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Why do we need psychological Science ?

1. Our natural thinking style can fail:
-hindsight bias
-overconfidence error
-Mistakenly precising order in random events
2. Using science makes us objective and accurate


The Five Characteristics of Good Research

1. Use of objective measures
2. Generalizability of results
3. Reducing sources of bias
4. Reporting the findings


Objective measures (4 points) :

-The measure is consistent across instruments and observers
-Use of operational definitions helps with objectivity
-The measure must be valid
-The measure must be reliable (test-retest reliability, Alternate-forms reliability, inter-rate reliability)


Generalizability of results (3 points)

-How likely are the results to be found in situations, people, or events
-Ultimately, researchers attempt to make conclusions about a population based on data collected from a sample
-In order to make conclusions about a population based on a sample, you need sample = population (Random Sampling or Convenience Sampling)


Random Sampling

Making sure that every individual in the population has an equal chance of being included in your sample


Convenience Sampling

using samples of individuals who are most readily available


Reducing Sources of Bias:

-Researcher biases
Can control using a Double-blind procedure (neither the researcher nor the participants know what group they're in


Researcher Biases

When the researcher's own expectations or theoretical slant can influence the study
-Three ways researcher bias can occur:
-Wish fulfillment
Accidental and inadvertent


Reducing Sources of Bias

1, Participant Biases
-Hawthorn effect
-Demand characteristics


Hawthorne Effect

When participants show a change in behavior due to the fact they are being observed


Demand Characteristics

-Inadvertent cues detected by the participant about how they're expected to behave in the study (social Desirability, Placebo Effect)


Social Desirability

When participant responses are based more on social acceptability than honesty


Placebo Effect

When participants show change in behavior due to their expectation that their behavior should change


How to Reduce sources of bias?

-Assure participants that their responses are anonymous and confidential
-Assure participants that you're not looking at individual responses but only group averages
-Use a blind procedure


Reporting the Findings

-written publication in a research journal and/or presentation at a conference
- Peer Review = allows your work to be reviewed, criticized, and scrutinized by other experts in the field



The process of repeating a study and finding a similar outcome each time


Five Characteristics of Poor Research

1. Untestable hypothesis
2. Anecdotal evidence
3. Data selection bias
4. Appeal to authority
5. Appeals to (so-called) common-sense or novelty


Research Methods

a set of methods that allows a researcher to test a hypothesis, or a specific prediction about behaviour


Experimental Research (3 bullets)

-the researcher manipulates a variable
-there are different groups of participants and each group is exposed to something different
-allows causal conclusions


Correlational research
(4 points)

-How are the variables related to each other
-Researcher just measures two (or more variables) and uses statistics to see if they're related
-nothing is manipulated
-calculated statistic is called the correlation coefficient and is symbolized by r


Descriptive Research

-allows researchers to describe the characteristics of the phenomenon of interest in the study
-use three methods of data collection to gather this information (case studies, naturalistic observations and surveys and questionnaires)


The case Study

-An in depth investigation of a single participant using a bunch of different data collection techniques


The advantages to a case study

can be a source of support for theories about the cause of behaviour


Disadvantages to a case study

results may not generalize to the rest of the population


Naturalistic Observation

observing and recording the participant's natural behavior, without influencing the participant


Advantages and Disadvantages to Naturalistic observation

Advantage: behavior is studied under natural conditions
Disadvantages: Difficult to not influence behaviour; requires a lot of patients


Survey and Questionnaire

Participants are asked a series of questions about certain aspects of their behaviour


Advantages and Disadvantages about surveys

Advantages: good to study behaviours that cannot be directly observed; can collect a lot of data in a short amount of time
Disadvantages: careful of wording effects; results depend on what the participant themselves say


Correlation Coefficient

The value 'r' tells you how much the two variables you measured are related


Correlation is not causation (explain)

a relationship between two variables doesn't mean one variable caused the other, because it is equally plausible of many different options. either one causes the other or some type of third party


Advantages and disadvantages of Correlational research

Advantage: useful for studying topics that can't be studied using experimental methods
Disadvantages: doesn't allow for causal conclusions


