Law
The difference threshold is directly proportional to the magnitude of the stimulus to which the comparison is being made. Ex: value for weight is 1/50 [don’t need to know].
Just Noticeable Difference
the smallest difference in which you can detect a difference threshold.
Sensory Adaptation/Habituation
over time neurons decrease activity in response to a constant stimulus.
The normal stimulus for vision is electromagnetic energy or light waves.
Light waves are measured in nanometers.
Our visual system is sensitive to wavelengths extending from ~700 nanometers (red) to ~400 nanometers (blue-violet)
Roy G. Biv
red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet [color spectrum]
Human Eye Contents
cornea, pupil, lense, iris, retina, optic disk,
Light waves enter the eye from the Cornea.
Behind the cornea is the Pupil, an opening that adjusts to control the amount of light that enters the eye
The pupil’s size is controlled by muscles in the colored iris that surrounds the pupil [also triggered by the sympathetic nervous system; dialation].
Behind the pupil is the lens, which becomes thinner to focus on distant objects and thicker to focus on nearby objects. The lens focuses on images onto the retina
The lens focuses on images onto the retina, reversing the image from right to left and from top to bottom; the brain reconstructs it into the image we perceive. The retina contains specialized sensory neurons. Contains rods and cones
optic disk
The optic disk is a hole in the retina; it yields a blind spot which we don’t experience as a “hole” as each eye compensates for the blind spot on the other.
Function best in dim light, primarily black/white brightness receptors, more sensitive to light than cones, and have no color sensation. [Ex; owls have only rods]
function best in bright light, serve as color receptors
: how the stimulus converts into nerve impulses. Rods and cones translate light waves into nerve impulses which pass through the retina. These impulses pass through the optic disk and carry visual information to the brain. They pass through the optic chiasm
optic chiasm
, the point which the optic nerves from each eye cross over and pass information to the opposite side of the brain.
Color Vision
wavelengths [nm] picked up by short, medium, and long-length cones
commonly what is meant by color
How diluted an image is by black or white.
Tri-chromatic Theory
Three types of color receptors in the retina; individual cones are more sensitive to red, blue or green. This couldn’t explain afterimages
Opponent-Process Theory
Each type of cone responds to two different wavelengths; red/green; blue/yellow; black/white
Dual-Process Theory
Trichromatic theory fits for cones; opponent processes for higher visual processing at the brain. Infants are born with a functional/intact visual system; visual accommodation is not well developed. They focus on high contrast images and show a preference for [pretty] faces.
The number of sound waves that cycle per second. Most common sounds are in lower frequencies
The stimuli for hearing are sound waves
The quality of a tone from low to high, the number of times particles oscillate per second.
The height/depth of a wave; corresponds with loudness; the greater the amplitude, the lower the sound.
the wave purity or mixture of sound
The Ear
Sound waves travel into an auditory canal leading to the ear drum; a moveable membrane which vibrates in response to sound waves. The ear drum leads to the middle ear. When the eardrum vibrates, it sets in motion the hammer, anvil and stirrups which amplify the sound waves >30 times.
auditory canal
Sound enters the ear and passes through the auditory canal to the inner ear or the cochlea
the inner ear or the cochlea which is a fluid-filled tunnel has tiny hairs or cilia which are the sound receptors.
basilar membrane
The basilar membrane holds the auditory receptors
Frequency Theory
Nerve impulses sent to the brain match the frequency of sound waves.
Place Theory
the specific point in the cochlea where the fluid wave peaks serve as a coding cue and different areas of the basilar membrane are maximally sensitive to different frequencies.
Development of hearing
research indicates the fetus can hear 3 months prior to birth. Newborns have been shown to recognize books and voices and respond differentially to familiar voices and music
are chemical signals which are found in natural body scents in humans and other species. *menstrual synchrony*
how many olfactory reseptors to humans have?
about 40 million olfactory receptors (dogs about 1 billion, 25 fold).
