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Department of Psychology
Psychology 2115B Section 001
Introduction to Sensation and Perception

Welcome to Sensation and Perception! I am extremely excited to be teaching this course, as this was
perhaps my favourite course when I was an undergraduate student. In fact, these many, many years
later, my research spans the topics of memory and perception because of my deep interest in sensation
and perception. And all of it began with this course! Now, perhaps not all of you will go on to pursue
graduate school in perception/cognition, but it is my goal to make this course as enjoyable and
informative as I possibly can and to hopefully spark just a little bit of that same interest in you!
Below you will find a course description, evaluation summary, lecture outline, and some study tips.
We will go over these points in class, but please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the
outline right now. I look forward to teaching you and wish you all the best for a great year!
- Mark Holden


An introduction to the study of the human senses and higher order perceptual processes. Data
gathered from psychophysical research and studies of the nervous system in both humans and
other animals will be discussed. The course will review the mechanisms and principles of
operation of vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
Prerequisite: At least 60% in a 1000 level Psychology course
Antirequisite: Psychology 2015A/B
***Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be
taken for credit. So if you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously
taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the
most recent course.

4 lecture hours, 0.5 course

Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your
Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your
record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the
event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.


2.1 Time & Location of Lectures:

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 in NCB-113

2.2 Instructor:
Office Hours:

Dr. Mark Holden

SSC 9242B
Tues/Thurs 11:30-12:30 or by appointment

2.3 Teaching Assistant:

Office & Office Hours:

Beatriz Domingo

2.4 Psychology 2115B Website

The course website is located at


Here you will find lecture notes, study guides, assignments, and important announcements. Please
check it often.
2.4 Special Circumstances:
If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to
assist you. Please visit: http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for more information on these
resources and on mental health.
Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any
other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact
Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question
regarding an accommodation.

Goldstein, E.B. (2014). Sensation and Perception. 9th Edition. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Note: when purchasing this book from the university bookstore, the text comes bundled with
the Coursemate Access Card. Although this is not required for this course, Coursemate
provides a number of valuable tools for students, including an online copy of the book, and
self-assessment tools (i.e. sample quizzes, exams, virtual labs) which you may find helpful as
you prepare for the midterm and final exams. You will not get this access code if you purchase
a used text. Although you can purchase a code separately, it is quite expensive.
To start using Coursemate: go to www.nelsonbrain.com to register your Access Code. You
will also need a Course Key, which will be posted on OWL (under Announcements).


This course surveys of a number of experimental and theoretical topics in modern psychology. Topics
covered will include a brief introduction and history of the field of perception, the physiology of
perception, neural processing, cortical organization, and visual perception of specific objects and
scenes. We will also cover visual attention, the link between perception and action, and the perception
of motion, color, and depth/size. We will also cover topics in auditory perception, including basic

processes of hearing, auditory localization and organization, and speech perception. Finally, we will
briefly cover the cutaneous senses (touch, pain, etc.), and the chemical senses (taste and smell).
This course also addresses general issues in psychological research, such as experimental design, the
role of theory, models, and paradigms, and the interdisciplinary nature of research in perception. We
will also cover applications of perceptual research, such as sensory prosthetics, sensory substitution,
and artificial sensing systems (such as face-recognition systems). The goal is to provide students with
an overview of various topic domains within the realm of sensation and perception. As such, students
will be exposed to diverse theoretical viewpoints and various methods and procedures for the
scientific investigation of this field of psychological research.
Note: Modern psychology is scientific in nature. Consequently, we will spend a lot of time
on science-y topics, such as research design, neural processing, cortical organization, etc.
Each chapter in the text covers a major topic within cognitive psychology. Following each chapter,
students will be able to identify the major concepts and terminology for that topic area, and
understand how they relate to one another. In addition, when presented with a hypothetical problem
or case, students will be able to assess and evaluate the problem and choose the best solution.


Classes will be held in NCB 113, which has a capacity of 201 students. The room has a few quirks to
it, so a few simple rules will help to keep the confusion to a minimum, and provide a reasonably quiet
learning environment for everyone.
5.1 Lecture Hours:
Class is scheduled from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The lecture will
start promptly at 9:30 a.m. This means that I expect you to be in your seats and ready for class by
that time. The seats in this class have tab-arms, making it difficult to shuffle past other students
without disturbing them. If you cannot avoid being late, please enter the room as quietly as possible
and take the first available seat. The class will end at 11:20 (though I will try my best to end closer to
11:15). This will allow you enough time to exit and get to your next class. Please do not leave early
shuffling up and down the aisles causes a great deal of distraction. We will take a brief stretch/break
around 10:20 a.m.
5.2 Questions:
Asking questions during lecture is an extremely important part of learning. I strongly encourage
you to ask a question whenever you require clarification on an issue, or have an observation to make
yourself. Sometimes, though, we may have so many questions or comments on a particular topic that I
will need to limit the amount of time we spend on that topic, so that we can cover the required
material. If this is the case, please send your question/comment via e-mail (or use the question box).
Alternatively, if you would prefer to ask your question in a more anonymous manner, there is a large
question box at the back of the classroom. Simply write out your question/comment and deposit it in
the box as you leave (or during the break) and I will address the most common ones at the beginning
of the next class.
Note: Routine questions such as Where is the exam?, What chapters are covered for the
midterm?, etc. may already be addressed on the course syllabus or on the website.

