Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen defended the central bank Thursday from the charge that its monetary policies are motivated by a desire to keep stock prices up.

"I don't think we pay undue attention to it and I don't think we should," Yellen said of the stock market in a hearing in the Senate Banking Committee Thursday.

Yellen was asked by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., about concerns that "the Fed has become very affected by the market swings and that much of that may be driving monetary policy."

"I would push back against the claim that we're unduly affected by the ups and downs of stock markets," Yellen responded.

Instead, overall financial conditions are just one factor in the economic forecast that the Fed uses in setting interest rates and conducting monetary policy, she said.

The central bank "can't completely ignore what's happening in the markets," Yellen acknowledged, explaining that Fed officials take a range of financial indicators into account, including housing prices, equity prices, interest rates, credit spreads and exchange rates. Those affect saving, investment, exports and other components of the economy.

Analysts, including those within the Fed, have warned that the central bank likely will face market volatility when it moves to raise interest rates from zero, where it has held them since 2008 in an effort to stimulate the economy.

Corker apparently asked the question to give Yellen an opportunity to rebut a popular line of criticism against the Fed, not to criticize her himself. The Tennessee conservative noted that they had talked about the Fed's plans for moving toward more normal monetary policy during Yellen's confirmation interviews with individual senators in 2013.