Psycology-Chapter 3

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The activation of receptors in the various sense organs.

Sensory Receptors

Specialized forms of neurons.

What are the five sense organs?

eyes, ears, nose, skin and tase buds.


The process of converting outside stimuli, such as light, into neural activity.

Just noticeable difference (jnd or difference threshold)

The smallest difference between two stimuli that is detectable 50 % of the time.

Absolute Threshold

The smallest amount of energy needed for a person to consiciously detect a stimulus 50% of the time it is present.

Subliminal Stimuli

Stimuli that are below the level of conscious awareness.

Subliminal Perception

The process by why subliminal stimuli act upon the unconscious mind, influencing behavior.


The tendency of the brain to stop attending to constant, unchanging information.

Sensory Adaptation

The tendency of sensory receptor cells to become less responsive to a stimulus that is unchanging.


The constant movement of the eyes, tiny little vibrations called that people do not notice consciously; prevents sensory adaptation to visual stimuli.

The smallest difference between two stimuli that can be detected 50 % of the time it is present is called?

Just noticeable difference.

When receptor cells for the senses are activated, the process called ____ has begun.


You have a piece of candy that you have been holding in your mouth. After a while, the candy doesn’t taste as strong as it did when you first tasted it. What has happened?

Sensory Adaptation.

While driving down the road looking for the new resturant you want to try out, not hearing the clicking of the turn signal you forgot to turn off until one of your friends points it out is likely due to?


What are the three perceptions of light?

Brightness, color, and saturation.


Is determined by the amplitude of the wave, how high or how low the wave actually is. The higher the wave, the brighter the light will be, lower waves are dimmer.


Or hue, is determined by the length of the wave.

Where are long wavelengths found?

At the red end of the visible spectrum.

Where are short wavelengths found?

At the blue end of the visible spectrum.


Refers to the purity of the color people see; mixing in nblack or gray would also lessen the saturation.


The clear membrane that covers the surface of the eye; protects the eye and is the structure that focuses most of the light coming into the eye.

Radial kerototomy

Vison-improving technique that uses this fact by making small incisions in the cornea to change the focus in the eye.

Aqueous humor

Next to visual layer; clear, watery fluid that is continually replenished and supplies nourishment to the eye.


The hole though which light from the visual image enters the interior of the eye.


The roundmuscle (colored part of the eye) in which the pupil is located; can change the size of the pupil, letting more or less light into the eye; helps focus the image.


Another clear structure behind the iris, suspended by muscles; finishes the focusing process begun by the cornea.

Visual Accommodation

The change in the thickness fo the lens as the eye focuses on objects that are far away or close.

Vitreous humor

Jelly-like fluid called that also nourishes the eye and give it shape.


The final stop for light in the eye.

What are the 3 layers of the retina?

Ganglion cells, bipolar cells, and photoreceptors that respond to various light waves.


Visual sensory recptors found at the back of the retina, responsible for noncolor sensitivity to low levels of light.


Visual sensory receptors found at the back of the retina, responsible for color vision and sharpness of vision.

Blind Spot

The area in the retina where the axons of the three layers of retinal cells exit the eye to form the optic nerve, insensitive to light.

Dark Adaptation

The recovery of the eye’s sensitivity to visual stimuli in darkness after exposure to bright lights.

Light Adaptation

The recovery fo the eye’s sensitivity to visual stimuli in light after exposure to darkness.

Trichromatic Theory

The theory of color vision that proposes three types of cones: red, blue and green.


Images that occur when a visual sensation persists for a brief time even after the original stimulus is removed.

Night Blindness

The older you get the less likely you are able to see in the darkness, or darkened rooms.

Opponent-process theory

The theory of color vision that proposes four primary colors with cones arranged in pairs: red and green, blue and yellow.

Monochrome colorblindness

Either have no cones or have cones that are not working at all.

Red-green colorblindness

Either the red or the green cones are not working.


Lack of functioning red cones.


Lack of functioning green cones.


Lack of functioning blue cones.

What is a sex-linked inheritance and which sex only carries it?

Color blindness, and males.

What term refers to the perceived effect of the amplitude of light waves?


What is the correct path through the eye?

Cornea, Pupil, Lens, Vitreous Humor, Retina.

If you wanted to locate a dimly lit star better at night, what should you do?

Look off to the side, using the rods in the periphery of the retina.

What theory of color visions accounts for afterimages?

Opponent-process theory.


Interpreted as frequency or pitch (high, medium, or low).


Interpreted as volume (how soft or loud a sound is).


Interpreted as timbre (a richness in the tone of a sound).

herts (Hz)

Cycles or waves per second, a measurement of frequency.

Auditory Canal

Short tunnel that runs from the pinna to the eardrum (tympanic membrane).


The thin section of skin that tightly covers the opening into the middle part of the ear, just like a drum skin covers the opening in a drum.

When a sound wave hits the eardrum, what does it do?

It vibrates and causes three tiny bones in the middle ear to vibrate.


The visible part of the ear.


Snail-shaped structure of the inner ear that is filled with fluid.

Organ of Corti

Rests in the basilar membrane; contains receptor cells for sense of hearing.

Auditory Nerve

Bundle of axons fromt he hair cells in the inner ear; receuves neural message from the organ of Corti.