Independent Variable

the variable that is manipulated


dependent variable

variable that is measured


Experimental Group

the group that receives the manipulation


Control Group

The group that does not receive the manipulation


Cause-effect conclusions (explain)

-if the onlu difference between the two groups are the independent variable, then any difference found between groups must be caused by the independent variable


Random Assignment

when each person in your study has an equal chance of going into either of your groups


Between-subjects Design (experimental variations)

when each participant serves in only one group and is tested once


Within-subjects Design (experimental variations)

when each participant is tested in each experimental condition


Quasi -Experiments (experimental variations)

-when the group comparisons in an experiment are based on predetermined characteristics instead of random assignment
(eg comparison between men and women)
-useful to point out differences among preexisting groups, but not causal conclusions


Experiment Research
Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages: Cause-effect conclusions
Disadvantages: artificial and too simple
-may have ethical and/or practical issues


Glial cells:

found throughout the nervous system
-provide structural support, nourishment, and insulation to the neurons



-Directly involved in communication
-Receive, integrate, and transmit information to and from other neurons


Resting Potential:

-If an axon is not sending or receiving any signals, then it is negatively charged at about -70 mV
-Two reasons for negative charge when neuron is in this balanced, resting state (Concentration gradient and Electrostatic gradient)


Concentration Gradient

The tendency for molecules, which are always in motion, to distribute themselves evenly in their environment
-will move from high concentration to low, and low to high


Electrostatic Gradient

ions (molecules with a positive or negative charge will attract or repel each other depending on their electric charge (opposites attract)


Resting Potential (what's happening)

-Organic ions (a-) (stuck inside cell)
-Potassium ions (K+):
-flows relatively freely across membrane
-concentration gradient wants to push k+ outside cell
-Electrostatic gradient wants to keep K+ inside cell
Sodium ions (Na+);
-Concentration and electrostatic gradients both want to push Na+ inside cell


Why does Na+ stay concentrated outside the cell???

-Difficult to move across membrane
-Sodium-potassium pump (continuously pushes three Na+ ions outside the cell in exchange for two k+ ions


what do you think would happen if Na+ ions were suddenly given an open pathway to get inside the cell?

-Na+would rush into the cell
-this is basically what causes an action potential: (sudden and brief increase in the permeability of the cells membrane)
-Done with help from the voltage-gated sodium channel (detects the charge separation across the membrane and opens up channels for Na+ to cross the membrane


Action Potential

-First, the membrane must be depolarized, or made less negative, by 10 or 20mV
-If cell depolarization reaches a certain level, called threshold, than Na+ channels open
-Neuron's electric charge swings dramatically to the positive side, reaching a charge of + 40mV
-Voltage-gated sodium channels close until cell returns to resting state


Action potential continued

-k+ channels also open, but with a bit of a lag
-concentration and electrostatic gradients work hard to force k+ ions outside the cell
-shifts permeability advantage back to K+
-causes cells to be hyper-polarized


All-or-none Principle

-Once a neurons's electric charge reaches threshold an action potential is triggered, that action potential will always occur with the same strength


How can our brain represent information that isn't all-or-none, but continuous

-can vary rate of firing and number of neurons firing



-100-150 different neurotransmitters (more substances suspected)
-Each has a different effect
-->specific ecxitatory or inhibitory
-->several linked to specific psychological phenomenon


From Electrical to chemical to electrical (neural Communication)

-Action potential reaches axon terminals
-->each axon terminal contains many synaptic vesicles, or small, balloon-like object that contains molecules of a neurotransmitter
-Causes some of the synaptic vesicles to open
-->Neurotransmitters are released into the synaptic cleft
-some neurotransmitters reach the postsynaptic neuron and bind with postsynaptic receptors
--> Causes specificion channels to open, allowing a specific type of ion to pass in or out of the cell


Excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP);

-if a positive ion channel opens that allow positive ions to flow into the cell, the cell will depolarized and it will be easier to reach the threshold of an action potential


Inhabitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP);

-if negative ion channel opens and a negative ions are forced into the cell, the cell will hyperpolarize and it will be harder to reach the threshold of an action potential
-Can also occur if potassium channels open and K+ is forced outside the cell (leaves the cell more negative)



occurs when the axon terminals quickly remove the neurotransmitters from the synaptic cleft


one neuron can receive many EPSPs and IPSPs at the same time

-not an all-or-none process like the action potential
-summed effect of EPSPs and IPSPs determine the neuron's polarization


Exicitation and inhibition of neurons doesn't predict behaviour as you might think because ....

