The University of Southampton
Courses

PSYC3043 Understanding your world with vision, touch, sound and taste

Module Overview

This course gives students an appreciation of the fascinating nature of perceptual processing. We will explore how the input to visual brain areas is ambiguous. Students will begin to understand how we use our senses – in particular vision, sound, touch and taste - to decipher information about the objects, scenes and social cues around us – a remarkable feat. The course will examine several ways in which our sensory systems attempt (and sometimes fail) to interpret incoming information to create our rich conscious experience. We will consider questions such as: Do babies recognise faces? Why do we get sea sick? Can people that are blind from birth learn to see? When does touching and hearing change our visual perception? How do culture and individual differences affect perception? Why do some people taste egg when they hear the letter 'k'? Students will be able to critically evaluate published work on perception, and present work coherently to others. Each session will address one broad topic related to deciphering the visual scene. There will be an emphasis on interactive learning (demonstrations of visual effects, student participation) and practical applications. The module is open to students who have taken PSYC2018, or visiting students who have taken an equivalent at their home institution.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

In this module, students will learn to: (1) Understand when and why our perceptions are wrong. (2) Describe sources of information from vision, touch, sound and taste, and how they interact to shape perceptual experience. (3) Understand how bi-stable figures can be used to probe conscious experience (4) Discuss the assumptions and individual biases that affect human perception

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand when and why our perceptions are wrong.
  • Describe sources of information from vision, touch, sound and taste, and how they interact to shape perceptual experience.
  • Understand how bi-stable figures can be used to understand consciousness
  • Discuss the assumptions and individual biases that affect human perception
  • Deliver an engaging presentation

Syllabus

• Introduction • Perceptual Development. • Recovery & re-calibration. • Ambiguous figures • Moving through the world • Seeing, feeling and hearing • Cue-combination & Learning • Top-down influences on perception • Cultural effects on perception • Biases in perception • Synaesthesia

Learning and Teaching

TypeHours
Independent Study150
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 44%
Illusion description 15%
Illusion submission 5%
Participation 5%
Research Participation 1%
Student presentation 30%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%
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