BSc Psychology

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Landmark Studies in Perception

Unit code PSYC32322
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No


Our ability to effortlessly perceive and interact with the world around us is nothing short of amazing. Moreover, we achieve this without ever being aware of the fantastic feats of information processing undertaken by our perceptual systems. 


Building on previous knowledge (recommended PSYC21011 Perception and Action) the unit aims to:

- Extend students’ knowledge of key concepts, theories and methodologies that have shaped current understanding of human perception.

- Enhance students’ understanding of how research into perception can be applied to real life scenarios.

- Enhance students’ ability to critically evaluate research theories and methods. 


Teaching and learning methods

Each week there will be a two-hour lecture, a one-hour seminar and a one-hour reading group.  In the seminar groups, students will be asked to participate in different tasks (e.g. debate, mini experiment, discussion questions, experimental equipment/apparatus demonstrations) in a small group setting. In addition we may invite external speakers to talk to the class about key theories emerging from the lectures. In the reading groups students will discuss primary articles that provide intriguing empirical evidence supporting and / or expanding on work discussed in the lecture.   Extensive e-learning resources will also back up the course including a series of webcast tutorials, video clips, tv and radio programs, and podcasts.

Active modes of learning will be encouraged throughout the module, drawing mainly on small groups where students can work together to enhance their understanding. Visuals, video clips, references to news items, interesting case studies and debates will be used whenever possible.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Comprehend and be able to discuss early, intermediate and contemporary papers on perception
  • Describe current theories of perception and outline similarities and differences between them
  • Chart the development of key perceptual research topics and how they relate to theories of perception
  • Understand different research approaches and methodologies in experimental psychology
  • Understand the importance of modern perceptual science in the real world
  • Understand the complementary role of theory and experimentation in perceptual research

Intellectual skills

  • Analyse critically and evaluate studies of perception
  • Apply theories of perception to understand everyday experiences
  • Critically appraise the pros and cons of different research methodologies in perception
  • Appreciate how the development of experimental psychology has been influenced by the history of ideas, approaches and paradigms

Practical skills

  • Interpret graphs of empirical data, including psychometric functions
  • Match an appropriate experimental approach to the research question in hand

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Independently gather and organise material from various sources, including library and electronic sources
  • Critically appraise the validity of arguments and evidence
  • Present ideas and thoughts coherently orally and in writing
  • Recognise and identify views of others and work constructively with them
  • Listen effectively and make a constructive contribution to a discussion

Assessment methods

A two hour exam worth 67% and a 1500 word written assignment worth 33%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided through seminar discussions, through answers to questions asked in lecture sessions, and through discussion forums on Blackboard. You are also welcome to email the lecturers with any questions or points of clarification you may have. Written feedback will be provided on your written assessment and summary information will be available on your exam essays if requested. 


Recommended reading

Lecture notes and some appropriate additional resources will be available on blackboard.  A specific reading list for each lecture will be provided.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rebecca Champion Unit coordinator

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