1. Can inhibit inhibitory neurons
-->Behaviour would increase
2. Excite inhibitory neurons
-Behaviour would decrease
3. The cell body has to make sense of all these inputs
-some are quick, some are long-lasting, some excitatory, some inhibitory, some big, some small, some arrive early or late and some may cancel each other out at the dendrites


What are the two main divisions of the nervous system ?

-The central nervous System(CNS)
--> (brain and spinal cord)
--> makes decisions for the body
-Peripheral Nervous system
-->connects CNS with muscles, glands and sensory receptors
-->sends and receives information to and from the rest of the body


Peripheral nervous system (PNS) breaks into what two components?

-Autonomic nervous System
-->Regulates activity of the organs, glands and other physiological processes
-Somatic Nervous system
-->Transmits sensory information and controls movement of the skeletal muscles


The Autonomic Nervous system breaks into 2 components

The Sympathetic Division
-->Prepares the body to react and expend energy in times of stress
-->arouses (fight-or flight)
The Parasympathetic division
-->Maintains body functions; conserves resources
-->calms(rest and digest)


The role of the brain in the central nervous System

-Interprets and stores information and communicates with muscles, glands, and organs
-number of structures controlling behaviour
-->both voluntary and involuntary
-Two hemispheres (left and right)
-->number of structures within and beneath


The role of the spinal cord in the central nervous system

-pathways connecting the brain and the peripheral nervous system
-most nerves enter/leave through spinal cord
-spinal reflexes do not involve the brain


The three Sub regions of the Hindbrain (brain stem) (broad)




-Automatic survival functions
breathing, blood circulations, reflexes,



-sleep and wakefulness
-Coordinates automatic and unconscious movements (swallowing, posture, facial expressions, eye movements)



-Balance, coordination and time of movements
-Attention and emotion


Two sub-regions of the midbrain

1. Superior Colliculus
-orienting visual attention
2. Inferior colliculus:
orienting auditory attention



-everything above the midbrain, including the cerebral ventricles
--> Spaces in the brain filled with cerebrospinal fluid that provides nutrition and cushioning for many parts of the brain
Composed of the:
-->Basal Ganglia
-->Limbic System
-->Cerebral Cortex


Basal Ganglia

-function in both voluntary movement and responses to rewarding stimuli
(money chocolate, rewards)


Limbic System: (broad)

-An integrated network involved in emotion and memory
-made up of four structures:



-helps process emotions,especially fear and aggression
-Mediates memory formation for emotional events



-Processes continuous, episodic memories
-Important in the formation of new memories



-Lies below ('hypo') the thalamus
-Regulates body temperature
-ensures adequate food and water intake (homeostasis)
-involved in sex drive
-directs the endocrine
system via messages sent to the pituitary gland



-The sensory switchboard
-All sensory messages (except smell) are routed through the thalamus on the way to the cortex
-also sends message from the cortex to the medulla and cerebellum



-Largest part of the brain
-Responsible for higher level mental activities (learning, thinking, remembering)
-Two halves, called cerebral hemispheres, connected through the corpus callosum
-3mm outer layer called the cerebral cortex


Cerebral Cortex

-Made up mostly of cell bodies, which are grey in colour so cerebral cortex is often called the grey matter
-Greatly folded and convoluted
-Deeper grooves are used to define the boundaries of the four lobes found in each hemisphere


Occipital Lobe

-Processes visual information
-contains the primary visual cortex, after which visual information is routed along two different pathways:
-->Object recognition via temporal lobe
-->where objects are via parietal lobe


Parietal Lobe

-Processes body sensations
-Contains the somatosensory cortex


temporal lobe

-processes auditory information
-contains the primary auditory cortex
-contains Wernicke's area
-->Important in speech comprehension


