AP Psychology : Stimulation and Detection

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #11 : Biology And Sensation

Which of the following best describes the primary function of the ear canal?

Possible Answers:

carrying signals from the ear to the brain

protecting the sensitive hairs and structures inside the ear from damage

carrying signals from the brain to the ear

helping to carry sound waves into the ear

Correct answer:

helping to carry sound waves into the ear

Explanation:

The primary function of the ear canal is to facilitate the travel of auditory information into the ear, and to the parts of the ear used to process this information. While the ear canal, in helping the sensitive organs of the inner ear be less exposed to damage, may be said to protect these structures it is not the ear canal's primary purpose.

Example Question #11 : Sensation And Perception

Why are olfactory neurons different than other sensory receptors?

Possible Answers:

They are only in contact with the brain

They are only in contact with stimuli

They not only come in contact with stimuli but also directly with the brain

They are not different

Correct answer:

They not only come in contact with stimuli but also directly with the brain

Explanation:

Olfactory neurons come in direct contact with the stimuli. They also are directly in the brain. Other sensory receptors transmit information to a separate neuron that relays the information to the brain. 

Example Question #11 : Sensation And Perception

The taste sensation umami is stimulated by which substance?

Possible Answers:

dopamine

citric acid

sugar

glutamate

Correct answer:

glutamate

Explanation:

Glutamate is found in protein rich foods and the artificial flavoring MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). It triggers the taste sensation umami. Umami is the most recently defined taste-sensation, it is best described as a meaty taste. The other four basic taste sensations are: salty, bitter, sweet, and sour.

Example Question #13 : Stimulation And Detection

Which of the following describes the difference between sensation and perception?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Sensation is a bottom-up process and perception is a top-down process

Perception requires transduction and sensation does not

Sensation requires transduction an perception does not

Perception is a bottom-up process and sensation is a top-down process

Correct answer:

Sensation is a bottom-up process and perception is a top-down process

Explanation:

Sensation can be described as the process of how our nervous system and sensory receptors receive and translate stimuli from our environment. Perception is the process by which our brains organize and interpret sensory stimuli, which allows us to recognize significant events and objects. Sensation functions as a bottom-up process because it starts at a smaller level and works its way up (i.e. from sensory receptors to processing centers). Perception functions as a top-down process because it starts at a larger level and gets smaller as it continues (i.e. from the sensory input down to our expectations and experiences).

Example Question #11 : Sensation And Perception

Which of the following theories predicts when and how we detect a stimulus amid background noise?

Possible Answers:

Transduction theory

Absolute threshold theory

Priming theory

Signal detection theory 

Subliminal theory

Correct answer:

Signal detection theory 

Explanation:

The signal detection theory predicts when we will detect weak signals (stimuli). This theory negates the idea of absolute thresholds because the purpose is to ascertain why individuals react to the same stimulus differently. Additionally, it seeks to understand why one individual may perceive a stimulus differently based on circumstances. For instance, an exhausted parent may jump at the slightest whimper of a sleeping baby but fail to recognize a louder noise (i.e. the dryer buzzer indicating dry clothes). The absolute threshold is defined as the minimum stimulus required for detection 50 percent of the time; therefore, it is an incorrect choice. Conversely, a stimulus may be considered subliminal when it is below one's conscious awareness: not detected 50 percent of the time. This is also incorrect. Transduction would be incorrect because it is the process by which stimuli are translated from sensation to perception. Last, priming is also incorrect because it is defined as the process of predisposing one's memory, perception, or response by making unconscious associations. This is usually exercised in experiments using flashing images and masking stimuli.

Example Question #14 : Sensation And Perception

Which of the following best defines a difference threshold?

Possible Answers:

The difference between two subliminal thresholds. 

The minimal difference between two stimuli that can be detected 50 percent of the time.

The difference in absolute threshold and sensory adaptation. 

The difference between an absolute threshold and a subliminal stimulus. 

The difference between two absolute thresholds.

Correct answer:

The minimal difference between two stimuli that can be detected 50 percent of the time.

