AP Psychology : Perception

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Perception

You are reading a sign. Only half of the letters are present, yet you are still able to guess what the sign should say if it were complete. What is this called?

Possible Answers:

Gestalt's principles

Meaningful inference

Top-down processing

The law of assumptions

Instinct theory

Correct answer:

Top-down processing

Explanation:

A big part of the way humans learn is by starting with a very general concept, and then organizing more detailed concepts within that general paradigm. This means that concepts we have learned before can influence new ideas and concepts that we are learning. When reading a sign, you use your previous knowledge of possible words and phrases, and put that together with the sensory knowledge you acquire from the sign.

Gestalt's principles do reference the phenomena of the mind making a whole based on small parts, but generally refers to visual construction as opposed to semantic meaning. 

Example Question #2 : Perception

How does prosopagnosia affect the intake of information?

Possible Answers:

One's perception of time and space is altered

One's motor coordination is bolstered

One's ability to recognize faces is impaired

The ability to sense one's limbs and body in space is impaired

The "phantom limb" phenomenon occurs

Correct answer:

One's ability to recognize faces is impaired

Explanation:

Prosopagnosia can be either congenital or acquired. Congenital cases are more rare, and the most difficult to treat. Acquired prosopagnosia usually results from damage to the occipito-temporal lobe. The fusiform gyrus has been shown to activate in response to faces in several different neuro-psychological studies. This disorder is famously chronicled in the novel "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" by Oliver Sacks.

Example Question #1 : Perception

Which of these is not a monocular depth cue?

Possible Answers:

Texture gradient

Perspective

Retinal disparity

Relative size

Occlusion

Correct answer:

Retinal disparity

Explanation:

Our brains use the differences in the location of an object on our retinas in order to judge their relative distance from one another. This requires two eyes, and thus is binocular. The other cues listed require only one eye (monocular).

Example Question #2 : Perception

What does the gate-control theory seek to explain?

Possible Answers:

Our perception of complex auditory sounds

Our perception of pain

Our perception of social exclusion

Our perception of multi-colored objects

Our perception of temperature

Correct answer:

Our perception of pain

Explanation:

Gate-control theory posits that the spinal cord contains a "gate" that controls whether pain signals get sent to the brain or not. This "gate" is opened based on the strength of the pain signals from the body. 

Example Question #3 : Perception

Being able to identify the black words from the white paper is an example of which principle?

Possible Answers:

Gestalt principles

Figure-ground

Binocular cues 

Relative luminance 

Retinal disparity 

Correct answer:

Figure-ground

Explanation:

Figure-ground is a perception used to distinguish a figure from its background, whether that be black words on a white page or distinguishing a particular voice from a crowd. There are many cues that enable us to distinguish a figure from its background, like color, shapes, edges, movements, or sounds. Figure-ground perception is a part of “Gestalt principles," or the prcoess of evaluating the bigger picture.   

Example Question #6 : Perception

Justin's accident has caused him to lose his ability to understand language, however, he can still speak. Which lobe of Justin's brain was likely injured in his accident?

Possible Answers:

parietal

frontal

occipital

temporal

Correct answer:

temporal

Explanation:

Justin can physically speak, so we can rule out Broca's area, which is in the frontal lobe. However, he is unable to understand language, which is handled by Wernicke’s area. Wernicke’s area is located in the temporal lobe.

Example Question #4 : Perception

What is a binocular cue for perceiving depth?

Possible Answers:

Heptactic cue

Accommodation

Retinal disparity

Ocular degeneration

Assimilation

Correct answer:

Retinal disparity

Explanation:

Retinal disparity is a binocular cue that involves observing the difference between the two images the retinas receive of a single object. The greater the difference, the closer the object is to the viewer.

Example Question #7 : Perception

Where are visual receptor cells located in the eye?

Possible Answers:

The retina

The iris

The sulcus

The gyrus

The ocular lens

Correct answer:

The retina

Explanation:

The retina captures external light and converts it into visual images that are sent to the brain. The retina contains rods, which detect black and white, and cones, which detect color.

Example Question #8 : Perception

"Transduction" refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

the absorption of neurotransmitters by a neuron's presynaptic terminal

multiple areas of the brain are active during one activity

the translation of stimuli into neural impulses

one neuron fires and causes another neuron to fire

Correct answer:

the translation of stimuli into neural impulses

Explanation:

Transduction occurs when sensations are perceived. In the case of touch, our fingers detect pressure which is translated into a neural impulse, causing our brain to perceive that we have made contact with a surface.

Example Question #10 : Perception

Which of the following is not a Gesalt rule for perception?

Possible Answers:

Continuity

Closure

Similarity

Proximity

Difference

Correct answer:

Difference

Explanation:

Proximity, closure, similarity, and continuity are four of the Gesalt rules for perception, whereas difference (the opposite of similarity) is not. Proximity states that groups of objects close together are likely to be grouped together, closure is the tendency to fill in the gaps in a visual scene, similarity describes how objects that look similar are likely to be grouped together, and continuity states that objects with similar orientations are likely to be grouped together.

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