Psychology 2015B-001

The Psychology of Perception

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.


This survey course provides an introduction to perception with an emphasis on perceptual principles in everyday life. The topics may include: assessment of vision and hearing, perceptual principles in art and film, colour vision, illusions and constancies, the perception of pain, perceptual disabilities, and the senses of animals.


Antirequisite: Psychology 2115A/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.


3 lecture hours, 0.5 course


       Instructor:   Dr. John Campbell                     

       Office and Phone Number:  SSC 7440          

       Office Hours: TBA; By appointment



       Teaching Assistant: Susan Coltman              

       Office: TBA                                                 

       Office Hours: TBA                                       



       Time and Location of Classes:   Tuesdays, 2:30 – 5:30pm, TC-141

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: 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. (2016). Sensation & Perception, 10th edition. Wadsworth Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-133-95849-9



This course will introduce students to the various human senses, including vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, pain, and vestibular and kinaesthetic senses. It will cover basic issues of transduction and transmission in the sense modalities, and subsequent perceptual processing. This will include description of the how processing produces perception and recognition. We’ll also examine various methods for investigating perceptual experience.


  1. Recognize the individual perceptual processes and identify how they relate to the broader function of our perceptions
  2. Identify the methods used to investigate perceptual processes by researchers in psychology
  3. Take experimental methods into account when interpreting the results of perceptual experiments.
  4. Apply basic findings in perception psychology to make predictions about scenarios in everyday life



Grades in this course will be based on three multiple choice exams: two midterms and a final exam. Midterm #1 will be worth 30% of the final grade. Midterm #2 will be worth 30%. The final exam will be worth 40%. Exams will not be cumulative – each will cover roughly one-third of the course content.

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%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail




January 9    Introduction                                                  1
January 16   Psychophysics & Signal Detection               1 + Appendix
January 23    Vision (1)                                                    2
January 30    Vision (2)                                                    3

February 6    Midterm #1 – covers Chapters 1, 2, 3, + Appendix & corresponding lectures

February 13    Hearing                                                    11
February 20    Reading Week – No lecture
February 27    Cutaneous & Chemical Senses                14, 15
March      6    Perceiving Motion                                     8

March      13      Midterm #2 – covers Chapters 8, 11, 14, 15, & corresponding lectures

March 20     Perceiving Objects & Scenes              5
March 27     Visual Attention                                  6
April      3    Perceiving Color, Depth & Size           9 & 10

April    10    Perceiving Color, Depth & Size           9 & 10

Final exam– Chapters 5, 6, 9, 10, & corresponding lectures – Scheduled by Registrar’s Office for a time during the April exam period (April 14 – 30, 2018)


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 TurnItIn’s 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

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Western’s 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:

Student Development Services web site:

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
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.