Frontal Lobe

-Speech and skeletal motor functions
-contains the primary motor cortex
-contains Broca's area
-contains the prefrontal cortex
-->important in executive functions like planning, decision making, and controlling attention


Cerebral cortex

-primary motor cortex
-->controls movement on opposite side of the body of over 600 voluntary muscles
-->Laid out in a pattern represented by a motor homunculus
-->Amount of cortical space devoted to each motor area is proportional to the sensitivity of the motor function
-Somatosensory Cortex:
--> receives sensory information from opposite side of body
-->Laid out in a pattern represented by a sensory homunculus
-->amount of cortical space devoted to each sensory input is proportional to the sensitivity of the sensory function
-Topographically organized


Hemispheric Lateralization

-Refers to the fact that each hemisphereis performs somewhat of a different function


Left Hemisphere

-Language, mathematical, logical abilities, inner voice


Right Hemisphere

-Spatial relations, non-longustic sounds (music), facial processing


organization of the brain

-right visual field is processed in the left
left visual field processed in the right
-normally hemispheres share information, but this can be prevented in split-brain patients (patients with severed corpus callosum)


Split brain experiments

-if presented a picture to the right visual field, information sent to left hemisphere only
--> can name and describe picture
-If present picture to left visual field, information sent to right hemisphere only
--> Can't name or describe picture, but can point to the picture they saw with their left hand



the capacity of the brain to change and rewrite itself based on individual experience
-rats in enriched vs impoverished environment
-string musicians
-neural reorganization after amputation
-Rewiring in the adult visual cortex


Nueroplasticity (implications for recovery from brain injury)

-chances of recovery best if injury occurred <8 years of age
-recovery better if damage is gradual as opposed to sudden
-left-handers have a better chance of recovering language processing than right handers


What are the two approaches to learn about the brain

1. Insights from brain damage:
-Study what happens when part of the brain isn't working normally
--> case studies, lesioning, electrical stimulation, TMS
2. Neuroimaging
-Study thenromal, working brain
-->brain structure =CT scan, MRI, DTI,
-->Brain function = EEG, MEG, PET scan, fMRI


Insights from brain damage: (Case Studies)

-when a stroke or injury damages part of the brain, we have a chance to see the impact on the mind


Insights from brain damage: (Lesioning)

-Surgical destruction of brain tissue preformed on animals
-Has yielded some insights about the brain structures (morris water maze)


Insights from brain damage: (Electrical Stimualtion)

-parts of the brain can be stimulated electrically, resulting in behaviours such as giggling, head turning or simulated vivid recall


Insights from brain damage: ( Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TSM) )

-A procedure in which an electromagnetic pulse delivered to a specific region of the brain to temporarily inactivate that region
-using a weaker pulse can stimulate areas and has therapeutic uses
--"depression, gambling


Neuroimaging of brain structure: (computerized tomography (CT scan))

-involves taking multiple x-rays of the brain from different angles
-a computer then combines the individual images to produce a very clear picture of successive slices of the brain


Neuroimaging of brain structure: ( Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan))

-Brain structure is mapped out using magnetic fields
--"different areas of the brain are made up of slightly different molecular compositions, which have different magnetic properties
-produces a picture of the brain that is very clear


Neuroimaging of brain structure: ( Diffusion tenosor imaging (DIT))

-A structural neuroimaging technique tha allows researchers to measure white-matter pathways in the brain
--> These pathways are often damaged in individuals who suffered concussions


Neuroimaging of brain function: ( Electroencepalogram (EEG))

-when the electrical activity of many neurons in the brain is measured by electrodes that are attached to the scalp
-->provides information about mental state, such as dreaming, alertness, or drowsiness
-->helpful to diagnose neurological disorders
-->Good temporal resolution, poor spatial resolution


Neuroimaging of brain function: ( Magnetoencephalography (MEG))

-A neuroimaaging technique that measures the tiny magnetic fields created by the electrical activity of neurons in the brain
-good temporal resolution, poor spatial resolution


Neuroimaging of brain function: ( Positron emission tomography (PET scan))

-individual ingests a harmless does of a radioactive substance that enters the blood stream
-when the individual works on a cognitive task and blood flows to specific regions of the brain, the PET machine can detect the different levels of activity of the different regions of the brain
-can show metabolic activity of the brain; can target specific types of receptors
-poor spatial resolution, poor temporal resolution


Neuroimaging of brain function: ( Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI))

-Measures the differences in blood oxygen in the different regions of the brain over as an individual is doing cognitive task
-this functional map is then overlaid on the structural map to get an overall map of how much region of the brain is working on the task.


