Fall 2003 - Psychology 3213 (Perception) - Dr. Burton

Kozlowski 383 - M, W 10-11:15

Office Hours: M 11:30-1, R 9-11 or by appointment

Office: Kozlowski 353 - Office Phone: 275-2701


also Fahy 108, ext. 7947

e-mail: burtongr@shu.edu

There will be five quizzes (on 2/4, 2/25, 3/18, 4/15 and the final on May 6th). Each student will be able to drop one of these test scores other than the final; thus, there should be no need for makeup tests. Assigned readings will be included in tests in one of two ways at the student's option: a typed essay turned in the day of the test, or multiple-choice questions on the test. There will also be a research paper (details later) that will count as a quarter of the grade.

There is no specific grade for attendance, but attendance at each class is very highly recommended. In my experience, class attendance is a good predictor of the final grade in the course. January 21,  February 18, and April 1 are holidays.

There are two required texts:

GOLD - Goldstein, E. B. (1999). Sensation and Perception (6th ed.) Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

RAMA - Ramachandran, V. S., & Blakeslee, S. (1998).  Phantoms in the Brain.  NY: Quill.

It is recommended that the student bring GOLD  to each class.

The topic of the paper will be on an illusion (optical or otherwise) of the student's choosing. Topics must be approved, in the format described, BEFORE the student begins significant research. A listing of some potential topics, and more detail on the nature of the paper, will be provided next week.

Here is a very old and representative optical illusion, the Ebbinghaus illusion.  Which central circle appears bigger?  Check your answer with a ruler...

Aim for a paper of about 6-10 pages of SUBSTANTIVE material. Illustrations do not count as pages. In addition, at least THREE viable sources will be used. NOTE: Plagiarism is the submission of other people's words as your own. Even if you have cited your source for a fact or observation, you must use quotation marks and give the page number if you are also using the author's exact words. I will penalize and I may return ungraded a paper with excessive plagiarism.

Click here for a list of the illusion topics that are still open or taken

Relevant dates:

2/6. Topic for final paper must be submitted and approved.

2/27. Sheet with three references is due. (Penalty: 5 points from paper grade for each week or partial week late.)

4/17. Final paper due. (Penalty: 5 points from paper grade for each week or partial week late.)

5/6. Final exam.


1. Introduction: What is perception and how do we know? GOLD 1

2. Nonhuman senses

3. Nerves and brains GOLD 2, RAMA Pref, 1-3

4. Vision I: Light, eyes, and visual wiring. GOLD 3, RAMA 4

5. Vision II: Dividing vision into subsenses. GOLD 4, 5, RAMA 6-8

6. Perceptual constancies and depth perception GOLD 6, 7

7. Perspectives on illusions GOLD 6, RAMA 5

8. Sound and Hearing GOLD 8, 9, RAMA 8

9. Speech GOLD 10

10. Touch senses GOLD 11, RAMA 2, 3

11. Chemical senses GOLD 12, RAMA 9-10

12. Development of perception RAMA 11, 12

13. Diagnosis of perception GOLD 13

There will also be some assigned readings to be announced.