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PSYCH 101 Textbook Summary [Midterms #3 & #4] File contains concise, easy-to-read summaries of assigned textbook readings. Readings arranged chronologically by when they were assigned for ease of use; organized by chapter for increased readability.

Course Code
Steve Spencer
Study Guide

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Chapter 16
- Visual Capture: The tendency for vision to dominate our other senses.
o EX. If we hear a sound from a projector behind us we perceive the sound to be coming
from the screen where the actors are talking.
- To transform sensory information into meaningful perceptions, we must organize it: We must
perceive objects as distinct from their surroundings, see them as having a meaningful and
constant form, and discern their distance and motion.
- A group of German psychologists discovered that when given a cluster of sensations, we tend to
organize them into a gestalt (: an organized whole).
- Figure-Ground: The organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from
their surroundings (the ground).
- Grouping: The perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups.
o Proximity: We group nearby figures together.
o Similarity: We group together figures that are similar to each other.
o Continuity: We perceive smooth, continuous patterns rather than discontinuous ones.
o Connectedness
o Closure: We fill in gaps to create a complete, whole object.
- Depth Perception: The ability to objects in three dimensions although the images that strike our
retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance.
- Binocular cues: Depth cues, such as retinal disparity (: A binocular cue for perceiving depth by
comparing images from the two eyeballs. The brain computes distance the greater the
disparity between the two images. The closer the object) and convergence (: A binocular cue for
perceiving depth; the extent to which the eyes converge inward when looking at an object. The
greater the inward strain, the closer the object), which depend on the use of two eyes.
- Monocular cues: Depth cues, such as interposition (: If one object partially blocks our view of
another, we perceive it as closer) and linear perspective (: Parallel lines appear to converge with
distance), available to either eye alone.
o Relative Size: If we assume that two objects are similar in size, we perceive the one that
casts a smaller retinal image to be farther away.
o Relative Clarity: We perceive hazy objects as farther away than sharp, clear objects.
o Texture Gradient: A gradual change from a coarse, distinct texture to a fine, indistinct
texture signals increasing distance.
o Relative Height: We perceive objects higher in our field of vision as farther away

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o Light & Shadow: Nearby objects reflect more light to our eyes. Given two identical
objects, the dimmer one seems farther away.
- Stroboscopic Movement: Perceiving continuous movement in a series of slightly varying images.
o EX. Animation.
- Phi Phenomenon: An illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on
and off in quick succession.
- Perceptual Consistency: Perceiving objects as unchanging even as illumination and retinal
images change.
- Size Constancy: We perceive objects as having a constant size, even while our distance from
them varies.
o EX. We can tell that a car is big enough carry people even if it looks small from far away.
- Lightness Constancy: We perceive an object as having a constant lightness even while its
illumination varies.
Chapter 17
- If somebody is blind at birth but then regains their sight later in life they will have a hard time
recognizing objects by sight that they recognized by touch. These experiments indicate that
there is a critical period shortly after birth an optimal time when certain events must take
place for normal sensory and perceptual development.
- Perceptual Adaption: In vision, the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted
visual field.
- Perceptual Set: A mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another.
- Human Factor Psychologists: A branch of psychology that explores how people and machines
interact and how machines and physical environments can be made safe and easy to use.
- Technology developers often suffer the “curse of knowledge,” which leads them to assume that
others share their expertise.
Chapter 29
- Cognition: The mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering and

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- Cognitive Psychologists: People who study the mental activities of understanding, remembering
and communicating.
- Concept: a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas or people.
o EX. The concept “chair” includes all different kinds of chairs like high chairs and dentist
- Prototype: A mental image or best example of a category.
- Algorithm: A methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem.
- Heuristic: A simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgments and solve problems
- Confirmation Bias: A tendency to search for information that confirms one’s preconceptions.
- Fixation: The inability to see a problem from a new perspective.
- Mental Set: A tendency to approach a problem in a particular way, often a way that has been
successful in the past.
- Functional Fixedness: The tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions.
- Representativeness Heuristics: Judging the likelihood of things In terms of how well they seem
to represent or match particular prototypes.
- Availability Heuristics: Estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory.
- Framing: The way an issue is posed.
o EX. A surgery has a 90% survival rate; a surgery has a 10% death rate.
- Belief Bias: The tendency for one’s preexisting beliefs to distort logical reasoning, sometimes by
making invalid conclusions seem valid or vice-versa.
- Belief Perseverance: Clinging to one’s initial conceptions after the bias on which they were
formed has been discredited.
Chapter 47
- When behavior is deviant, distressful and dysfunctional it is labeled a disorder.
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