Sensation and Perception What's the difference

-information comes in through our senses
-our brains interpret this information
-you LOOK with your eyes, you SEE with your brain.



-stimulus-detection process
-Organs translate stimuli into nerve impulses



Organizing and giving meaning to input


The same sensory stimulus may be perceived differently contexts (example)

-The middle stimulus is physically identical in both words (TAE CAT), but tenss to be perceived as a 'h' on the left and a a on the right


From stimulus to perception

1 stimulus
-light, sound smell etc
2. Sensory Receptors
Eyes, ears, nose etc
3. Transduction
4. Neural impulse
5. Perception
Visual, auditory olfactory areas



-studies relations between physical characteristics of stimuli and sensory capabilities
-Concerned with two kinds of sensitivity (Absolute threshold and Difference threshold)


Absolute Threshold

-Asks about the absolute limits of sensitivity
--> How bright does a light have to be before we can see it
-The lowest intensity at which stimulus can be detected correctly 50% of the time
-->lower absolute threshold = greater sensitivity


Difference Threshold

-Asks about the difference between stimuli
-->What is the smallest difference in brightness that we can detect
-Smallest difference between two stimuli that can be detected 50% of the time
-->just noticeable difference (JND)
-Weber's Law


Weber's Law

-JND is proportional to the magnitude of the stimulus with which the comparison is being made
--> ie, it is more difficult to detect a given difference between magnitudes if those magnitudes are large instead of small (harder to detect a difference of 1 jelly bean if comparing jars of 1000 vs 999 beans than if comparing jars of 2 vs 3 beans


Sensory Adaptation

-Diminishing sensitivity to unchanging stimulus
-Occurs in all sensory modalities
-Adaptive Value
-->frees senses from the unchanging to be more sensitive to changes in the environment


What are the to different types of processing to turn sensory information into perceptual (broad)

Bottom- up and Top Down


Bottom-up Processing

Taking sensory information and then assembling and integrating it


Top -Down Processing

using models, ideas, and expectations to interpret sensory information
"is that something I've seen before"


Perceptual set

(example of top down influences)
when we see what we expect to see
(Loch Ness monster)


Context effect on perception (example)

In which picture does the center dot look bigger


What is the role of attention in perception

-Attention involves two processes:
-->focusing on certain stimuli
-->Filtering out other information
-Our attention can determine what we perceives, as seen with:
-->Divided attention
-->Selective attention
-->Inattentional blindness


Divided Attention

-multitasking or paying attention to more than one stimulus or task at a time
ex; talking on a cell phone while driving


Selective Attention

-Involves focusing on one stimulus or task while ignoring other stimuli
-studied using the dichotic listening task
-results suggest that much of the unattended channel goes unnoticed
-some exceptions (cocktail party effect)


Inattentional blindness

-when the effects of attention are so strong that we fail to see stimuli that are directly in front of our eyes
-eg when participants are asked to look at a fixation target while attending to another part of the screen, they may fail to notice changes in the shape of the fixation target.


Gestalt Principles of perceptual organizatrion

-Gestalt = pattern, shape, form
-->theorists argued that 'the wholes we perceive are more than the sum of their parts''
-Suggested perception was governed by laws that determined how things were grouped together
-->Gestalt laws of perceptual organization



-The most fundamental Gestalt principle
-Simplest from of organization, we pick out objects and figure standing against a background
--> can be ambiguous
-Ambiguity between figure and ground is the idea behind camouflage


what are the four Gestalt principles




elements that are close together



Similar items belong together



Elements link to from continuous line



Close open edges; perceive boundaries


Perceptual Constancies

-Refers to our ability to see objects as appearing constant colour, size, and shape, despite continual changes in our perspective (this is a top-down process)


