Unit 4 AP Psychology

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Sensation

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terms for unit 4 ap psych-- my school has a different unit set up so this may be unit 3 for some people

63 Terms

1

Sensation

the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment

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2

Perception

the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information

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3

bottom-up processing

analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information

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4

top-down processing

information processing guided by higher-level mental processes

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5

selective attention

the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus

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6

inattentional blindness

failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere

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7

change blindness

failing to notice changes in the environment

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8

Psychophysics

the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli

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9

absolute threshold

the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time

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10

signal detection theory

a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience

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11

subliminal

below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness

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12

Priming

the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response

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13

difference threshold

the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time

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14

Weber's Law

the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount)

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15

sensory adaptation

diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation

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16

Transduction

conversion of one form of energy into another.

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17

Wavelength

the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. These vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission

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18

hue

the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue

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19

Intensity

the amount of energy in a light or sound wave

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20

pupil

the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters

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21

Iris

a ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size of the pupil opening

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22

lens

the transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina

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23

Retina

the light-sensitive inner surface of the eye

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24

accommodation

the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina

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25

Rods

retinal receptors that detect black, grey, white

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26

Cones

retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. They detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations.

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optic nerve

the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain

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blind spot

the point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye

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29

Fovea

the central focal point in the retina

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30

feature detectors

nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus

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31

parallel processing

the processing of many aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain's natural mode of information processing for many functions

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32

Young-Helmholtz trichromatic (three-color) theory

the theory that the retina contains three different color receptors—one most sensitive to red

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33

opponent-process theory

the theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, yellow-blue, white-black) enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green

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34

audition

the sense or act of hearing

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35

Frequency

the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time

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36

pitch

a tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency

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middle ear

the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, stirrup)

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cochlea

a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses

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inner ear

the innermost part of the ear

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40

place theory

in hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochlea's membrane is stimulated

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frequency theory

in hearing, the theory that the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch

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42

conduction hearing loss

hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea

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sensorineural hearing loss

hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness

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44

cochlear implant

a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea

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45

kinesthesis

the system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts

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46

vestibular sense



the sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance

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47

gate-control theory

the theory that the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to the brain. The "gate" is opened by the activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain.

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48

sensory interaction

the principle that one sense may influence another

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49

Gestalt

an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes.

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50

figure-ground

the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundings (the ground).

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51

grouping

the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups

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52

depth perception

the ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance

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53

visual cliff

a laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals

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binocular cues

depth cues such as retinal disparity, that depend on the use of two eyes

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retinal disparity

a binocular cue for perceiving depth by comparing images from the retinas in the two eyes

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monocular cues

depth cues such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone

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phi phenomenon

an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession

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58

perceptual constancy

perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent lightness

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color constancy

perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color

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60

extrasensory perception (ESP)

the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input; includes telepathy

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61

parasychology

the study of paranormal phenomena

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62

perceptual adaptation

ability to adjust to an artificially displaced visual field

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63

perceptual set

a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another

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