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Chapter 4: Sensation and Perception Cheat Sheet by

themes and variation

Sensation and Perception

stimul­ation fo sense organs
selection, organi­zation and interp­ret­ation of sensory input

Inform­ation Processing in the Retina

receptive field of visual light
the retina area that when stimulated affects firing of that cell
light in the center of receptive field
increases firing rate
light in the outside of receptive field
decreases firing rate
lateral antagonism
occurs when neural activity in a cell opposes activity in surrou­nding cells

Perceiving Forms, Pattern and Objects

Feature Analysis
process of detecting specific elements in visual input and assembling them in to a more complex form
bottom up
individual to whole
top down
whole to elements
phi phenomenon
illusion of movement created by presenting visual stimuli in rapid success
gestalt principles
how the visual system organizes a scene into discreet forms

Theories of Hearing

place theory
perception pitch corres­ponds to the vibration of different places along the basilar membrane
frequency theory
perception of pitch corres­ponds to the rate/ frequency at which the entire basilar membrane vibrates

Taste and Smell

receptive for smell in nose


study of how physical stimuli are translated into psycho­logical experience
Signal Detection Theory
the detection of stimuli involves decision proccesses along as sensory processes which are both influenced by a variety of factors besides stimulus intensity

Vision and the Brain

two channels
magnoc­ellular and parvoc­ellular

Perceiving Depth or Distance

binocular depth cues
clues about distance based on the differing views of hte two eyes
retinal disparity
refers to the fact that object within 25 feet project to slightly different locations on the right and left retinas so each eye sees a slight different view of the object
involves sensing the eye converging towards each other as they focus on closer objects
monocular depth cues
clues about the distance move across the retina at different rates
motion parallax
images at different distances move across the retina at different rates
pictorial depth cues
cues about distance that can be given i na flat picture

Other Senses

kinaes­thetic system
monitors the position of the various parts of the body
vestibular system
responds to gravity and keeps you informed of your body's location in space


perception of color

Inform­ation Processing in the Visual Cortex

feature detectors
neurons that respond select­ively to a very specific features of more complex stimuli

viewing the world in color

subtra­ctive color mixing
works by removing some wavelngth of light, leaving less light than originally there
additive color mixing
works by superi­mposing lights, putting more light in the mixture than exists in any one light by itself
trichr­omatic theory
color vision holds that the human eye has 3 types of receptors with differing sensit­ivities to different light wavele­ngths
opponent process theory
color vision holds that colour perception depends on receptors that make antago­nistic responses to three pairs of colour


frequency or hertz
external ear
vibrations of air
middle ear
vibration of movable bones
inner ear
waves in a fluid
sound collecting cone

Perceiving Sources of Sound

most important for finding source of sound
loudness and timing


receptive field for touch
when touched neurons fire to the brain alerting it
pain has two pathways to the brain
slow and fast
gate control theory
incoming pain sensations must pass through a "­gat­e" i nteh spinal cord that can be closed, thus blocking ascending pain signals


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