Four basic qualities of taste
Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter. Also, smell, temperature and texture affect taste. [Umami-sweet, poignant, meaty, yummy. ****BONUS!!! WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE POSSIBLE NEW TEST SENSATION? UMAMI!!!!!****]
Taste Buds/receptors
are on the edges and along the back surface of the tongue. [Regenerate every 10 days]
Pressure/ temperature/pain
Pain tolerance is individual; temperature has both warm and cold sensory receptors. The lack of touch [not being held] can cause dire developmental consequences. Babies that are held more show better brain development.
sensation of space, motion. The body’s way of giving feedback about our muscle and joint position; gives us a sense of coordinated movement
in the inner ear, helps with balance and maintaining our equilibrium in space.
Perceptual Schemas
Mental representations or images for comparisons
Form Perception
Organization of sensations into meaningful shapes and patterns
Gestalt Principles
Viewing/perceiving a coherent whole based on prior experience
Elements that are close to one another tend to be grouped together [we look for patterns rather than just see a random picture].
Viewers tend to supply missing elements to close or complete a familiar figure. Broken lines which form the general figure of a wolf will be perceived as a picture of a wolf [or a cat; whatever people are most familiar with]. People “fill in” the missing lines.
Elements that are similar tend to be grouped together. Whatever stands out in a group and helps to organize itself will be noticed.
Viewers tend to organize elements in the simplest way possible. A shaded rectangle on top of a triangle will be broken up and viewed as such rather than be seen as a whole 11-sided figure.
People tend to see elements in ways that go along a smooth continuation. We follow continuous patterns rather than diverge and sidetrack when viewing an object or situation, even if sidetracking will help us see the bigger picture.
Aspects of attention that are relevant to perception
*We focus on certain stimuli [that stand out]
*We filter out other incoming information [that might not be as important]
Various factors impact attention (Advertisers)
*Novelty [something new/original]
Perceptual Constancy
objects appear to be relatively stable despite changes in the stimulation of sensory receptors [Pygmi thinking buffalo as “toys”].
Perceptual Set
Readiness to perceive stimuli in a particular way
Size Constancy
Objects do not appear to change in size when viewed from different distances
Depth Perception
The retina receives information in 2 dimensions, length and width. The brain translates this into 3 dimensions by using binocular vision [both eyes]
Binocular Depth clues
[disparity] are the basis for perception of depth and use both eyes in a slightly different way.
Retinal Disparity
Objects project images to different locations on the right and left retina which give a different view of the object. The closer an item gets, the greater the disparity between the images on the eyes.
Visual cliff
Do we develop depth perception or are we born with it? [Babies crawling off glass where one side is painted to look solid and the other side is clear to appear invisible; would the baby “crawl off” the cliff?]
The awareness of internal and external stimuli
4 types
-Awareness of external events
-Awareness of internal sensations
-Awareness of oneself as unique to experiences
-Awareness of thoughts about experiences
Subliminal Perception
be unaware of things and have them still have an impact?
James Vicary
“Drink coke and Eat Popcorn” [subliminal message in a movie; claims were made that this raised popcorn sales by 58%. This was a false claim and subliminal messages in commercials have that much impact. There are positive results about subliminal messages, but they are weak.]
Krosnick study
Subliminal messages may shape attitudes without conscious awareness.
Freud and Consciousness:
(Three levels of consciousness)
Conscious, Preconscious, and Unconscious
Mental events that we are aware of. Our sensations and perceptions
Mental events that can be brought to our awareness. “What is the name of your kindergarten teacher?” You might not remember this every second of the day but it is a preconscious memory that can be inspired to be remembered.
Mental events inaccessible to our awareness.
Circadian Cycles
-Most Individuals run on a 24 hour cycle
-Almost all are set for sleep at night
-Night time sleepiness: 2am-6am peak [Most car accidents when people fall asleep are here; this is the general time where people’s bodies are encouraged to fall asleep.]
-Siesta zone: 1-4 pm [People are hardwired to nap during this time. Just 15-20 MINUTES WOULD BE RESTORATIVE!!!