Colour Constancy

-we see a consistent colour in changing illumination conditions
ex: the dice


Brightness Constancy

-We see a consistent brightness in changing shadow conditions (chest board)


Shape Constancy :

-We see a constant shape in an object despite receiving different sensory images of the shape
(closing and opening a door)


Size Constancy:

We see objects as having a constant size, despite changes to the sensory input with variation in distance


Depth Perception

-Image on the retina is 2D
-->but we live in an 3-D world
-How do we percieve depth from a 2-D image
Monocular cues and binocular cues


Monocular Cues: (in general)

Depth can be perceived with one eye


Binocular Cues (in General)

Depth perceived with two eyes
-Relative Motion
-When we are moving , we can tell which are farther away because it takes them longer to pass by


Monocular Cues: Accommodation

-We can detect changes in the space of our lens as a cue to distance


Monocular Cues:-Relative Motion

-Relative Motion
-When we are moving , we can tell which are farther away because it takes them longer to pass by


Monocular Cues

-When one object appears to block the view of another, we assume the blocked object is farther


Monocular depth cue : Realative Size

we interpret familiar objects as farther away when they appear smaller


Monocular depth cue: Linear perspective

we see parallel lines as converging in the distance


Monocular depth cue : Linear perspective

-The Ponzo illusion: our perception of distance affects our perception of length


Monocular depth cue : Light and shadow

-shadows can give clues to the locations and sizes of objects


Retinal Disparity

-two eyes recieve different visual images
-Feature detectors analyze differences



Feedback from ocular muscles when focusing on something distant and then close


What is the stimulus that our visual system processes?

Light or waves of electromagnetic radiation
-Our eyes respond to some of these waves (around 360-750 nm)


What do we perceive the wavelength/frequency and amplitude/height of the light waves as

Colour and brightness


The order light enters the eye

light from the pencil travels through the cornea and the pupil, and gets focused and inverted by the lens
The light then lands on the retina, where the light waves are tranduced into a neural signal


Layer 1 of the eye

-Transduce light into neural impulse
Rods and cones



-Function best in low ilumination
-Found mostly in periphery of retina and non in fovea



-For colour and detail
-Function best in high illumination
-Concentrated in fovea,
center of retina


Dark Adaption:

-Progressive improvement in brightness sensitivity in low illumination
-Rod and cones adapt differently
-->cones adapt after 10 minutes
-->Rods after 30 minutes


Layer 2 of the eye

Bipolar cells
-Rods and cones have synaptic connections with bipolar cells
_cones have one-to-ine connection
-many rods connect to a single bipolar cell


Layer 3 of the eye

Ganglion Cells
-Bipolar cells synapse with ganglion cells
-Axons of ganglion cell form the optic nerve


Optic disc

-An area of the retina that contains no rods or cones because this is the point where the optic nerve leaves the eye


Trichromatic Theory (Young-Helmholtz):

-Three types of colour receptors in retina
--> Individual cones most sensitive to blue, green, or red wavelength of light
-Visual system combines activity from these cells to perceive all the colours


Problems with the Trichromatic Theory (Young-Helmholtz)

cannot explain why red-green colour blind individuals can perceive yellow
-cannot explain afterimages'
-->stare at red, look away you'll see green
--> Stare at blue, look way you'll see yellow


Opponent-Process Theory

-Three cones types, and each responds to to different wavelengths
red or green
blue or yellow
black or white
Explains afterimages
-Neural processes become fatigued
-Have rebound effect with receptor responding with opponent, opposite reaction


Comparison between the two colour vision theory

-Both the trichromatic and opponent-process theories are correct!
-3 types of cones, each maximally sensitive to blue, green or red wavelengths of light
-Opponent processes occur further along in the visual system


Where does the impulse go after the eye

Thalmus to primary visual cortex (occipital lobe)
-->specific regions of retina are processed in specific areas of the cortex
-Fovea has large representation in visual cortex


Feature Detectors

-Cells in the primary visual cortex that are very particular about what will make them fire
--> Hubel and Wiesel (1962)


What begins the visual process
and then from there enters two main pathways

-Feature detectors begin the visual process by firing to specific shapes, colours, depth, movements, directions, etc ... of a stimulus
-The ventral Steam
-The dorsal Stream


