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OLEMISS / Engineering / PSY 201 / What does our brain undergo to process stimuli?

What does our brain undergo to process stimuli?

What does our brain undergo to process stimuli?


School: University of Mississippi
Department: Engineering
Course: General Psychology
Professor: Tonya marie vandenbrink
Term: Spring 2017
Cost: 50
Name: Psy 201 Exam 2 Ch. 5-7
Description: Bolded words are important concepts, and underlined words are not as important but might pop up
Uploaded: 03/06/2017
5 Pages 51 Views 3 Unlocks


What does our brain undergo to process stimuli?

• Psychophysics: studying the relationship  between physical stimuli and the  

sensations they evoke in the human  observer- Different for individuals

• Relationship between Sensation and  Perception 

• Stimulus: thing that you are detecting  ex. a flower

• Sensation: any incoming information the detection ex. smell

• Sensory Coding: Sensory receptors  firing- converting info so brain can  understand ex. nose smelling  If you want to learn more check out How was the first hypothesis tested?

• Perception: Brain deciding- ex. flower  smells good

• Sensation vs Perception:

When does sensory adaptation happen?

• Sen.— sensory input received thorough  the senses- the detection

• Perception— mental process of  If you want to learn more check out What kinds of changes occur during metamorphism?

organizing sensations

• Vision- Optic nerve

• Hearing- Auditory nerve

• Taste: facial, glossopharyngeal, vagus • Smell- olfactory If you want to learn more check out What are examples of projected resources?

• Touch- Cranial nerves above neck, spinal  nerves below neck

• Absolute Threshold: lowest amount of  stimuli that a person can detect 50% of the  time

• Different Threshold/ Noticeable Threshold: minimum detectable differences between 2  stimuli that can be observed

• Terminal Threshold: too much, can cause  physical pain/ damage to sensory  

What is the basis of the muller-lyer illusion?

receptors and neurons

• Sensory Adaptation: decrease in sensory  responses to unchanging stimulus—> how  you don’t notice smells anymore

• Sensory Analysis: separation of sensory  information into important elements—  trying to make sense of world

• Popup Effect: ability to notice things  different in environment because it is  different Don't forget about the age old question of How a chemist speeds a reaction: increase temperature to go over barrier?

• Selective Attention: voluntarily focusing  on specific sensory input

• Inattention Blindness: failure to notice  stimulus because attention is focused  elsewhere

• Change Blindness: inability to see  large changes in visual field

• Illusions—> Ames Room If you want to learn more check out Why is economic growth considered relevant?

• How our brains process stimuli

• Top-down: driven by preexisting  knowledge— internal— can lead to  mistakes

• Bottom- up: driven by stimuli itself—  external— ex. toddlers

• Both always working

• Gestalt Organizing Principles

• Figure-Ground organization

• Normal Figure-Ground: only 1 image • Reverse Figure- Ground: 2 images

• Principles of Perception- Gestalt • Proximity: group things together that  are near in time/space

• Similarity: group different things in  different groups

• ex. group different colors, shapes,  sizes

• Continuation: easier to visualize it  continuing, not separate things

• Closure: brain will finish a shape if its  not complete because it makes more  sense

• Common Region: group things that  share common space— dots same  distance apart but group them because  some are in circles If you want to learn more check out What are the different types of methods?

• Contiguity: putting things together in  time and space that are separate—>  knock on wood while knocking on head did head make that noise?

• Illusory Contours: be able to tell depth — gives curves edges and depth cues  that don’t really exist

• Face Perception: recognize face on  things—> ex. cars, fruits, etc

• Prosopagnosia- Face Blindness: can’t  recognize faces- stroke victims/born with— > tell people by other cues i.e. voice, hair,  smell, height, etc

• Perceptual Learning: changes in  perceptional ability attributed to prior  experiences— result is brain changes in  ability to process sensory info

• Leads to—> Perceptual Habit: ingrain  pattern of organization of sensory info  from daily life- happens when exposed  to the same thing over and over again

• Thrasher (?) Illusion: Perceptual  learning and habit

• The other race effect: tendency to see  uniformity in other groups but can see  differences in yours—> starts in infancy bc  usually raised by your race

• Perceptual Hypothesis: initial guess about  how to process sensations from outside  world—> cloud watching- not really a  flower in the sky

• Ambiguous Stimuli: not consistent or  constant picture— 3 pronged widget • Perceptual Consistencies: even if object is  changing in your retinal- don’t process it • Size Constancy: hands always stay the  same size even if one hand is closer to  your face

