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PSYC 3702 Study Guide - Final Guide: Brainstem, Proprioception, Thermoception

Course Code
PSYC 3702
Brian Tansley
Study Guide

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1. Discuss the potentially adaptive role of polysensory experience in gustatory
a. Potentially adaptive = means it increases your chance of survival.
Polysensory experience in taste can potentially increase your chances of
survival by helping you find nutrients. (Yantis from textbook asks if 5
senses are necessary)
2. Put the following events in chronological order from first to last:  Action Potential
a. potassium channels close
b. sodium channels open on the axonal membrane
c. potassium ions flow out of the neuron, causing repolarization
d. refractory period
e. hyperpolarization
f. sodium ions flow into the axon causing depolarization
g. neuron receives a signal from other neurons
h. sodium channels close, potassium channels open
3. The number of distinct nouns and adjectives in a language that refer to specific
colours appears to be unrelated to the physiology of the visual system, since
almost all of the people tested throughout the world are trichromatic.
Nevertheless, there are wide differences across cultures in the presence of
colour names in languages. To what does the incidence of colour naming words
in a language appear to be related?
4. List and describe the 3 important (non touch) sensor classes in the skin.
5. Discuss the term visual crowding and provide an example of an application of its
a. Known as image clutter in the text book?
b. Many objects arrayed in a 3D space, some objects may be covering or partially
covering others
6. When presented with a sequence of repetitively presented sounds, listeners tend
to hear the sounds differentiated into ‘orderly’ groupings. This process is referred
to as “auditory stream segregation”. Describe two Gestalt Laws that predict which
sonic elements within a sequence will be grouped and which will be segregated.
7. Selective adaptation has been referred to as the psychologist’s “electrode”.
a. Selective Adaptation refers to the tendency to give a diminished response when
faced with sustained stimuli. For example, bright neon pink highlights will surely
catch your attention and help you pick out pertinent information, but over time
you tend to get used to it, and it eventually loses its ability to catch your attention.
b. psychologist’s “electrode” = diminished response to a sustained stimulus.
8. List and briefly describe six varieties of attention.
9. The energy of an acoustic stimulus is transformed 4 times before it results in
shearing forces on the inner hair cells of the organ of Corti. What are these four
transformations and where do they occur?
10. What two aspects of the acoustic stimulus are processed by what brainstem
structures in auditory pathway to extract information regarding the location of a
sound source on the horizontal plane?

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11. The sound pressure level of stimulus A, measured at a particular location, was 50
dB. Stimulus B’s sound pressure level was measured at the same location and
also found to be 50 dB. What is the sound pressure level at that location when
both Stimulus A and B are presented at the same time? Explain how you made
the calculation.
12. Compare and contrast the sense of smell and taste.
13. Why is a person who enjoyed music when their hearing was normal not able to
enjoy music after having been fitted with a cochlear implant?
14. When the visual cues for the location of a sound-generating object are at odds
with the object’s auditory cues, vision rules. Explain.
15. Explain the term “Perceptual binding” and discuss the challenge it provides
researchers studying perception.
16. Describe the phenomenon of the ‘missing fundamental’ and explain its
implications for how the nervous system codes sound.
17. Describe polymodal sensory neurons including where they are found in the brain.
Speculate on their role in perception. Provide an example to support your
18. For people with normal colour vision, if you shine lights of different frequencies
(e.g., a green monochromatic light and a red monochromatic light) on the same
location in space the resulting colour is typically not recognizable as either red or
green (it is seen as yellow). For people with normal hearing what happens when
you play two ‘pure tones’ of different frequencies? What does this tell us about
the way chromatic stimuli are coded in the visual system and the auditory
a. This question comes from two different parts of the course. When you play
two notes on the piano you hear two notes. When you see two colour
beams together you see one mixed light. So the auditory and visual
system process stimuli different.
19. Compare and contrast the physical properties of speech sounds and musical
a. Same: both have temporal elements, both vary in frequency and
amplitude, forms of communication through the auditory channel,
temporally co-herent (the brain combines the sounds through prosody),
b. Different: no direct connection between language and music but there is a
connection between speech and music (must understand language),
doesn’t have a linguistic link, both receive information at hescles gyros but
only music in broakas area
20. Describe polymodal sensory neurons including where they are found in the brain.
Speculate on their role in perception. Provide an example to support your
speculation. Explain the nature of the hearing loss in a person exposed to loud
noise at work over the course of years.
21. Describe the location and purpose of proprioceptors and explain how they
contribute to perception.
22. What do the fovea, the olfactory epithelium, the 2nd turn of the cochlea, the
anterior third of the tongue and the tips of the thumbs and index fingers have in

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a. Same: high concentration of receptors, low amount of convergence
(project to one neuron), largest volume of cortex to tissue area, represent
areas of brain with highest special and temporal resolution (they can
detect smallest movements), all embryologically part of the dermis layer.
b. Different:
23. Explain the mechanism allowing for the perception of the location of sound
sources on the mid-saggital plane (that is, that differ only with respect to their
elevation at the centre of gaze).
24. Describe the procedure used to measure the frequency response properties of a
neuron in the acoustic branch of cranial nerve VIII. Draw and label a typical
frequency response curve for such a neuron.
25. You work as a designer in the wired hardware division of a large national
communications firm. Your main competitor’s ‘flagship’ office telephone (and the
industry’s market share leader) has an ergonomic handset that weighs 230g. In a
comparative product study you found participants preferred the “quality feel” of
the heavier handset to that of your company’s current product, which weighs
140g. At a meeting summarizing the results and recommendations from the study
you propose to increase the weight of your product’s handsets. If the Weber
fraction for hand-held weight is 0.1, what is the minimum weight that you’ll want
to increase your product by so that your product is < 1 j.n.d. in weight compared
to the handset of your competitor?
a. 230g x 0.1 Weber fration = 23 = best feel at 207g min weight
26. In musical notation a ‘note’ can vary in both pitch and tone height. How are these
different? How are the two typically represented, graphically?
27. Describe the functional properties of the central fovea of human vision.
a. Foveal  fovea contains only a high density of cones. No rods. Retinal ganglion
cell have smaller receptive fields, highest possible visual acuity. Finer details
28. Describe the ‘frequency to place transformation’ that occurs in the auditory
pathway and explain how it is preserved to primary auditory cortex.
29. What is the Principle of Univariance and how does it help explain some of the
colour vision phenomena we observe?
a. Cones: respond to differences in light intensity more than differences in
b. Rods: respond to differences in wavelength more than differences in light
c. Different colours are experienced as different shades of grey at night when vision
is mostly with rods
d. The absorption of a long wavelength (low frequency, low energy) quantum has
the same effect on a receptor as the absorption of a short wavelength (high
frequency, high energy) quantum. It is the probability of absorption that
changes photoreceptor sensitivity.
30. “Memory colour” and “phonemic perception” are examples (albeit in different
sensory modalities) of what perceptual property? What implications does this
have for conscious experience. Speculate about why this might be a useful
perceptual coding strategy?
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