The steps in taking the simulus of light and turning it into the mental act of seeing
(The active process of perception)

light waves --> transduction --> neural signal --> features --> objects
-Parallel processing: different areas of the brain process different aspects of a stimulus
(colour, motion, form, depth )


The 2 characteristics of the auditory System and the stimulus :

the stimulus: Sound Waves
-Frequency (pitch) and amplitude (loudness)


Conduction Hearing Loss

When the middle ear isn't conduction sound well to the cochlea


Sensorineural Hearing Loss:

when the receptor cells aren't sending messages through the auditory nerve


Auditory Canal

Conducts sound waves to eardrum



Flexible outer flap of the ear, which channels sound waves into the ear canal



Membrane that vibrates in response to sound waves


Semicircular Canal

One of three fluid-filled structures that play a role in balance



Converts vibration into neural activity



Bones of the middle ear


things can cause hearing loss

exposure to sounds that are too loud to talk over this can cause damage to the hair cells
-Structures of the middle and inner ear can also be damaged by disease


Treating Hearing Loss:

-Conduction hearing loss helped with hearing aids that amplify the sounds
-Sensorineural hearing loss helped with cochlear implant that translate sound waves into signals that the brain can process


What does loudness mean in the auditory system

refers to more intense sound vibrations


How can the brain interpret loudness (3)

-The firing rate of the hair cells
--> Higher amplitude sound waves cause greater release of neurotransmitter, resulting in higher firing rate
The number of hair cells firing
->Higher amplitude sound waves move more hair cells than softer sounds
-The type of hair cell firing
--> Certain neurons fire only to specific amplitudes


How does the inner ear turn sound frequency into neural frequency
(the two theories)

Frequency Theory
Place Theory


Frequency Theory

Nerve impulses 'match' frequency of wave
--> Eg: 1000 Hz = 1000 impulses/second
-Does not work for frequencies above 1000 Hz
--> use the volley principle: receptor cells fire in succession, combing signals to reach high er firing rates


Place Theory

-Specific frequencies peak at certain places on the cochlea, depending on the pitch
-The brain reads pitch by reading the location where the signals are coming from


What are the two ways binaural hearing us localize sound

-Timing of sounds
--> sounds arrive at closest ear first
-Intensity of sounds
-->SOund arriving at closest ear will be more intense


Impulses from the ear go where

to the thalamus to the primary auditory cortex (temporal lobe )
--> specific regions of the cochlea are represented in specific areas of the cortex
-From there, signals go to the secondary auditory cortex
--> interprets complex sound (speech and music)



philosophical tenet that knowledge comes through experience. Empiricism means that knowledge about the world is based on careful observation, not on common sense or speculation.



the belief that all events are governed by lawful, cause-and-effect relationships. While we certainly feel as if we are in control of our own behaviours, there are compelling reasons to believe that some of our behaviours are determined.



refers to a general set of beliefs of a particular culture at a specific time in history. Used to understand why some ideas take off immediately, whereas other perfectly good ideas may go unnoticed for years.



the belief that humans, and other living things, are composed exclusively of physical matter. Accepting this idea means that we are nothing more than complex machines that lack a self-conscious, self-controlling soul.



opposing belief, that there are properties of humans that are not material (a mind or soul separate from the body).



the study of the relationship between the physical world and the mental representation of the world.


clinical psychology

the field of psychology that concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders.


Brain localization

: the idea that certain parts of the brain control specific mental abilities and personality traits.



: a psychological approach that attempts to explain how behaviour and personality are influenced by unconscious processes.



a combination of ability, morality, and achievement. Observation supporting his claim for a hereditary basis for eminence was the closer a relative, the more similar the traits.


Nature and nurture relationships

the inquiry into how heredity (nature) and environment (nurture) influence behaviour and mental processes.



good genes



an attempt to analyze conscious experience by breaking it down into basic elements, and to understand how these elements work together. Believed that mental experiences were made up of a limited number of sensations, which were analogous to elements in physics and chemistry.



the study of the purpose and functions of behaviour and conscious experience. In order to fully understand a behaviour, one must try to figure out what purpose it may have served over the course of our evolution.


