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A line provides Wavelength in nanometers for “400,” “500,” “600,” and “700” nanometers. Within this line are all of the colors of the visible spectrum. Below this line, labeled from left to right are “Cosmic radiation,” “Gamma rays,” “X-rays,” “Ultraviolet,” then a small callout area for the line above containing the colors in the visual spectrum, followed by “Infrared,” “Terahertz radiation,” “Radar,” “Television and radio broadcasting,” and “AC circuits.”
Different wavelengths of light are associated with our perception of different colors. (credit: modification of work by Johannes Ahlmann)

Sound waves

Like light waves, the physical properties of sound waves are associated with various aspects of our perception of sound. The frequency of a sound wave is associated with our perception of that sound’s pitch    . High-frequency sound waves are perceived as high-pitched sounds, while low-frequency sound waves are perceived as low-pitched sounds. The audible range of sound frequencies is between 20 and 20000 Hz, with greatest sensitivity to those frequencies that fall in the middle of this range.

As was the case with the visible spectrum, other species show differences in their audible ranges. For instance, chickens have a very limited audible range, from 125 to 2000 Hz. Mice have an audible range from 1000 to 91000 Hz, and the beluga whale’s audible range is from 1000 to 123000 Hz. Our pet dogs and cats have audible ranges of about 70–45000 Hz and 45–64000 Hz, respectively (Strain, 2003).

The loudness of a given sound is closely associated with the amplitude of the sound wave. Higher amplitudes are associated with louder sounds. Loudness is measured in terms of decibels (dB) , a logarithmic unit of sound intensity. A typical conversation would correlate with 60 dB; a rock concert might check in at 120 dB ( [link] ). A whisper 5 feet away or rustling leaves are at the low end of our hearing range; sounds like a window air conditioner, a normal conversation, and even heavy traffic or a vacuum cleaner are within a tolerable range. However, there is the potential for hearing damage from about 80 dB to 130 dB: These are sounds of a food processor, power lawnmower, heavy truck (25 feet away), subway train (20 feet away), live rock music, and a jackhammer. The threshold for pain is about 130 dB, a jet plane taking off or a revolver firing at close range (Dunkle, 1982).

This illustration has a vertical bar in the middle labeled Decibels (dB) numbered 0 to 140 in intervals of 20 from the bottom to the top. To the left of the bar, the “sound intensity” of different sounds is labeled: “Hearing threshold” is 0; “Whisper” is 30, “soft music” is 40, “Risk of hearing loss” is 110, “pain threshold” is 130, and “harmful” is 140. To the right of the bar are photographs depicting “common sound”: At 20 decibels is a picture of rustling leaves; At 60 is two people talking, at 80 is a car, at 90 is a food processor, at 120 is a music concert, and at 130 are jets.
This figure illustrates the loudness of common sounds. (credit "planes": modification of work by Max Pfandl; credit "crowd": modification of work by Christian Holmér; credit "blender": modification of work by Jo Brodie; credit "car": modification of work by NRMA New Cars/Flickr; credit "talking": modification of work by Joi Ito; credit "leaves": modification of work by Aurelijus Valeiša)

Although wave amplitude is generally associated with loudness, there is some interaction between frequency and amplitude in our perception of loudness within the audible range. For example, a 10 Hz sound wave is inaudible no matter the amplitude of the wave. A 1000 Hz sound wave, on the other hand, would vary dramatically in terms of perceived loudness as the amplitude of the wave increased.

Of course, different musical instruments can play the same musical note at the same level of loudness, yet they still sound quite different. This is known as the timbre of a sound. Timbre refers to a sound’s purity, and it is affected by the complex interplay of frequency, amplitude, and timing of sound waves.


Both light and sound can be described in terms of wave forms with physical characteristics like amplitude, wavelength, and timbre. Wavelength and frequency are inversely related so that longer waves have lower frequencies, and shorter waves have higher frequencies. In the visual system, a light wave’s wavelength is generally associated with color, and its amplitude is associated with brightness. In the auditory system, a sound’s frequency is associated with pitch, and its amplitude is associated with loudness.

