Sensation and Perception Rapid Review for AP Psychology (page 2)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Mar 4, 2011

Hearing and the human ear:

Audition—the sense of hearing. The loudness of a sound is determined by the amplitude or height of the sound wave.

Frequency—the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given amount of time. The wavelength is inversely proportional to the frequency. Frequency or wavelength determines the hue of a light wave and the pitch of a sound.

Pitch—the highness or lowness of a sound. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency, the higher the pitch. The longer the wavelength, the lower the frequency, the lower the pitch.

Timbre—the quality of a sound determined by the purity of a waveform. What makes a note of the same pitch and loudness sound different on different musical instruments.

Sound localization—the process by which you determine the location of a sound. The outer ear includes the pinna, the auditory canal, and the eardrum. The middle ear includes three tiny bones: the hammer, anvil, and stirrup. The inner ear includes the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.

Cochlea—snail-shaped fluid-filled tube in the inner ear with hair cells on the basilar membrane that transduce mechanical energy of vibrating molecules to the electrochemical energy of neural impulses. Hair cell movement triggers impulses in adjacent nerve fibers.

Auditory nerve—axons of neurons in the cochlea converge transmitting sound messages through the medulla, pons, and thalamus to the auditory cortex of the temporal lobes.

Place theory—the position on the basilar membrane at which waves reach their peak depends on the frequency of a tone. Accounts well for high-pitched sounds.

Frequency theory—the rate of the neural impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of a tone, enabling you to sense its pitch. Frequency theory explains well how you hear low-pitched sounds.

Conduction deafness—loss of hearing that results when the eardrum is punctured or any of the ossicles lose their ability to vibrate. A hearing aid may restore hearing.

Nerve (sensorineural) deafness—loss of hearing that results from damage to the cochlea, hair cells, or auditory neurons. Cochlear implants may restore some hearing.

Other senses:

Somatosensation—the skin sensations: touch/pressure, warmth, cold, and pain.

Gate-control theory—pain is experienced only if the pain messages can pass through a gate in the spinal cord on their route to the brain. The gate is opened by small nerve fibers that carry pain signals and closed by neural activity of larger nerve fibers, which conduct most other sensory signals, or by information coming from the brain.

Kinesthesis—body sense that provides information about the position and movement of individual parts of your body with receptors in muscles, tendons, and joints.

Vestibular sense—body sense of equilibrium with hairlike receptors in semicircular canals and vestibular sac in the inner ear.

Gustation—the chemical sense of taste with receptor cells in taste buds in fungiform papillae on the tongue, on the roof of the mouth, in the throat. Molecules must dissolve to be sensed. Five basic taste sensations are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and newly added to the list, umami or glutamate. Flavor is the interaction of sensations of taste and odor with contributions by temperature, etc.

Olfaction—the chemical sense of smell with receptors in a mucous membrane (olfactory epithelium) on the roof of the nasal cavity. Molecules must reach the membrane and dissolve to be sensed. Olfactory receptors synapse immediately with neurons of the olfactory bulbs in the brain with no pathways to the thalamus.

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