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The Logic of Perception – Winter 2011 Tuesday 5:00 – 7:50 pm, Center Hall (CENTR) Room 212

Instructor: Dr. V. S. Ramachandran

Office Hours: Tuesday, 3.30 – 4.30 pm
Location: Mandler Hall 3560

TA: Bernhard Angele, M.A.

Email: or WebCT
Office Hours: Thursday, 1.30 – 3:30pm
Location: Mandeville Coffee Cart (inside Mandeville Hall if raining)

TA: Doug Yovanovich

Email: or WebCT
Office Hours: Monday, 12 – 1 pm
Location: Mandler Hall (basement), room B517

Midterm Exam: 35 multiple-choice questions - 50% of final grade
Final Exam: Cumulative! 50 multiple-choice - 50% of final grade
**You will need to bring a large (8.5 x 11) pink scantron form to each exam. Scantrons
may be purchased at bookstore.**
Approximately half of the questions on the tests will be from the readings and half from lecture,
although there is a great deal of overlap between the two.

Course Website:
Class materials, announcements, grades, etc. will be posted on WebCT:
Please check WebCT often for announcements and syllabus updates.

Required Reading:
Irvin Rock (Ed., 1990) The Perceptual World (Readings from Scientific American). ISBN
9780716720683. (3 copies in course reserves at the library)
Richard Gregory (1997) Eye and Brain, 5 ed.. ISBN 9780691048376 (1 copy in course reserves)

Articles (on WebCT):

1. Livingstone, M. (1988) Art, Illusion, and the Visual System, Scientific American, 258(1) 78 –
2. Ramachandran, V.S. (1992). Blind Spots, Scientific American, 266(5), 86 – 91.
3. Ramachandran, V.S. (1993). Touching the Phantom, Discover, 14(6), 35 – 43.
4. Ramachandran, V.S. & Hubbard, E.M. (2003). Hearing colors, tasting shapes. Scientific
American, 52-59.

Recommended Reading:
Irvin Rock (1984). Perception. ISBN 9780716760115

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The Logic of Perception – Winter 2011 Tuesday 5:00 – 7:50 pm, Center Hall (CENTR) Room 212

Lecture Schedule

Tuesday, January 4th (week 1)

Reading: Gregory, Chs. 3 Eye, 4 Brain
Introduction: Overview of the course. Basic brain anatomy. The visual system. Visual pathways.
Questions about perception. Necessary and sufficient conditions.

Tuesday, January 11th (week 2)

Reading: Gregory, Ch. 1 - Vision
The Phenomena of Perception, Homunculus fallacy. Are there “images” in the brain?
Transmission of information along communication channels. Major theories of perception; direct
perception; perception as unconscious inference; perception as information processing.
Video: More Than Meets the Eye

Tuesday, January 18th (week 3)

Reading: Rock, Ch. 9; Gregory, Ch. 6 - Movement.
Motion Perception; retinal motion detectors; real motion; induced motion; apparent motion;
physiology of motion detection. Illusions of movement; stability of the visual world; saccadic

Tuesday, January 25th (week 4)

Reading: Ramachandran, Touching the Phantom.
Phantom limbs. Review for Midterm Exam.

Tuesday, February 1st (week 5)

MIDTERM EXAM – 90 minutes

Tuesday, February 8th (week 6)

Reading: Rock, Ch. 8; Gregory, Ch.5 - Brightness.
Perception of depth and distance; different sources of information about depth; texture gradients,
size, aerial perspective, light and shade, interposition, motion parallax, the kinetic depth effect,
accommodation, and convergence. Negative after-effects—motion, color, orientation, etc.
Binocular stereopsis.

Tuesday, February 15th (week 7)

Reading: Rock, Chs. 4, 6, 10., Gregory 8. Learning to See
Form perception; Gestalt laws of perceptual organization; perception of figure and ground,
multistability in perception; subjective contours; discrimination of visual texture. Perception of
size; the constancies, Emmert’s law (demonstrations). Visual illusions as inappropriate
constancy scaling. Some case studies; visual attention and the searchlight hypothesis; mental
rotation; the “Parks effect”.
Reading: Ramachandran, Blind Spots article
Visual plasticity; scotomas & “filling in”.

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The Logic of Perception – Winter 2011 Tuesday 5:00 – 7:50 pm, Center Hall (CENTR) Room 212

Tuesday, February 22nd (week 8)

Reading: Livingstone, Art, Illusion and the Visual System; Gregory, Ch. 9 Art
Art and Aesthetics

Tuesday, March 1st (week 9)

Reading: Rock, Ch. 1
Physiology of the visual pathways in mammals; “feature detectors” in vision; the grandmother cell
hypothesis; extrastriate visual areas. Physiology of binocular vision and stereopsis; evolution of
stereoscopic vision; developmental studies on stereoscopic vision. Visual disorders; agnosia;
Blindsight; the zombie in the brain.
Reading: Ramachandran and Hubbard, Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes

Tuesday, March 8th (week 10)

Reading: Rock, Ch. 7; Gregory, Ch. 11 Speculations.
Rearrangement of perceptual space; developmental studies on perception. Theories of
perception reviewed and evaluated.
Review for Final Exam

Final Exam: Thursday, March 17th, 7:00 – 10:00 pm, Location TBA
The questions will cover the whole course. You may take up to the full time specified on
syllabus to complete the test; however, as required by university policy, NO STUDENT WILL
be on time.
Make-up policy: There will be no make-up midterms or make-up finals unless you can
produce a certificate of illness from a physician.
Extra Credit: You may earn extra credit of up to 3 percentage points (1 point/subject hour, 3
hours maximum) toward your final grade in this course by participating as a subject in
experiments that are being conducted in the Psychology Department. Instructions for signing up
for experimental hours can be found at A link to this site is
posted on the course website. Please read the “” and “” sections of the website
before attempting to sign-up for the experiments if you are unfamiliar with the interface. Be sure
to ASSIGN your experimental credits to PSYC 129 after you participate and before the end of week
10, or you will not get credit. If you have any problems or questions, please ask your TA.
Experimental participation is not a requirement for this course. An alternative to experimental
participation for extra credit is available upon request; if you are interested in this, please contact
Bernhard Angele by the end of week 2. Any alternate assignment will be due on the last day of
class, Tuesday March 8th, at 5 pm (NOT on the day of the final exam).

Please note: the above dates of lecture material are best estimates. It is possible, due to
unforeseeable events, that lecture material and dates do not correspond. In this case, an
updated version of this syllabus will be posted on WebCT. However, the dates of the exams are

Special Needs: Students with documented special needs should contact both the instructor and
the TAs by the end of week 1. Waiting longer is not recommended, as the documentation needs to
be verified prior to the midterm. Documentation must come from an appropriate professional.
Accommodations will be made for these students as required by law.
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