AP Psych: - Sensation and Perception Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Tympanic membrane
The eardrum.
Gustation
The sense of taste.
priming
the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing ones perception, memory, or response.
Subliminal stimuli
Stimuli below our absolute threshold.
Illusion
Stimulus patterns that cause the observer to form an incorrect perception of said pattern; become more likely when the stimulus is unclear, when information is missing, when elements are combined in unusually ways, or when familiar patterns are not apparent.
Loudness
A sensory characteristic of sound produced by the amplitude (intensity) of the sound wave; measured in decibels (dB).
Afterimages
Sensations that linger after the stimulus is removed; most are negative afterimages, which appear in reversed colors.
subliminal
below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.
Similarity
Objects that are similar in appearance are more likely to be perceived as belonging in the same group.
Place theory
An explanation of pitch perception that says that different places on the basilar membrane send neural codes for different pitches to the auditory cortex of the brain; accounts for high pitches (above 1000 Hz) only.
Frequency theory
An explanation of pitch perception that says that neurons on the basilar membrane respond with different firing rates for different sound wave frequencies; accounts for frequencies below 5000 Hz (between 1000 and 5000 Hz, hearing is based on both place and frequency).
Amplitude
The physical strength of a wave; usually measured from peak (top) to valley (bottom) on a graph of the wave; defined in units of sound pressure or energy.
Electromagnetic spectrum
The entire range of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves, X-rays, microwaves, and visible light.
Transduction
Transformation of one form of energy into another - especially the transformation of stimulus information into nerve signals by the sense organs.
cornea
outermost layer of eye; protects and bends light to provide focus
psychophysics
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of our stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them.
sensory adaptation
our diminishing sensitivity to an unchanging stimulus
perceptual set
a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not the other
Gate-control theory
Explains that some pain messages have a higher priority than others. When a higher priority message is sent, the gate swings open for it and swings shut for a low priority message, which we will not feel.
Interposition cue
A monocular cue for perceiving depth; objects that block the view to other objects are perceived as being closer to us.
Visual cliff experiment
Experiment conducted by Eleanor Gibson to determine when human infants can perceive depth; found that infants old enough to crawl will not crawl across a visual cliff, implying that the chid has depth perception.
Trichromatic theory
Hypothesizes that we have three types of cones in the retina: cones that detect the different colors blue, red, and green (the primary colors of light). These cones are activated in different combinations to produce all the colors of the visible spectrum.
Fovea
An indentation at the center of the retina that contains the highest concentration of cones.
Bipolar cells
Cells that collect impulses from many photoreceptors and shuttle them onto the ganglion cells.
Cochlea
The primary organ of hearing; a coiled tube in the inner ear, where sound waves are transduced into nerve messages.
Perceptual constancy
The ability to recognize the same object as remaining "constant" under different conditions, such as changes in illumination, distance, or location.
cochlear implant
a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea
optic nerve
the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain
sensory interaction
the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste
bottom-up processing
analysis that begin with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information.
middle ear
the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window
Oval window
A membrane very similar to the eardrum where vibrations are received from the ossicles; connected to the cochlea.
Optic chiasm
The spot where the nerves cross each other.
Relative size cue
A monocular cue for perceiving depth; objects that are larger appear to be closer to the observer.
Cones
Cells on the first layer of the retina that are activated by color.
Pailllae
The bumps on the tongue on which the taste buds are located.
Gestalt psychology
From a German word that means "whole" or "form" or "configuration;" believed that much of perception is shaped by innate factors built into the brain.
Laws of perceptual grouping
The Gestalt principles of similarity, proximity, continuity, and common fate. These "laws" suggest how our brains prefer to group stimulus elements together to form a percept (Gestalt).
Placebo effect
A response to a placebo (fake drug), caused by subjects' belief that they are taking real drugs.
Binding problem
Refers to the process used by the brain to combine (or "bind") the results of many sensory operations into a single percept. No one knows exactly how the brain does this - thus, it is one of the major unsolved mysteries in psychology.
the difference threshold
minimum difference a person can detect between any two stimuli half the time
Eardrum (tympanic membrane)
A thin membrane that vibrates as the sound waves from the ear canal hit it; connected to the ossicles.
Cocktail-party phenomenon
The effect in which one can hear one's own name being mentioned in a loud environment and when absorbed in a different conversation, supporting the concept that stimuli is more likely to be noticed if it is personally important to us.
Law of proximity
The Gestalt principle that we tend to group objects together when they are near each other (proximity means nearness).
conduction hearing loss
hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea
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