• Shape Constancy: even if it changes  orientation- still recognize an opening  door

• Brightness Constancy: brightness of  object appear to stay the same if  

illuminated by same amount of light • Binocular Depth Cues:

• Binocular Disparity/retinal disparity:  eyes 2 and a half inches away from  each other so two different images from  one image

• Stereoscopic vision: what you see  based on retinal disparity and allows for  3D vision

• Perceptual Expectancies: expect next  thing to follow in a pattern so perception is  

altered for it to be the next in the pattern  (all animals, all numbers, all letters, etc)

• Muller-Lyer Illusion: based on lifetime of  seeing straight lines and edges

• not a problem with people who live in  nature bc no straight lines

• Somesthetic Senses

• Skin senses: sense of touch, pleasure,  pain, and temperature  

• Kinesthetic Senses: sense of body  movement, positioning, location of own  body parts, and environment

• Vestibular Senses: sense of balance,  gravity, position in space, and  


• Phantom Limbs- perceive pain from  missing limbs that can last months to years

• Warning System

• Large Nerve Fibers carry message  quickly to avoid danger

• Reminding System

• Small nerve fibers: nagging, widespread  pain to remind body of injury


Learning is relative to environment and what  it is exposed to

• Non associative: learn to have a  response to something in environment • Habituation: decrease reaction after  multiple exposures to stimuli

• Sensitization: increase reaction after  multiple exposure to stimuli ex. electric  shock and punching

• Associative: pair things together in  environment—> linking behaviors

• involves prior events (antecedent) and/ or after (consequences)

• Classical Conditioning: reflex already  have that reacts to environmental  

stimulus (antecedent)

• ex. air test for eye—> blink; then intro  something else ex. bell sound—>  

blink at bell

• Ivan Pavlov: Russian Physiologist  who was studying digestion—>  

stumbled across Classical  


• Important vocab:

• Unconditioned Simulus (US):  stimulus that has a natural  

response ex. food

• Unconditioned Response (UR):  reflex to US ex. saliva

• Neutral Stimulus (NS): stimulus  without a relationship to response  ex. bell

• Conditioned Stimulus (CS): once  NS but after learning—> reacts to it  like US ex. bell

• Conditioned Response (CR):  reflex to just CS ex. saliva to bell

• Principles of CC (Know all charts) • Acquisition: NS—> CS—> CR—  beginning of CC- how NS turns into  CS

• graph: CR starts weak then  

grows in strength

• Higher Order Conditioning:  

adding another CR after already  


• Expectancies: able to know that  US is happening with CS  

• Extinction: response eventually  goes away if US not with CS bc can  no longer predict

• Graph: drops low with only CS  present

• Spontaneous Recovery: learned  response reappears but is weak

• Graph: little higher than  

extinction but still dropping

• Generalization: something similar  to CS initiates CR ex. bell—>  


• Discrimination: learn to tell the  differences between similar CS ex.  pigeon and colors

• John B Watson

• condition fear in Little Albert—> white  rat + loud noise = fear of white rat

• married undergrad student then  divorced her for grad student—>lost  job

• advertising: love, fear, and rage • Operant Conditioning

• behavior based on consequences • Law of Effect (Thorndyke):

determined by behavior itself

behavior leads to desirable outcome • Thorndike’s Puzzle Box: different  ways to get out of box— learns trail  and error

• Reinforcer: increase probability of  behavior

• Positive Reinforcement: giving  something to increase probability of  behavior

• Negative Reinforcement: take  away to increase probability of  

behavior ex. taking away cold by  adding gloves

• Punisher: decrease probability of  behavior

• Positive Punishment: give  

something ex. spanking

• Negative Punishment: take  

something away ex. take ball away • Reinforcement most effective when  immediately after behavior

• Skinner box: operant conditioning to  control all environment

• preferred reinforcement over  


• Shaping: rewarding successive  approximation— reward small  

movements to goal

• Operant Extinction: takes time for  operants to extinct, but can happen— Spontaneous recovery

• Stimulus Control: operant response  controlled by presence of something (ex.  stoplight)

• Reinforcers:

• Primary: not learned- satisfy  

physiological needs— food

• Secondary: learned to help get  primary— ex. money

• Continuous vs Partial Reinforcement

• Continuous: reinforce every time it  occurs

• Partial: only reward every few times • Partial Reinforcement Effect: 

increases behavior bc animal  

unsure if it gets treat or not

• Fixed Ration (FR): behavior rewarded  after a set amount of success (ex. 5  times= reward, 5 times = reward)

