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BSc Optometry / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Visual Psychophysics and Neurophysiology

Unit code OPTO20621
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Optometry
Available as a free choice unit? No


Visual Psychophysics and Neurophysiology will outline the psychophysical methods that can be employed to study normal and abnormal vision and introduce some of the results obtained. You will understand how to conduct a visual experiment, how to identify and control unwanted variables and how to understand the fundamentals of data analysis and interpretation.You will become familiar with the advantages and limitations of conducting experiments with human subjects.


To Instruct students in psychophysical techniques.

Learning outcomes

  • Have the background knowledge to understand the classical experiments in visual psychophysics.
  • Understanding of basic principles, writing skills and be able to undertake basic data analysis and presentation.
  • Understanding of how to control variables in human experiments to avoid subjective artefacts.
  • Extensive experience of discussing their own data.


A series of lectures and labs. Theoretical material from lectures is supported by 7 laboratory experiments each illustrating a different aspect of vision science. Students obtain hands-on experience, acquire expertise in each technique, collect their own data and are responsible for preparing a formal lab report of their work. Techniques for investigating flicker sensitivity, contrast sensitivity, colour vision, stereovision and measuring macular pigment are included.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

• Feedback following mock exam at week 6
• Online feedback based on on-line example questions
• End of term mock exam with feedback

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1
Lectures 12
Practical classes & workshops 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ian Murray Unit coordinator

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