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PSYC 1F90 Study Guide - Final Guide: Middle Ear, Action Potential, Aerial Perspective

Course Code
John Mitterer
Study Guide

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Section 3: Sensation, Perception, and Attention
Perception Denitions
Distal stimulus: the actual or real stimulus, the tangible item
Proximal stimulus: the pattern of energy falling on the sense
receptor, what the sense “sees”
Percept: our experience of perception of a stimulus, how we
interpret it
Illusion: a discrepancy between distal stimulus and percept
Naïve realism: a “common sense” theory of perception, stating
that what we perceive is the actual reality or that the senses
provide a direct awareness of the external world, however this
theory does not address the issue of the variability of perception
Constructivism: the theory that our perceptual experience is
constructed from incoming sensory information, accounts that
there is variability in perception (percept is NOT necessarily an
exact representation of the distal stimulus)
Bottom-up processing: organizing perceptions by beginning with
low level features, beginning with small sensory units moving
towards a construction of a complete perception
Top-down processing: applying higher level knowledge to rapidly
organize sensory information into a meaningful perception,
based on the use of preexisting knowledge and the observer’s
concepts and expectations
Gestalt Principles
Figure-ground organization: part of a stimulus appears to stand
out as an object (gure) against a less prominent background
(ground) (in
reversible gures
the gure and ground are
Nearness: stimuli that are near each other tend to be
constructed or grouped together (ex. three people standing close
appear as a group, while one standing far away appears
Similarity: stimuli that are similar in size, shape, colour or form
tend to be grouped together (ex. two bands wearing the same
colour appear as one)
Continuation or Continuity: perceptions tend toward simplicity
and continuity (ex. it is easier to visualize a wavy line through a
squared one than imagine a complex pattern of shapes)
Closure: the tendency to complete a gure so that it has a
consistent overall form (ex. an incomplete circle will be mentally
completed and still perceived as a circle)
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