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Absolute Threshold
The minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time.
Accommodation
The process by which the eye’s lens changes shape to focus the image of near objects on the retina.
Acuity
The sharpness of vision.
Audition
The sense of hearing.
Blind Spot
The point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a “blind” spot because no receptor cells are located there.
Bottom-up Processing
Analysis that begins with the sense receptors and works up to the brain’s integration of sensory information.
Cochlea
A coiled, bony, fluid filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses.
Color Constancy
Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.
Conduction Hearing Loss
Hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea.
Cones
See color.
Difference Threshold
The minimum difference that a person can detect between two stimuli. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference. (Also called the just noticeable difference).
Farsightedness
A condition in which faraway objects are seen more clearly than nearby objects because the image of near objects is focused behind the retina.
Feature Detectors
Nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement.
Fovea
The central focal point in the retina, around which the eye’s cones cluster.
Frequency
The number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time.