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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Psychology
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  • Audition is the sense or act of hearing
  • Sound waves are the rhythmic movement of air molecules that allow for hearing to occur
  • Frequency: the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (i.e. per second, measured in megahertz)
  • Pitch: Higher or lower tone of a sound; a tone’s experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency
  • Loudness: Sound intensity
  • Parts of the ear include the pinna, auditory canal, tympanic membrane, the bones of the middle ear (malleus, incus, and stapes), round and oval windows, cochlea, cilia, basilar membrane, semicircular canals, vestibular sacs and nerve, and auditory nerve
  • Hearing can be damaged numerous ways within daily life


Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  1. Intro
    • Hearing, Taste, Smell, Touch, Body Senses
    • The Senses
    • Hearing
    • Hearing: Parts of the Ear
    • Ear Anatomy
    • Hearing: The Inner Ear
    • Theories of Sound/Hearing
    • Auditory Frequencies of Humans
    • How Do We Detect Higher and Lower Sounds?
    • Decibels and Hearing
    • Conduction Deafness
    • Nerve Deafness
    • Preventable Hearing Problems
    • Review
    • Intro 0:00
    • Hearing, Taste, Smell, Touch, Body Senses 0:18
      • Describe Sensory Processes, Including the Specific Nature of Energy Transduction, Relevant Anatomical Structures, and Specialized Pathways in the Brain for Each of the Senses
    • The Senses 0:40
      • Vision
      • Audition/Auditory
      • Olfaction/Olfactory
      • Gustation/Gustatory
      • Somesthetic/Skin Senses
      • Vestibular/Balance
      • Kinesthesis/Kinesthetic
      • Pain/Ouchies
    • Hearing 1:52
      • Audition: The Sense or Act of Hearing
      • Sound Waves: Rhythmic Movement of Air Molecules
      • Frequency: The Number of Complete Wavelengths That Pass a Point in a Given Time (i.e. Per Second, Measured in Megahertz)
      • Pitch: Higher or Lower Tone of a Sound: a Tone's Experienced Highness or Lowness; Depends on Frequency
      • Loudness: Sound Intensity
    • Hearing: Parts of the Ear 4:01
      • Pinna: External Part of the Ear
      • Auditory Canal
      • Tympanic Membrane: Eardrum
      • Auditory Ossicles: Three Small Bones That Vibrate; Link Eardrum With Cochlea
      • These Bones Concentrate the Vibrations of the Cardrum on the Cochlea's Oval Window
      • Transduction Occurs in the Cochlea (In the Cilia of the Basilar Membrane) Where the Signals are Sent to the Auditory Nerve
    • Ear Anatomy 6:26
      • Diagram of the Ear and Its Parts
    • Hearing: The Inner Ear 7:44
      • Oval Window
      • Cochlea: Snail Shaped Organ That Makes Up Inner Ear
      • Hair Cells (aka Cilia or Stereocilia): Receptor Cells Within Cochlea That Transduce Vibrations Into Nerve Impulses
      • Basilar Membrane: Inner Surface of Cochlea That Contains the Hair Cells -- Pressure of Fluid Moves the Fibers, Creating the Transduction to the Auditory Nerve
      • Semicircular Canals
      • Vestibular Sacs
      • Auditory Nerve
      • Auditory Cortex
    • Theories of Sound/Hearing 9:10
      • How Do We Hear Certain Pitches or Tones
      • Place Theory Says That Hair Cells in the Cochlea Respond to Different Frequencies of Sound Based Upon Where They Are in the Cochlea
      • Pitch Theory Indicates That Some Hair Cells Sense the Upper Range and Some Hair Cells Respond to the Lower Range.
      • Lower Tones are Sensed By the Rate at Which The Cells Fire. We Sense Pitch Because the Hair Cells Fire at Different Rates (Frequencies) in the Cochlea
    • Auditory Frequencies of Humans 10:29
      • Audible Range of Frequencies is Usually 20-20,000 Hz.
      • This Means 20 to 20K Vibrations Per Second
      • One Hertz is One Vibration Per Second
      • Ultrasound (Higher Frequency) -- We Cannot Perceive -- Beyond Our Upper Limit (e.g. Dog Whistle and Bats With Echolocation)
      • Infrasound (Lower Frequency) -- We Can Not Perceive
      • Diagram of Hearing Continuum -- What Humans Can and Can Not Hear
    • How Do We Detect Higher and Lower Sounds? 17:02
      • Frequency Theory: As Pitch Rises, Nerve Impulses of a Corresponding Frequency Travel Up the Auditory Nerve That Matches the Frequency of the Tone
      • This Enables Us To Perceive Pitch
      • Place Theory: Higher and Lower Tones Excite Specific Areas of the Cochlea -- See Previous Graphic
      • Examples: Singing and Pitch -- The Film Pitch Perfect Singing A Capella
      • Randy Jackson -- You're Pitchy, Dawg -- Pitch Not Identical to Frequency -- Pitch is Subjective
    • Decibels and Hearing 20:00
      • 140 -- Rock Concert/Fireworks/Jet Takeoff
      • 120 -- Dance Clubs, Chainsaw
      • 110 -- Personal Stereo
      • 100 -- Exercise Class, Video Arcade
      • 90 -- Lawnmower, Most Motorcycles, Crying Child
      • 80 -- Traffic Around Town, Old Style Phone Ring
      • 60 -- Normal Conversation
      • 40 -- Refrigerator, Quiet Living Room, Library
    • Conduction Deafness 24:23
      • Poor Transfer of Sounds From Tympanic Membrane to Inner Ear
    • Nerve Deafness 25:19
      • Caused by Damage to Hair Cells or Auditory Nerve
      • Hearing Aids Useless in These Cases, Since Auditory Messages Cannot Reach the Brain
      • Cochlear Implant: Electronic Device That Stimulates Auditory Nerves
      • Picture of Cochlear Implant Being Worn
    • Preventable Hearing Problems 26:17
      • Stimulation Deafness: Damage Caused by Exposing Hair Cells to Excessively Loud Sounds
      • e.g. Use of Earbuds, Sound is Too Loud
      • Natural Aging: Mosquito Ringtone
    • Review 28:23
      • What Are The Parts of the Ear?
      • In What Order Do the Sound Waves Go (In Terms of Ear Parts)?
      • How is Sound Measured?
      • At What Point is Sound Potentially Dangerous?
      • Describe the Different Kinds of Hearing Loss -- Conduction and Nerve Deafness