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PSYB51H3 (301)
Chapter 1

PSYB51 Chapter 1 Definitions

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Matthias Niemeier

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 fall on the diagonal, indicating that the observer cannot tell
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