Personal application question

If you grew up with a family pet, then you have surely noticed that they often seem to hear things that you don’t hear. Now that you’ve read this section, you probably have some insight as to why this may be. How would you explain this to a friend who never had the opportunity to take a class like this?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Questions & Answers

can anyone explain sleep and it's stages?
Shachi Reply
please let me know
sleep works in three hour stages. falling asleep rem, waking back up. do you have a spicific question?
When thinking about getting the sleep you need, it’s normal to focus on how many hours of sleep you get. While sleep duration is undoubtedly important, it’s not the only part of the equation. It’s also critical to think about sleep quality and whether the time spent sleeping is actually restorative
sleep studies have proven that how you aproach your sleep sycle is important. people will constantly concern thwmselves with how much sleep instead of the quality of sleep they are getting. it is better to get 3 houts of sleepless rest then it is to get 6 of strained sleep
How brain power can be used to control physical things?
Ali Reply
can anyone explain sleep and it's stages?
what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for disorders of a circadian rhythm?
wazir Reply
what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for disorders of circadian rhythm?
To study Abnormal Psychology means, to study mainly the nature of
Baddo Reply
abnormal psychology? can you explain please?
abnormal, this branch of psychology typically deals with behavior in a clinical context.
To study Abnormal Psychology means, to study mainly the nature of 1). Conscious Mind 2). Unconscious Mind 3). Subconscious Mind 4). Normal Mind
abnormal psychology- is the scientific study of Psychological disorders and their treatments
Utkarsh Verma can you help me pass out my exams? tomorrom
10 - 11 MCQ test can you all or some help? the only subject I'm weak in is psychology
which branch of psychology is the test on?
How Abnormal Behavior is Defined While it may seem that the definition of “abnormal” indicates a behavior that is considered outside of the human norm, it is actually a much slipperier slope. Therefore, abnormal psychology takes on the task of scientifically studying and classifying human behaviors
What is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for circadian rhythm disorders?
please I wish to find out how difficult/easy it is, for someone with a bachelor degree in philosophy to continue with masters and doctoral in psychology, specifically, I-O psychology.
do the individuals know that they are being researched on? and why does anyone speak up regarding the matter? is it "don't ask, don't tell" policy?
Stepphun Reply
examine any 5 perceptual principals of organization
kundai Reply
Is it possible for a child to be schizophrenic?
Esther Reply
yes. early onset of schizophrenia starts at 13 to 18. very rare but possible.
Good question
It's uncommon for children to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for circadian rhythm disorders?
is there a difference between age and romantic attachment style?
Alysha Reply
I don't think so. Well, not always. Certain things should be timeless.
I'm 48 & he's 26 ...so we shall see?
in my opinion if you both are comfortable with each other then definitely age is nothing but a number but then also there will be little difference in the cognition due to age
yes Utkarsh.I agree with you.We call it as generation gap. But there can be exceptions also...
yes generation gap can affect the relationship but this totally depends on the couple that how they settle up with each other
that is true, balance is needed. I spent a long time with an older man and I was more his child than his partner. power struggles are hard in relationships with generational gaps
I think all it all depends on your comfort or braveness and attitude toward life, then age is just numbers.
new perspective n ones mindset towards life plays an important role... if the change is for gud.. go-ahead
Yes romantic attachment styles change with age if that's what you are asking. here is where you can read more about it ***google.com/amp/s/qz.com/1206940/attachment-style-changes-with-age/amp/
can empirical research be performed on people being diagnosed or people who have borderline personality disorder?
Stepphun Reply
yes it can
thank you for the feedback
discuss the three models of positional coding in working memory citing examples.Please help me with points to this question
jane Reply
can you clear me up a doubt that for to become a psychriatist what process are needed
Mimi Reply
What are the vocational choices for women in pakistan also discuss its aims and objectives.
Malik Reply
I want to research on Egocentrism and Autistic thinking on myself.
RAVI Reply
I want to research on Egocentrism and Autistic thinking on myself. Have you any suggestion for me?
I want to research on Egocentrism and Autistic thinking on myself. Have you any suggestion for me?
why do you think they correlate?
what is the role of psychology in the development of therapies for circadian rhythm?
what is Egocentrism
External goal that have the capacity to motivate behaviour
Haider Reply
Reinforcements and Punishments
indeed! but positive punishment if I may add
hi. i am a student of B.A. Psychology (major), i wanted to enquire as to which textbook would be most informative on 'Biopsychology' ?
Hey, I'm currently a BS Psychology major and I'd like to recommend the 10th Edition Biological Psychology book by Kalat
thanks, it really means a lot😀
You're welcome.
what is logical atomism
what is HMC found in UK and US in 1915
Samu Reply

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