Evolutionary psychology

approach that interprets and explains modern human behaviour in terms of forces acting upon our distant ancestors. Our brains and behaviours have been shaped by the physical and social environment that our ancestors encountered.



: an approach that dominated the first half of the 20th century of North American psychology and had a singular focus on studying only observable behaviour, with little to no reference to mental events or instincts as possible influences on behaviour.


Humanistic psychology

focuses on the unique aspects of each individual human, each person’s freedom to act, his or her rational thought, and the belief that humans are fundamentally different from other animals. Humanistic psychologists sought to understand the meaning of personal experience.


Gestalt psychology

approach emphasizing that psychologists need to focus on the whole of perception and experience, rather than its parts.


Cognitive psychology

modern psychological perspective that focuses on processes such as memory, thinking, and language. Thus, much of what cognitive psychologists study consists of mental processes that are inferred through rigorous experimentation


social psychology

the study of influence of other people on our behaviour


Personality psychology

the study of how different personality characteristics can influence how we think and act.


Cross-cultural psychology

field that draws comparisons about individual and group behaviour among cultures; it helps us understand the role of society in shaping behaviour, beliefs, and values. This type of research allows us to examine how people respond when being pulled in different directions by family history and the culture of their current country of residence.



individuals with this condition experience blended perceptions, such that affected individuals might actually hear colours or feel sounds


Somatosensory cortex

the neural region associated with your sense of touch.



the active, exploratory aspect of touch sensation and perception. Haptics allows us not only to identify objects, but also to avoid damaging or dropping them.



: the sense of bodily motion and position. Receptors for kinesthesis reside in the muscles, joints and tendons. These receptors transmit information about movement and the position of your muscles, limbs, and joints to the brain.



the activity of nerve pathways that respond to uncomfortable stimulation. Nociceptors are receptors that initiate pain messages that travel to the central nervous system.


Gate-control theory:

explains our experience of pain as an interaction between nerves that transmit pain messages and those that inhibit these messages. Cells in the spinal cord regulate how much pain signalling reaches the brain. Spinal cord (serves as a neural gate that pain messages must pass through) contains small nerve fibres (rubbing, pinching, tickling), whereas larger fibres inhibit pain signals. Large fibres close the gate that is opened by the smaller fibres


Phantom limb sensations:

frequently experienced by amputees, who report pain and other sensations coming from the absent limb. Healthy nerve cells become hypersensitive when they lose connections. The phantom sensations, including pain, may occur because the nerve cells in the cortex continue to be active, despite the absence of any input from the body. Mirror box therapy: amputees often find that watching themselves move and stretch the phantom hand, which is actually the mirror image of the real hand, results in a significant decrease in phantom pain and in both physical and emotional discomfort. This therapy may actually result in reorganization of the somatosensory cortex.


Gustatory system

functions in the sensation and perception of taste


Primary tastes

include salty, sweet, bitter, and sour. A fifth taste, called unami, sometimes refers to “savouriness”, is a Japanese word that refers to tastes associated with seaweed, MSG, and protein-rich foods such as milk and aged cheese.


gustatory cortex

region located in the back of the frontal lobes and extends inward to the insula


Secondary gustatory cortex

processes the pleasurable experiences associated with food.



people who account for approximately 25% of the population, are especially sensitive to bitter tastes such as those of broccoli and black coffee.


Olfactory system:

involved in smell – the detection of airborne particles with specialized receptors located in the nose. Sensation of smell begins with nasal air flow bringing in molecules that bind with receptors at the top of the nasal cavity.


Olfactory epithelium:

a thin layer of cells within the naval cavity that are lined by sensory receptors called cilia (tiny hair-like projections that contain specialized proteins that bind with airborne molecules that enter the naval cavity.


multimodel integration

the ability to combine sensation from different modalities such as vision and hearing into a single integrated perception.
-- Link between taste and smell is a perfect example


McGurk Effect

phenomenon, for example, when the movement of a speaker’s lips provided the viewer with the expectation of a particular sound; this expectation biased the perception of the presented sounds.