-Programmed for naps
Sleeping and Dreaming [Functions]
-Sleep is a time of memory consolidation
-Energy conservation
-Helps restore bodily functions
-Deprivation can affect immune functions, lead to hallucinations and perceptual disorders, become less alert and attentive, more irritable, ability to perform simple tasks
-Non REM [Rapid Eye Movement] Sleep
Stage 1: light sleep, small irregular brain waves, muscles relax
Stage 2: high peaking waves, sleep spindles, burst of electrical activity
Stage 3: Deep sleep, delta waves, slow with high peaks
Stage 4: Progressively more Delta Waves [deep sleep]
Sleep cycle
1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, REM sleep then repeat
REM Sleep
Active brainwaves, increased heart rate and blood pressure, limp muscle state. 80% of REM is dream sleep. REM sleep alternates on 90 minute cycles.
Developmental Issues with Sleep
-Newborns and infants: 50% of sleep is REM
-By age 3-5 it is more like 20% of overall sleep which is more similar to the adult level
-Infants appear to be hardwired for more REM sleep
-Adolescents have another shift in sleep patterns and sleep needs
-They sleep less but need more sleep
-Leads to decreased levels of productivity
-College students fit this pattern
-Middle age brings a shift in sleep patterns
-Much explained by hormonal changes and alternations in the environment
-The elderly are most commonly impacted by changes in sleep patterns, alterations in sleep cycles.
-Biological, psychological and social reasons: spend more time in bed, take longer to fall asleep, awake more in the night, sleep is less efficient: Increase in stage 1 and decrease in stage 4 sleep.
Sleep Apnea
A “lack of breath” while sleeping; disrupts sleep patterns. There are 3 types identified but Obstructive Apnea is the most common and severe. The muscles at the back of the throat relax obstructing the airway, breathing can actually stop causing awakenings. Related to age and obesity, more common in men.
Falling asleep suddenly or “sleep attacks” which can occur at any time, and last a few seconds or 30 minutes. Symptoms appear between puberty and age 25.
, or sudden loss of muscle control, is often characteristic. Narcoleptic people may experience sleep paralysis, and may be accompanied by vivid dream-like images. 1 in 2000 people has narcolepsy.
Over half of Americans report it at some time in their lives.
Transient insomnia
Lasts only a few nights, often due to anxiety or excitement
Short-term insomnia
poor sleeping for 2-3 weeks caused by ongoing stressors as well as medical problems
Chronic insomnia
underlying medical or behavioral issues, does have a genetic component as it runs in families
Ways to combat insomnia
-Exercise during the day
-Don’t use your bed for anything besides sleep (or bed related activities)
-Don’t drink caffeinated products before bed
-If you can’t sleep, get up and then come back later and try again
causes people, usually children to take nocturnal trips they don’t remember but can navigate quite well. Temporary sleep mechanism malfunctions during the deeper stages of sleep. It can run in families, and often abates by puberty.
Sleep talking
Can range from one word to a soliloquy [whole stories while asleep]. No memory of the conversation, usually short term, and is sometimes because of stress or illness.
Sleep Terror
-Sudden awakening with physical behavior associated with intense fear
-Screaming, fighting, trying to escape appear
-Episodes last about 15 minutes
-Person returns to sleep, unable to recall in the morning
-More common in childhood
-Parental reassurance is only treatment
REM Movement Disorder
-Usually in sleep the paralysis which normally occurs does not function and a person actually acts out his dream
-Most common in older men and may result in violent behavior
-Unlike those who experience sleep terrors, these people will remember their vivid dreams
-Treated with medication
Interpretation of Dreams
-Freud suggested the need to associate to the manifest content (surface level) of the dream to understand the latent content (hidden meaning, wishes, fears or impulses trying to be expressed)
-Common “Interpretations” of dreams appear in books and are used by dream analysts.
systematic procedure that provides heightened sense of suggestibility

Deck Info