AP Psychology : Perception

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #101 : Sensation And Perception

Fill in the blanks of the following statement with the choice that best represents what a gestalt psychologist would most likely say with respect to perception:

A lone apple amongst grapes in a fruit basket would be considered __________ while the grapes in the fruit basket would be considered __________.

Possible Answers:

figure. . . figure

ground. . . figure

ground. . . ground

figure. . . ground 

None of these

Correct answer:

figure. . . ground 

Explanation:

Figure-ground is one tool our brains use to form perception. This is the organization of the visual field by separating an object (figure) from its surroundings (ground). In this scenario, the apple stands out from the grapes it's surrounded by; therefore, this would make the apple the figure and the grapes the ground. Another example would be a lead singer versus the rest of a band. The lead singer stands out as a separate object, making this individual the figure. The rest of the band would be considered the ground relative to the lead singer.

Example Question #11 : Perception

Which of the following best represents a binocular cue in judging distance between two nearby objects?

Possible Answers:

Relative height

Relative size 

Light and shadow 

Relative motion 

Retinal disparity 

Correct answer:

Retinal disparity 

Explanation:

Binocular cues are depth cues that require the use of two eyes. For instance, trying to touch the tip of two pencils together in front of your face may be rather easy to do with both eyes open; however, attempting this task with one eye open is significantly challenging. Retinal disparity is a binocular cue used to perceive depth between two near objects. It does so by comparing the different images from both retinas. Each eye receives different images because they are usually around two and half inches apart. The greater the difference (disparity) there is between the images, then the closer the object will be. The other options would be incorrect because they are defined as monocular cues. 

Example Question #11 : Perception

Which of the following does color constancy rely on?

Possible Answers:

The object's brightness 

An object's color is never constant 

The object's surroundings 

The porousness of the object 

The color of the object 

Correct answer:

The object's surroundings 

Explanation:

Color constancy is when a familiar object may be perceived as having a consistent color regardless of the changing wavelengths reflecting off its surface. It may be an abstract idea for some, but it's important to remember that an object does not contain color itself. Instead, we perceive objects as certain colors because of the wavelengths they reflect. In terms of color constancy, our brains are able to recognize the same color despite different illuminations by taking into consideration the light reflecting off the object relative the objects surrounding it.

Example Question #14 : Perception

According to Weber's Law, if a man holding a 10-pound weight can detect a change of 0.5 pounds, what change in weight will he be able to detect while holding a 100-pound weight?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Weber's Law states that a change in stimulus that is barely noticeable for a particular person will be a constant ratio of the original stimulus. For a 10-pound weight, the man would start noticing a change when 0.5 pounds was added. Anything less than that, he would not notice. For a 100-pound weight, the man would not notice a 0.5-pound weight change; rather, he would notice a 5-pound weight change since this is the same proportion as observed in the original situation.

Example Question #11 : Perception

Which of the following perceptual processes is most involving in successfully finding a flamboyant figure in a busy visual landscape?

Possible Answers:

Top-down processing

Gestalt perceptual laws

Cocktail party effect

Bottom-up processing

Correct answer:

Top-down processing

Explanation:

The cocktail party effect primarily applies to auditory stimuli, and Gestalt perceptual laws would not explain how one finds an object among lots of similar objects. Top-down processing begins with your knowledge about the situation, which you apply to the current context and use to guide your ability to correctly identify the flamboyant figure. That is, you first remember you are looking for—the figure—and then try to locate a stimulus you can identify as being flamboyant. Bottom-up processing begins with the sensations you experience, which are passed “up” from your retina—via vision—to higher and higher brain areas that can carry out more and more complex analysis. 

Example Question #12 : Perception

Seeing a red octagon with a long, linear, grey attachment at its base is a process of __________, whereas, understanding that the shape is a stop sign is a process of __________.

Possible Answers:

sensation. . . perception

perception. . . sensation

the visual cortex. . . learning

learning. . . the visual cortex

Correct answer:

sensation. . . perception

Explanation:

Sensation is best understood as simply the stimulation of sensory organs (in this case sight). Perception has to do with selecting, organizing, and interpreting sensory input in a meaningful way. One can sense the features of a stop sign; however, in order to perceive what a stop sign is, one must interpret what the sensory input means. The visual cortex is the portion of the brain that is most likely to process visual stimuli. Learning might be involved in perception; however, the best answer is "sensation. . . perception."

Example Question #12 : Perception

Which of the following is not a characteristic of trichromatic theory?

Possible Answers:

Sensory receptors in the retina are arranged in pairs

None of these

Some cone receptors in the retina perceive blue light, others yellow, and still others perceive red

There are three types of cones in the retina

Correct answer:

Sensory receptors in the retina are arranged in pairs

Explanation:

The trichromatic theory is the oldest theory to explain why and how humans see color. It posits that there are three types of cone receptors in the retina, one type for each of the primary colors (e.g. red, blue, and yellow). 

Example Question #13 : Perception

Which of the following is not a monocular depth cue?

Possible Answers:

Relative size cue

Linear perspective 

Retinal disparity 

Texture gradient 

Correct answer:

Retinal disparity 

Explanation:

“Retinal disparity” is a binocular depth cue, not a monocular cue. The other answers—relative size cue, texture gradient, and linear perspective—are all monocular cues.

Example Question #17 : Perception

Lucia is sunbathing on a bright day. She notices that, while her eyes are closed, the light behind her eyelids appears as red spots, but when she opens her eyes, the scenery takes on a bluish hue until she adjusts to the light. Her experience is best explained by which of the following theories of perception?

Possible Answers:

Gestalt

Opponent-process

Inattentional blindness

Trichromatic color

Correct answer:

Opponent-process

Explanation:

The opponent-process theory of color vision posits that colors are processed in pairs of chromatic opposites. This theory explains why the suffusion of reddish hues from the direct sunlight though Lucia’s eyelids left an afterimage of bluish color in their absence. The trichromatic theory of color vision attributes the discernment of color to specializations of the eye’s cones and does not account for negative afterimages. Gestalt theory concerns the perception of parts and wholes. Inattentional blindness is not a theory, but a phenomenon in which objects that are plainly available in an individual’s perceptual field nonetheless go unnoticed due to a lack of attention paid to them.

Example Question #111 : Sensation And Perception

Which of the following is an example of synesthesia?

Possible Answers:

George still feels pain in his left arm below the elbow, even though his left arm was amputated three years ago.

When solving math problems, Angela gets a certain taste in her mouth whenever she sees a certain digit– for example, she tastes the number 9 as sour.

Ashley was in a car accident that resulted in severe head trauma, and now she cannot remember any events that occurred leading up to the accident or six months prior to it.

Taylor once ate pineapple pizza and got very sick to his stomach afterwards. He later learned that he had gotten the stomach flu and so his sickness had nothing to do with the pizza, but he still hates pineapple pizza.

Correct answer:

When solving math problems, Angela gets a certain taste in her mouth whenever she sees a certain digit– for example, she tastes the number 9 as sour.

Explanation:

The situation with Angela is the best example of synesthesia—a phenomenon, in which stimulation of one sensory pathway triggers a response by a different, unrelated sensory pathway. People with synesthesia might see a certain color whenever they taste a certain food. The important thing to note is that in synesthetic perception, the person experiences the synesthetic connection as being projected outside the body, not just in the mind’s eye (e.g. Angela does not simply imagine the color red when she sees the letter A: she actually sees A as being colored red, even if it is printed in plain black font). The other situations described in the answer choices reflect other psychological phenomena. Ashley is experiencing amnesia; George, phantom limb syndrome; and Taylor, taste aversion.

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