Explanation:

The difference threshold is the noticeable difference a person can detect between any two stimuli 50 percent of the time. The concept of difference threshold is often associated with Weber's law. This law states that in order for an individual to perceive a difference between to stimuli then the stimuli must be a certain percent different and not a given amount. This becomes an issue of proportion versus static amount. 

Example Question #11 : Sensation And Perception

Which of the following statements associated with Hering's opponent-process theory are true?

Possible Answers:

There are two sets of opponent retinal processes: red-green-blue and black-white

There are three sets of retinal processes: red, blue, green

There are six sets of retinal processes: red, blue, green, yellow, black, and white 

There are three sets of opponent retinal processes: red-blue, green-yellow, and white-black 

There are three sets of opponent retinal processes: red-green, blue-yellow, and white-black

Correct answer:

There are three sets of opponent retinal processes: red-green, blue-yellow, and white-black

Explanation:

Ewald Hering created the opponent-process theory. While he saw truth in the Young-Helmholtz trichromatic theory, he felt that it left many questions of color vision unanswered. For example, how is it that people that cannot see red or green see yellow? Hering came to an understanding using “afterimages.” For instance, if you stare at a green square for long enough and then stare at a white sheet of paper, you will see a red square. Red in this case is green's opponent color. The same works for yellow and blue and black and white. You may be familiar with figures in text books having an image of a flag that's normally red, blue, and white be colored in green, yellow and black. with a blank white space next to it. This is an example of the afterimage effect, staring at the discolored flag for an ample period of time and then immediately staring at a blank white space will yield the creation of an image of the flag in its normal colors. A century later, researchers supported Hering’s theory. There are three sets of opponent retinal receptors: green-red, blue-yellow, and black-white. This theory complements the Young-Helmholtz theory. 

Example Question #13 : Sensation And Perception

Humans can easily detect movement of an object in your peripheral vision, but have trouble identifying the exact shape or color of the object. Which of the following is the most probable cause of this phenomenon? 

Possible Answers:

The individual is nearsighted

The object is in your blind spot

There are more cones than rods in the periphery of the retina

There are more rods than cones in the periphery of the retina

Correct answer:

There are more rods than cones in the periphery of the retina

Explanation:

The periphery of the retina contains many more rods than cones. Rods allow people to easily detect changes in light, and cones allow us to see in color and are located in the center—fovea—of the retina where visual acuity is best. Rods might not help us with seeing things super accurately, but they do help us with detecting motion because of the changes in light. The blind spot is where the bundle of nerves at the rear of the eye chamber block incoming light to hit the retina; thus, creating a "hole" in our vision. Nearsightedness has to do with visual acuity based on distance from the object, not peripheral vision.

Example Question #1181 : Ap Psychology

A single drop of chocolate pudding is placed on your tongue. You are told not to move it around on your tongue, and you begin to notice that the original chocolaty flavor begins to fade until there is no taste at all. This scenario is indicative of which of the following principles?

Possible Answers:

Boredom

Taste bud cell death

Sensory adaptation

Habituation

Correct answer:

Sensory adaptation

Explanation:

Sensory adaptation is a gradual decline in sensitivity to prolonged stimulation. Senses—in this case taste—will automatically adapt to decline their sensitivity to stimulation over time. Habituation is a closely related concept that involves less sensitivity over time; however, habituation has to do more with physiological, cognitive, and perceptual processes rather than basic sensory processes. Taste bud cell death does not occur after prolonged stimulation. 

Example Question #772 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

When do action potentials occur?

Possible Answers:

When sodium ions exit the neuron to make the membrane potential more positive

When potassium ions exit the neuron to make the membrane potential more positive

When sodium ions enter the neuron to make the membrane potential more positive

When sodium ions enter the neuron to make the membrane potential more negative

When sodium ions exit the neuron to make the membrane potential more negative

Correct answer:

When sodium ions enter the neuron to make the membrane potential more positive

Explanation:

Action potentials are caused when different ions cross the neuron's membrane. The inside of the neuron becomes more positive due to the rush of sodium into the cell during depolarization. This raises the membrane potential from resting (roughly ) to the threshold level of about , which triggers the action potential and raises the membrane potential to roughly .

Following the action potential, potassium exits the neuron to reduce the membrane potential before the sodium-potassium pump restores the resting potential.

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