• Variable Ratio (VR): not fixed number  for reward— greater against  

extinction (ex. 5 times= reward, 1  

time= reward, 11 times= reward)

• Fixed Interval (FI): after so much time  rewarded (ex. after 10 sec= reward) • Variable Interval (VI): random amount  of time= reward— resist extinction  

(ex. 10 sec= reward, 5 sec= reward, 1  min= reward)

• Escaped Learning— learned  

helplessness— both rooms going to  shock so pointless

• Operant vs classical conditioning: • operant: “operates on” so voluntary—  consequence

• classical: “happens to” so passive—  antecedent

• Cognitive learning: high-level learning  involving thought, understanding,  

anticipation and knowing

• Observational learning: learning by  watching others

• Modeling: imitating a behavior seen in  others

• vicarious learning: learning a behavior  after seeing others be rewarded/

punished for it

• Deconditioning

• Systematic Desensitization: learn to  respond differently to a stimulus

• Exposure therapy: gradually exposed to  what scares you

• Flooding: immediate exposed to  stimulus— faster but more traumatic


• memory: active mental system for  receiving, encoding, storing, and retrieving  information

• Eyewitness Memory:  

• Recall: restate events that already  happened from memory

• Recognition: ask someone if they saw  something

• sucks tbh

• Seven sins of Memory

• Fogetting

• 1. Transience— Memory Decay reduce memory over time

• 2. Blocking— Retrieval Failure- temp  memory failure~ forget name of  


• 3. Absentmindedness— encoding  failure- failed to put into memory bc  didn’t pay attention

• Remember

• 4.Persistence— keep memory  

although it is not wanted

• Distortion

• 5. Misattribution— memory to  

incorrect source— not likely to  


• 6. Bias— any memory that is thought  of is influenced by current situation • 7. Suggestibility— alter memory implant memory about things that  

didn’t occur

• ability to change memories based  on suggestion

• Misinformation Effect: incorporating  misleading information for an event • False Memories

• eyewitness subject to error bc  

suggestibility— can believe new  

memory with conviction—  

recollect something that person  

did not experience

• Lineups can be ruined with police  feedback

• Polygraph measures: heart rate, skin  conductance, blood pressure—  

psychopaths have lower anxiety to  measure

• How Memory works:

• 1. Encoding: convert info into smaller—  gist

• 2. Storage: holding in mind to use later —Consolidation

• 3. Retrieval: pull info from storage to  use as necessary

• Reconsolidation

• learn something makes memory—>  consolidation= stored inactive  

memory—> retrieval of stored  

memory makes it active—>  

reconsolidation modifies memory

• every time you remember  

something you change it

• Three Memory System:

• Sensory Information/Memory:  received through senses that is encoded  but only lasts a few seconds—  

unconscious (Iconic- vision half a  

second; Echoic- auditory two seconds) • Short term memory: small pieces  information stored for short amount of  time— conscious last 12 sec

• Working Memory: used for thinking  and problem solving— hold info in  mind and manipulate at same time

• Maintenance Rehearsal/ Rote:

remember through repetition- does  not store to LTM

• Elaborate Rehearsal (processing):  reflect on meaning of something- from  STM to LTM

• Similarities: mental repetition of items,  improve memory, lead to encoding

• Differences: ER active and MR  

passive; ER meaning, MR no  

meaning; ER linking, MR no linking;  ER transfers to LTM, MR stays STM • Chunking: breaking things into  

manageable pieces to remember

• Long term memory: limitless everything  known about world- relatively permanent • Roediger and McDermatt- 1995-  

Priming: retrieval of implicit memory  using cues to activate hidden memory

• Priming: facilitating the retrieval of an  implicit memory by using cues to  activate hidden memories

• LTM Storage

• Network Model: memories organized  where they can link together ex.  picture sparks memory

• Retrieval cue: the picture

• Linked memory 

• Reintegration: process  

reconstructed and expand upon  

one memory

• Procedural: know how to do certain  things/ examples

• Implicit: memory person  

unconsciously retrieves

• Declarative: recall names, faces,  words- factual information

• Episodic: memory for personal  experiences important to you

wedding, b-day, etc

• Semantic: general world  

knowledge- know this is a cat

• Explicit Memory: conscious retrieval  of knowledge

• Retrograde Amnesia: loss of memory  prior to event— usually trauma

• Anterograde Amnesia: loss of ability to  form/ retrieve memories after trauma • Flashbulb memories: detailed and vivd  memory bc trauma not personal to you — ex. 9-11

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