Psychology: Sensation and Perception

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136 Terms

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Sensation

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

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Perception

Process by which the brain organizes and interprets sensory information, transforming it into meaningful objects and events

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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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Top-down processing

-Information processing guided by higher-level mental processes

-Draws on one’s experiences and expectations

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Basic steps to the Sensory Systems

Receive sensory stimulation

Transform the stimulation into neural impulses

Deliver the neural information to the brain

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Absolute Threshold

Minimum stimulus energy needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time

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Subliminal

Below an individual’s absolute threshold for conscious awareness

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Difference Threshold

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

-Individuals experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference (or jnd).

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Weber’s law

Principle that two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage to be perceived as different

-Exact percentage differs based on the stimulus.

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priming

Researchers use _______ to activate unconscious associations.

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stimulus

Individuals can evaluate a ________, even when they are not consciously aware of it.

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subliminal sensations

Individuals can be affected by ________ ________

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subliminal sensations

Stimuli that are so weak that people do not consciously notice them

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Sensory Adaptation

-Reduced sensitivity in response to constant stimulation

-Helps focus on informative changes in the environment without being distracted by background chatter

-Influences perceptions of emotions

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Perceptual Set

Mental predisposition to perceive one thing, rather than another

-Affects what an individual sees, hears, tastes, and feels

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Context, Motivation, and Emotion

  • Affect interpretations of a situation

  • Context creates expectations that influence individual perception.

  • Motives provide energy to work toward a goal.

    • Can cause bias in interpreting neural stimuli

    • Experiences, assumptions, and expectations can shape and color views of reality via top-down processing.

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Wavelengths

___________ visible to the human eye extend from the shorter waves of blue-violet light to the longer waves of red light.

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Wavelength

Distance from the peak of one light wave to the peak of the next

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Hue

Dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light

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Intensity

Amount of energy in a light wave

  • Influences what individuals perceive as brightness or loudness

  • Determined by the wave’s amplitude or height

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short wavelength (bluish colors)

high frequency (high-pitched sounds)

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great amplitude

bright colors; loud sounds

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long wavelength (reddish colors)

low frequency (low-pitched sounds)

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small amplitude

dull colors; quiet sounds

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iris

controls the amount of light entering the eye

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lens; pupil

light hits the ____ in the eye after passing through the _____

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Fovea

point of central focus

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retina

light-sensitive inner surface of the eye

contains:

receptor rods and cones

layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information

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rods

detect black, white, and grey

necessary for peripheral and twilight visions, when cones do not respond

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cones

detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations in daylight and well-lit conditions

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optic nerve

carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain

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blind spot

point where the optic nerve leaves the eye and has no receptor cells

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6 million

how many cones are there

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120 million

how many rods are there

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center

where are the cones located in the retina

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periphery

where are the rods located in the retina

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low

what is light sensitivity like in dim light for the cones

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high

what is light sensitivity in dim light for the rods

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high

what is color sensitivity like for the cones

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low

what is color sensitivity like for the rods

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high

what is detail sensitivity like for the cones

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low

what is detail sensitivity like for the rods

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Young-Helmholtz trichromatic theory

-The retina contains three different types of color receptors—red, green, and blue.

-When stimulated in combination, these receptors can produce the perception of any color.

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opponent-process theory

-Opposing retinal processes enable color vision.

-Opposing retinal processes include red-green, yellow-blue, and white-black.

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color processing

-combines the trichromatic theory and the opponent-processing theory and occurs in two stages.

-The retina’s red, green, and blue cones respond in varying degrees to different color stimuli.

-The cones’ responses are processed by opponent-process cells.

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Feature Detectors

-Nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of a stimulus

-Include shape, angles, or movement

-Pass scene-specific information to other cortical areas, where more complex patterns are interpreted

-One temporal lobe area by the right ear enables a person to perceive faces.

-A specialized neural network helps recognize faces from many viewpoints.

0Interaction between feature detectors and supercells provides instant analyses of objects in the world around people.

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Parallel Processing

-Processing many aspects of a problem or scene at the same time

-Brain’s natural mode of information processing for many functions, including vision

-Damage to neural workstations due to a stroke may render a person unable to perceive movement.

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visual information processing

scene→retinal processing→feature detection→parallel processing→recognition

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Gestalt

-Refers to an organized whole

-these psychologists emphasized the human tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes.

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perceptual organization

-The human brain registers information about the world, filters incoming information, and constructs perceptions.

-Principles in perceptual organization:

-Form perception

-Depth perception

-Perceptual constancy

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figure-ground

Organization of the visual field into objects that stand out from their surroundings

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grouping

The perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into meaningful groups

-Proximity

-Continuity

-Closure

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depth perception

-Ability to see objects in three dimensions, although images that strike the retina are two-dimensional

-Allows people to judge distance

-Partly innate in other animals

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Visual Cliff

-Devised by Eleanor Gibson and Richard Walk

-Laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals

-Most infants refuse to crawl across the visual cliff.

-Crawling, no matter when it begins, seems to increase an infant's fear of heights.

-Miniature cliff with a glass-covered drop-off

-Helps determine whether crawling infants and newborn animals can perceive depth

-Even when coaxed, infants refuse to climb onto the glass over the cliff.

