Chapter 3 - Sensation and Perception

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Chapter 3 - Sensation and Perception
2013-06-24 09:41:33
psychology vocab

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  1. Sensation
    The activation of the sense organs by a source of physical energy.
  2. Perception
    The sorting out, interpretation, analysis, and integration of stimuli by the sense organs and brain.
  3. Stimulus
    Energy that produces a response in a sense organ.
  4. Psychophysics
    The study of the relationship between the physical aspects of stimuli and our psychological experience of them.
  5. Absolute Threshold
    The smallest intensity of a stimulus that must be present for the stimulus to be detected.
  6. Difference Threshold (just noticeable difference)
    The smallest level of added or reduced stimulation required to sense that a change in stimulation has occurred.
  7. Weber's Law
    A basic law of psychophysics stating that a just noticeable difference is a constant proportion to the intensity of an initial stimulus (rather than a constant amount).
  8. Adaptation
    An adjustment in sensory capacity after prolonged exposure to unchanging stimuli.
  9. Retina
    The part of the eye that converts the EM energy of light to electrical impulses for transmission to the brain.
  10. Rods
    Thin, cylindrical receptor cells in the retina that are highly sensitive to light.
  11. Cones
    Cone shaped, light sensitive receptor cells in the retina that are responsible for sharp focus and color perception, particularly in bright light.
  12. Optic Nerve
    A bundle of ganglion axons that carry visual information to the brain.
  13. Feature Detection
    The activation of neurons in the cortex by visual stimuli of specific shapes or patterns.
  14. Trichromatic Theory of Color Vision
    The theory that there are three kinds of cones in the retina, each of which responds primarily to a specific range of wavelengths.
  15. Opponent-Process Theory of Color Vision
    The theory that receptor cells for color are linked in pairs, working in opposition to each other. 
  16. Sound
    The movement of air molecules brought about by a source of vibration.
  17. Eardrum
    The part of the ear that vibrates when sound waves hit it. 
  18. Cochlea
    A coiled tube in the ear filled with fluid that vibrates in response to sound.
  19. Basilar Membrane
    A vibrating structure that runs through the center of the cochlea, dividing it into an upper chamber and a lower chamber and containing sense receptors for sound. 
  20. Hair Cells
    Tiny cells covering the basilar membrane that, when bent by vibrations entering the cochlea, transmit neural messages to the brain.
  21. Place Theory of Hearing
    The theory that different areas of the basilar membrane respond to different frequencies. 
  22. Frequency Theory of Hearing
    The theory that the entire basilar membrane acts like a microphone, vibrating as a whole in response to a sound.
  23. Semicircular Canals
    Three tubelike structures of the inner ear containing fluid that sloshes through them when the head moves, signaling rotational or angular movement to the brain.
  24. Skin Senses
    The senses of touch, pressure, temperature, and pain.
  25. Gate-control Theory of Pain
    The theory that particular nerve receptors in the spinal cord lead to specific areas of the brain related to pain.
  26. Gestalt Laws of Organization
    A series of principles that describe how we organize bits and pieces of information into meaningful wholes.
  27. Top-down Processing
    Perception that is guided by higher-level knowledge, experience, expectations, and motivations.
  28. Bottom-up Processing
    Perception that consists of the progression of recognizing and processing information from individual components of a stimuli and moving to the perception of the whole. 
  29. Depth Perception
    The ability to view the world in three dimensions and to perceive distance.
  30. Perceptual Constancy
    The phenomenon in which physical objects are perceived as unvarying and consistent despite changes in their appearance or in the physical environment. 
  31. Visual Illusions
    Physical stimuli that consistently produce errors in perception.