Three structures of the ear?

Hammer, anvil and stirrup


Psychological experience of sound that corresponds to the frequency of the sound waves; high frequencies are perceived as high pitches.

Place Theory

The theory of pitch that states that different pitches are experiences by the stimulation of hair cells in different locations on the organ of Corti.

Frequency Theory

The theory of a pitch that states that pitch is related to the speed of vibrations in the basilar membrane.

Volley Principle Theory

The theory of a pitch that states that frequencies above 100 Hz cause the hair cells (auditory nerves) to fire in a volley pattern, or take turns in firing.

Conduction hearing impairment

Can result from either a damaged eardrum, or damage to the bones of the middle ear.

Nerve hearing impairment

Can result from either a damage in the inner ear, or damage in the auditory pathways and cortical areas of the brain.

What property of sound would be the most similar to color, or hue of light?


The eardrum is also called?

The tympanic membrane.

The ____ theory best explains how we can hear sounds above 4000 Hz

The place theory.

If the bones in the middle ear begin to deteriorate, you will develop ____ hearing impairment?


Taste buds

Taste receptor cells in the mouth; responsible for sense of taste


The sensation of a taste.

What are the five basic tastes?

Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, & "brothy".

Olfaction (olfactory sense)

Sense of smell.

Olfactory bulbs

Areas of the brain located just above the sinus cavity and just below the frontal lobes that receive information from the olfactory receptor cells.

How many olfactory receptors are there?

At least 1000.

Somesthetic Senses

The body senses consiting of the skin senses, the kinesthetic sense, and the vestibular senses. Soma (body), & esthetic (feeling).

Skin Senses

The sensations of touch, pressure, temperature, and pain.

Gate-control Theory

Pains signals must pass through a "gate" located in the spinal cord.

Kinesthetic Sense

Sense of the location of body parts in relation to the ground and each other.

Vestibular Senses

The sensations of movement, balance, and body position.

Sensory Conflict Theory

an explaination of motion sickness in which the information from the eyes conflicts with the information from the vestibular senses, resulting in dizziness, nausea, and other physical discomforts.


The method by which the sensations experienced at any given moment are interpreted and organized in some meaningful fashion.

Size Constancy

The tendency to interpret an object as always being the same actual size, regardless of its distance.

Shape Constancy

The tendency to interpret the shape of an object as being constant, even when its shape changes on the retina.

Brightness Constancy

The tendency to perceive the apparent brightness of an object as the same even when the light conditions change.


The tendency to perceive objects, or figures as existing on a background.

Reversible Figures

Visual illusions in which the figure and ground can be reversed.


The tendency to perceive things that look similar to each other as being part of the same group.


The tendency to perceive objects that are close to each other as part of the same grouping.


The tendency to complete figures that are incomplete.


The tendency to perceive things as simply as possible with a continuous pattern rather than with a complex, broken-up pattern.


The tendency to perceive two things that happen close together in time as being related.

Depth Perception

The ability to perceive the world in three dimensions.

Monocular Cues (Pictorial depth cues)

Cues for perceiving depth based on one eye only.

Linear Perspective

The tendency for parallel lines to appear to converge on each other.

Relative Size

Perception that occurs when objects that a person expects to be of a certain size appear to be small and are, therefore, assumed to be much farther away.

Interposition (overlap)

The assumption that an object that appears to be blocking part of another object is in front of the second object and closer to the viewer.

Aerial Perspective

The haziness that surrounds objects that are farther away from the viewer, causing the distance to be perceived as greater.

Texture Gradient

The tendency for textured surfaces to appear to become smaller and finer as distance from the viewer increases.

Motion Parallax

The perception of motion of objects in which close objects appear to move more quickly than objects that are farther away.


As a monocular clue, the brain’s use of information about the changing thickness of the lens of the eye in response to looking at objects that are close or far away.

Binocular Cues

Cues for perceiving depth based on both eyes.


The rotation of the two eyes in their sockets to focus on a single object, resulting in greater convergence for closer objects, and lesser convergence if objects are distant.

The Hermin grid

Is possibly due to the response of the primary visual cortex.

Muller-lyer illusion

Illusion of line length that is distorted by inward-turning or outward-turning corners on the ends of the lines, causing lines of equal length to appear to be different.

Moon illusion

The moon on the horizon appears to be larger than the moon in the sky. (apparent distance hypotheis)

Autokinetic Effect

A small, stationary light in a darkened room will appear to move or drift because there are no surrounding cues to indicate that the light is not moving.

Stroboscopic Motion

Seen in motion pictures, in which a rapid series of still pictures will appear to be in motion.

Phi Phenomenon

Lights turned on in a sequence appear to move.

Rotating Snakes

Is due in part to eye movements.

The Enigma

Are due in part to microsaccades.

Perceptual Set (perceptual expectancy)

The tendency to perceive things a certain way because previous experiences or expectations infulence those perceptions.

Top-down processing

The use of preexisting knowledge to organize individual features into a unified whole.

Bottom-up processing

The analysis of the smaller features to build up to a complete perception.

The receptors on our taste buds work most like ____?

Receptor sites on nuerons.

Pain sensation in the skin, muscles, tendons and joints that are on large nerve fibers called?

Somatic Pain.

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