Full course description
How does our brain construct a picture of the world around us? The efficiency with which we see, hear, feel and smell makes perception seem easy and effortless. However, this ability is astounding when one considers the complexity and diversity of our senses and, in particular, how systematically the millions of neurons in our brain work together to process all of the various sensory stimuli.
The course will start with the following questions: ‘What is perception?’ and ‘How can we measure it?’ Subsequently, students will consider in detail the question of how the visual brain system transforms light stimuli into the perception of colours, contrast, movement, depth and visual objects. Building on this, students will study how our auditory system converts sound stimuli into the perception of tones, music, environmental sounds and human speech. Throughout the course, students will discuss basic functional and structural principles of perception through a comparison of the visual and auditory systems.
- are able to identify and understand different aspects of auditory and visual perception, such as object recognition, colour perception, sound perception, depth and size perception, auditory scene analysis, Gestalt psychology, and auditory/visual illusions;
- are able to explain physiological principles of auditory and visual perception, such as the structure and function of the ear and eye, colour and sound perception, subcortical and cortical auditory and visual pathways, and structural and functional principles of perception;
- are able to recognize and clarify anomalies in auditory and visual perception, such as colour blindness, dyslexia and hearing loss, and are able to relate these anomalies to underlying physiological mechanisms and/or brain damage;
- understand, analyse and evaluate basic approaches and research methods central to the study of perception.