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PSYB51H3 (300)
Chapter 1

PSYB51H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Monism, Absolute Threshold, Panpsychism

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Matthias Niemeier

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Chapter 1 Definitions
adaptation: a reduction in response caused by prior or continuing stimulation
sensory transducer: a receptor that converts physical energy from the environment into
neural activity *
nativism: the idea that the mind produces idea that are not derived from external sources,
and that we have abilities that are innate and not learned
dualism: the idea that both mind and body exist
monism: the idea that the mind and matter are formed from, or reducible to, a single
ultimate substance or principle of being
materialism: the idea that physical matter is the only reality, and everything including the
mind can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena. Materialism is a
type of monism
mentalism: the idea that the mind is the true reality and objects exist only as aspects of
the mind’s awareness. Mentalism is a type of monism
mind-body dualism: originated by Rene Descartes, the idea positing the existence of two
distant principles of being in the universe; spirit/soul and matter/body
empiricism: the idea that experience from the senses is the only source of knowledge
panpsychism: the idea that all matter has consciousness (Fechner)
psychophysics: the science of defining quantitative relationships between physical and
psychological (subjective) events
just noticeable difference (JND): the smallest detectable difference between two stimuli,
or the minimum change in a stimulus that can be correctly judged as different from a
reference stimulus. Also known as difference threshold.
two-point threshold: the minimum distance at which two stimuli (ex. two simultaneous
touches) are perceptible as separate
Weber fraction: the constant of proportionality in Weber’s law
Weber’s law: the principle that the JND is a constant fraction of the comparison stimulus
Fechner’s law: a principle describing the relationship between stimulus magnitude and
resulting sensation magnitude such that the magnitude of subjective sensation
increases proportionally to the logarithm of the stimulus intensity.
absolute threshold: the minimum amount of stimulation necessary for a person to detect
a stimulus 50% of the time
method of constant stimuli: a psychophysical method in which many stimuli, ranging
from rarely to almost always perceivable (or rarely to almost always perceivable
different from a reference stimulus), are present one at a time. Participants respond
to each presentation: “yes/no”, “same/different”, and so on
method of limits: a psychophysical method in which the particular dimension of a
stimulus, or the difference between two stimuli, is varied incrementally until the
participant responds differently
method of adjustment: the method of limits for which the subject controls the change in
the stimulus
receiver operating characteristics (ROC): in studies of signal detection, the graphical
plot of the hit rate as a function of the false alarm rate. If these are the same, points
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