Study Guide for Exam 2 th
Exam Date: Friday, March 15 in class
1. What is selective attention? Know some of the experiments that show that we often don’t pay attention to our
Selective attention is the ability to focus on only one stimulus from among all sensory input (i.e. when Prof. Wede left
the classroom and changed his shirt while showing us a video and no one really noticed until he pointed it out)
2. What is inattentional blindness?
Inattentional blindness is the failure to notice an unexpected stimulus that is in one's eyesight when other attention
demanding tasks are being performed. This typically happens because humans are overloaded with stimuli and it is
impossible to pay attention to all stimuli in one's environment. This is due to the fact that they are unaware of the
Lecture 7 and Chapter 3 (pgs 95-100)
1. Know that the light we see is only a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
2. Know how wavelength and amplitude (intensity) are related to the psychological dimensions of color (hue) and
Wavelength (hue/color): distance from peak of 1 wave to peak of another/ hue is determined by wavelength i.e. different
wavelengths equals different colors
Amplitude/Intensity (brightness/loudness): amount of energy in a wave/related to perceived brightness
3. Know the parts of the eye that we discussed in class.
Cornea: transparent tissue where lights enters the eye
Iris: muscle that expands/contracts to change the size of the opening
Pupil: adjustable opening that lets light into the eye
Lens: focuses light rays on retina
Retina: contains sensory receptors that process visual info and send it to the brain
4. What is the difference between nearsightedness and farsightedness?
Nearsightedness: image is focused on the front of the eye (can’t see far away objects)
Farsightedness: image is focused behind retina (can’t see up close objects)
5. Know the blind spot, and why it arises.
The blind spot is the point where the optic nerve leaves the eye; there are no photoreceptor cells present.
6. What are the differences between rods and cones?
Rods: visual sensory receptors found at the back of the retina that are responsible for non-color sensitivity to low levels
Cones: visual sensory receptors found at the back of the retina that are responsible for color vision and sharpness of
7. Know the tri-chromatic and opponent-process theories of color vision.
Trichromatic theory: the theory of color vision that proposes three types of cones: red, blue & green. The three types of
cones combine to form as many different colors as they can from these three colors. When all three combine at their
highest level we see white. 8. Be able to describe what color blindness is and what the perception is like (in general). Which theory can account for
Color-blindness is the dichromatic theory of color vision in which someone’s cones have an issue with the color-sensing
pigments, i.e. some red cones may be filled with green color-sensing pigments. Generally, colorblind people have
trouble distinguishing between red and green.
9. What is an afterimage? Which theory can account for their appearance?
An afterimage is an image that occurs when a visual sensation persists for a brief time even after the original stimulus is
removed. The opponent-process theory accounts for their appearance; this theory claims that we process four primary
colors opposed in pars of red-green, blue-yellow and black-white. The competition between colors explains afterimages.
Lecture 8 and Chapter 3 (pgs 112-123)
1. Know what figure and ground are.
Figure-ground: the tendency to perceive objects, or figures, as existing on a background, i.e. either see 2 faces or a vase
but not both at the same time
2. Know the Gestalt grouping principles – proximity, similarity, continuity, connectedness, closure and common fate.
Proximity: the tendency to perceive objects that are close to each other as part of the same grouping
Similarity: the tendency to perceive things that look similar to each other as being part of the same group
Closure: the tendency to complete figures that are incomplete
Continuity: the tendency to perceive things as simply as possible with a continuous pattern rather than with a complex,
Connectedness: the tendency to perceive uniform or linked spots, lines, or areas as a single unit
Common fate: the tendency to perceive aspects of a perceptual field that move or function in a similar manner as a unit
3. What are the two binocular cues to depth perception and how do they work.
Convergence: when our eyes move together to focus on something close
Divergence: when our eyes move far apart for distant objects
4. Know the monocular cues for perceiving depth - relative size, interposition (occlusion), aerial perspective, texture
gradient, linear perspective and motion parallax.
Relative size: if two objects are similar in size we perceive one that casts a smaller retinal image as farther away
Occlusion (interposition): one object blocks our view of another
Aerial perspective: light passes through atmosphere, i.e. more atmosphere equals haze and clear objects are closer
Linear perspective: parallel lines appear to converge with distance, the more they converge the greater the perceived
Texture gradient: we see fewer details the farther away an object is
Motion parallax: close objects appear to move more quickly
5. What is a perceptual constancy? Know size, shape and color constancies.
Perceptual constancy is the act of perceiving the properties of an object to remain the same even though the physical
properties are changing (stimulus changes but percept stays the same).
Shape constancy: shape perception stays the same while the retinal image is different
Size constancy: object is perceived as same size although retinal image grows
Color constancy: perceived color of objects remains constant under varying conditions
Lecture 9 and Chapter 8 (pgs 296-324)
1. Know what conception is, and that the embryo grows quickly. What is DNA and what are genes? Know the difference
between monozygotic and dizygotic twins.
Conception: when a single sperm cell meets a single egg cell.
DNA: molecule containing genetic material that makes up all individual humans Genes: section of DNA having same arrangement of chemical elements
Monozygotic twins: twins that form from the same egg and therefore are identical
Dizygotic twins: twins that form from two different fertilized eggs that are not identical but rather fraternal
2. Know what a teratogen is. In particular, know fetal alcohol syndrome and the associated symptoms.
A teratogen is any substance that can harm a fetus i.e. alcohol, dugs, etc. Some of the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
include a small head, brain abnormalities and retardation.
3. How can we measure what infants know (habituation)?
We can measure what babies know by noting their habituation, or their decreased responsiveness with repeated
stimulation, to faces, numbers, and the differences between shapes and colors.
4. Know how brain develops prenatally and after birth.
Prenatally, the brain overproduces neurons (28 billion @ 7 mos. In womb) and after birth, the brain produces less (23
5. What is the typical course of motor development in infants?
The typical course of motor development in infants is as follows:
* Experience has little effect on this sequence
6. What is a schema? Know assimilation and accommodation.
Schema: a mental concept formed through experiences with objects and events
Assimilation: the interpretation of new information in terms of existing experiences
Accommodation: the adaptation/adjustment of our schemas to fit new experiences
7. Know Piaget’s stages of cognitive development. What are object permanence, conservation, egocentric, and theory of
1. Sensorimotor (birth -2)
a. Take in world through senses
b. Gain object permanence (things exist even when out of sight)
2. Preoperational (2-7)
a. Learn language but don’t understand logic
b. Children are egocentric (can’t take another’s viewpoint)
c. Start to form a theory of mind (ideas about own/other’s mental states and how feelings/thoughts predict
3. Concrete Operational (7-11)
a. Gain mental operations that enable them to think logically
b. Understand conservation
c. Gain an understanding of mathematical transformations
4. Formal Operational (11+)
a. Can think logically about abstract concepts
b. Probably begins earlier than Piaget believed
8. What are some criticisms of Piaget’s theory?
Contemporary beliefs support continuous development unlike Piaget and contemporary beliefs also suggest that he
underestimated the abilities of young children. 9. Know what stranger anxiety is.
Stranger anxiety is a form of distress that children experience when exposed to people unfamiliar to them. It develops
around 8 months old.
10. Know how attachments can develop, including Harlow’s studies on monkeys.
Attachments mainly develop from bodily contact, as seen in Harlow’s studies with monkeys. The monkeys were
provided with two “mothers,” one that provided food and one that provided comfort and they preferr