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Binocular Cue

Depends on the use of two eyes

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retinal disparity

The calculation of distance by the brain by comparing images from both eyes

-Used by 3-D film makers

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monocular cue

Cue available to each eye separately

-Includes relative height, relative size, interposition, relative motion, linear perspective, and light and shadow

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motion perception

-The human brain computes motion based partly on its assumption that:

-Shrinking objects are moving away

-Enlarging objects are approaching

-Humans are imperfect at motion perception.

-When large and small objects move at the same speed, the large objects appear to move more slowly.

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perceptual constancy

Perceiving objects as unchanging, even as illumination and retinal images change

-Objects have consistent color, brightness, shape, and size.

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color constancy

Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object

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shape constancy

perception that the form of a familiar object is constant, even when retinas receive changing images of them

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size constancy

perception that objects have a constant size, even when one’s distance from them varies

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the moon illusion

-the moon looks up to 50 percent larger when near the horizon than when high in the sky

-monocular cues to an object’s distance make the horizon Moon appear farther away

-if it’s farther away, the brain assumes that it must be larger than the Moon high in the night sky

-when the distance cues are taken away, the object will immediately shrink

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perceptual interpretation

-according to Immanuel Kant, human beings have the innate ability to process sensory information

-John Locke argues that individuals also learn to perceive the world through their experiences

-learn to link an object’s distance with it’s size

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experience and visual perception

-research findings

-the effect of sensory restriction on infant cats, monkeys, and humans suggests that there is a critical period for normal sensory and perceptual development

-in humans and other animals, sensory restrictions do not cause permanent harm later in life

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perceptual adaptation

-ability to adjust to changed sensory input

-includes adjustments to an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field

-humans constantly adjust to changed sensory input

-early nurture sculpts what nature has provided

-experience guides, sustains, and maintains the pathways in the brain that enable perceptions

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audition

sense or act of hearing

-helps individuals adapt and survive

-provides information and enables relationships

-enables individuals to communicate invisibly

-hearing loss is an invisible disability

-humans are acutely sensitive to faint sounds and sound differences

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sound waves

-vary in shape

-moving molecules of air create waves of compressed and expanded air

-ears detect these brief air pressure changes

characteristics:

-amplitude or height

-determines the perceived loudness of sound waves

-frequency or length

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

-pitch

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pitch

a tone’s experienced highness or lowness that depends on frequency

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decibels

sound is measured in __________.

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process of sound waves

strike eardrum and vibrate→tiny bones in middle ear pick up vibration and transmit them to the cochlea (inner ear)→ripples in cochlea fluid bend hair cells on the surface and trigger impulses in nerve cells→axons from nerve cells transmit signal to auditory cortex

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sensorineural hearing loss

-caused by damage to the cochlea’s receptor cells or to the auditory nerves

-called nerve deafness

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conduction hearing loss

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

-less common form of hearing loss

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skin senses

pressure, warmth, cold, and pain

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pain

-reflects both bottom-up sensations and top-down sensations

-biopsychosocial event

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are not

pain signals ______ processed by specialized receptors

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nociceptors

sensory receptors that detect hurtful temperatures, pressure, or chemicals

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experience of pain

depends on inherited genes and physical characteristics

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misinterprets

brain can sometimes _______ its signals and create pain

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more

humans feel ____ pain when others seem to be experiencing pain

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pain control therapies

drugs, surgery, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, massage, exercise, hypnosis, relaxation training, and thought distraction

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endorphins

natural painkiller released by the brain

have a soothing effect that enables pain reduction

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placebos

help dampen the central nervous system’s attention and responses to painful experiences

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placebo and distraction

maximum pain relief can be obtained by

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endorphins and distraction

activate brain pathways that decrease pain and increase tolerance

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hypnosis

-social interaction where one person suggest to another that certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur

-inhibits pain-related brain activity

-explained by the social influence theory and the dissociation theory

-does not block the sensory input itself, but it may block individual’s attention to those stimuli

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dissociation

divided consciousness

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sweet

energy source

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salty

sodium essential to physiological processes

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sour

potentially toxic acid

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bitter

potential poisons

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umami

proteins to grow and repair tissue

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taste

(sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami)

-gives pleasure and helps people survive

-can be influenced by learning and expectations

-number of taste buds and taste sensitivity decrease with age

-smoking and alcohol can speed up the loss of taste buds

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200 or more taste buds

each bump on the top and sides of the tongue contains ___ __ ____ _____ ____

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50-100 taste receptor cells

each taste bud contains a pore with -_ _____ ________ _____

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food molecules

each receptor reacts to different types of ____ _________ and sends messages to the brain

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smell

-enabled by millions of olfactory receptors that respond selectively to odors

-bypass the thalamus and directly alert the brain

-odor molecules exist in many shapes and sizes

-smell’s appeal, or the lack of it, depends partly on learned associations

-odors can evoke strong feelings, memories, and behaviors

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20 million

humans have some __ _______ olfactory receptors

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frontal; temporal

information from the taste buds travels to an area between the ______ and ________ lobes of the brain

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Kinesthesia

system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts

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