5.3 Talking, Cell Phones, and Noise:

The potential noise level generated by 120 people whispering to one another is quite high. In order
to allow everyone in the room to listen to the lecture, please do not talk to your neighbors during
lecture. If the noise level starts to climb, one of the teaching staff will remind you not to talk. If the
noise level continues to climb, you may be asked to leave the room. Please remember that there are
many other people in the room and we all must be sensitive to everyones concerns. Also, please turn
off your cell phone when you enter the classroom. The ring tone can be very distracting to your fellow
This course will include three exams: two midterms, and a final exam. The exams are non-cumulative,
and will each be worth one third of your final grade.
6.1 Evaluation Guidelines
Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to
conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the
following averages:
70% 1000-level and 2000-level courses
72% 2100-2990 level courses
75% 3000-level courses
80% 4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows Westerns grading guidelines, which are as follows (see

below 50

One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level

Superior work that is clearly above average
Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
Competent work, meeting requirements
Fair work, minimally acceptable

6.2 Exams & Exam Schedule

There will two mid-term exams during the semester, each 75 questions long, and a non-cumulative
final exam in April (also 75 questions). The exams will test material covered in the assigned
readings, as well as in lecture. Although there is substantial overlap between lecture and textbook
material, it is not complete overlap. Some material is not in the textbook, and some will not be
covered in lecture. Students are responsible for all material.
Midterms will not be handed back in class. If you would like to view your exam, please contact the

Midterm Exam 1 (33.33%)

Chapters 1-5
75 multiple choice questions

Tuesday, February 2
9:30-11:30 am
Location: TBA

Midterm Exam 2 (33.33%)

Chapters 6-10
75 multiple choice questions

Tuesday, March 8
9:30-11:30 am
Location: TBA

Final Exam (33.33%)

Chapters 11-15
75 multiple choice questions


(between April 9th-30th)

6.3 Study Guides, and Practice Questions

Chapter quizzes are available through the textbook publisher companion website, using your
Coursemate Access Card (if you purchased your book from the bookstore). In order to use
Coursemate, you will need to register your Access Code at www.nelsonbrain.com. You will also be
asked to provide a Course Key, which will be posted on OWL (under Announcements). Note that the
virtual labs will not be marked by an instructor, but these will also provide some good study
questions. The quizzes and tests will also provide you with some feedback. However, these do not
count towards your final grade
In addition, review questions and study guides will be made available on the OWL website. I
believe that the study guides are a valuable study aid, and encourage you to use them. However, just
answering the questions on the study guide (filling in the answers), or taking the practice quizzes or
practice exams does NOT prepare you for exams. Rather, these are meant as tools that can help you to
better judge your preparedness and your understanding of the concepts from each chapter. For
example, I always suggest that my students study a given chapter and then look at the study
guide. Fill in the answers to the questions from memory, as a sort of self-test. If you can answer all of
the questions, with full certainty, then the chances are high that you will do well on the exam. If you
miss a few questions, or are unsure of an answer, then this suggests an area for you to brush up on
before the exam.
Topics will be covered in the following order during the year. Approximate lecture dates are given so
that you can keep up with the readings. Ideally, you should do the required readings before the topic
is covered in class. Lectures are intended to highlight certain areas of each topic -- there is not
enough time available to us to cover all the material. However, you are responsible for all the
material in the text. Please note that there is a fairly heavy reading load in this course -- we cover
approximately one chapter every week. Thus, it is important for you to keep up with the readings.

Introduction to Perception
The Beginnings of Perception (Visual Structures)
Neural Processing and Perception
Cortical Organization
Perceiving Objects & Scenes (Bottom-up/Top-Down)
Perceiving Color
Perceiving Depth and Size
Reading Week No Classes
Perceiving Motion
Taking Action
Visual Attention
Auditory Localization & Auditory Scenes
Speech (and Music) Perception
The Cutaneous (& Body) Senses
The Chemical Senses (Smell & Taste)
FINAL EXAM (33.33%)

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Ch. 1-5
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
--Chapter 8
Chapter 7
Chapter 6
Ch. 6-10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Ch. 10-15

Jan. 5, 7
Jan. 12, 14
Jan. 19, 21
Jan. 21, 26
Jan. 26, 28
February 2
Feb. 4, 9
Feb. 9, 11
Feb. 15 19
Feb. 23, 25
Feb. 25, March 1
March 3
March 8
March 10, 15
March 15, 17
March 22, 24
March 24, 29
March 31, April 5


Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and
other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they
undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are
described at the following link:
As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic
offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of
responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and
exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter
plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or
in TurnItIns databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents
in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to
the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and
Turnitin.com (http://www.turnitin.com).
Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course,
suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.



Westerns policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at:

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be
approved for certain accommodation:



Office of the Registrar web site: http://registrar.uwo.ca

Student Development Services web site: www.sdc.uwo.ca
Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:
- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2015 Calendar References
No electronic devices, including cell phones, will be allowed during exams.