Psychology 2115B 001 FW23

Sensation and Perception

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



LONDON               CANADA 

Department of Psychology 



Psychology 2115b  Section 001 

Sensation and Perception 





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. 


Antirequisite(s): Psychology 2015a/b.  


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. 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. 


Prerequisite(s): A mark of at least 60% in 1.0 credits of Psychology at the 1000 level. 


4 lecture hours per week, .5 course  


Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from the 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. 





Instructor:  Stephen Lupker  

Office Number: 7436 SSC  

Phone Number: (519) 661-2111 x84700  



Office Hours:  11:00-12:00 (M), 11:00-12:00 (W) – note that I am generally available either by phone, by Zoom or over e-mail at most times during the week.  So do not feel that these office hours are the only times that you can contact me. If you have questions concerning your understanding of the course material, please either come to my office (no appointment is necessary), call me or request a Zoom meeting.  E-mail is not an effective way to teach course material. 


Teaching Assistant: Austin Robertson  

Office Location:  6th floor WIRB 

Office Hours:  By appointment preferably via Zoom.  Contact him using the e-mail address below.  



Time and Location of Classes:   2:30-4:20 p.m. Mondays, 2:30-4:20 p.m. Wednesdays, Room 2036 SSC  

Delivery Method:  In-Person 


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help. 


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 contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147. 


2.1 Online Learning Notice: 
Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information. 




Coren, S., Ward, L. & Enns, J.T. (2004). Sensation and Perception (sixth edition).  Wiley. This book is no longer in print although some copies are available on the internet.  However, permission has been given to us to post the sections of the book involving the actual readings on the OWL site. 




This course is a survey of many of the basic issues in Sensation and Perception.  Any student who successfully completes it should have learned enough about these topics to be able to take any other undergraduate course in this area. 


Learning Outcome  

Learning Activity  


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge.  

  • Understand the nature of perceptual processes 
  • Understand theories of perception  

Lectures, Readings 

Quizzes, Final Exam 

Knowledge of Methodologies.  

  • Understand how to evaluate relevant data 
  • Understand experimental techniques in perception 

Lectures, Readings 


Communication Skills.  

  • Be able to explain implications of experiments 
  • Be able to explain implications of theoretical positions 
  • Be able to describe experimental results 

Lectures, Readings 

Quizzes, Final Exam 








The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning objectives. 


There will be 3 quizzes and a Final Exam.  All will have a short answer format.  The topics in this course fit nicely into four main areas:  psychophysics, the sense organs, classical issues in perception and modern-day issues in attention/development.  The first quiz will come at the end of the first section on psychophysics.  The second quiz will come at the end of the second section on the sense organs and it will cover only that section.  The third quiz will come at the end of the third section on classical issues in perception and cover only that section.  The Final Exam will be scheduled by the Registrar’s Office and will be held during the Final Examination period.  It will cover the entire course.  The material on the Final Exam will, however, be drawn mainly from the final section of the course. 


The weighting of these evaluations in determining your final mark will be as follows: 


Each Quiz 20% 

Final Exam 40% 


The purpose of the quizzes and Final Exam is to evaluate your ability to accurately answer specific questions about topics covered in the lectures and the text book.  They are not intended to be speeded exams.  Thus, although students will have 2 hours for each quiz, the expectation is that most of you will finish well before the time limit has expired.  No electronic devices, including cell phones, smart watches and earphones are allowed during the quizzes/exam and, of course, you are not permitted to communicate with anyone else during the quizzes/exam.   






There will be no makeup or early quizzes, however, students can be excused from quizzes if they have a legitimate, documented excuse, as determined by the Academic Counselling Office in their Faculty.   


The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages: 


70% 1000-level to 2099-level courses 

72% 2100-2999-level courses 

75% 3000-level courses 

80% 4000-level courses 


The Psychology Department follows Western’s 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 


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components. 


Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course. 


6.0 ASSESSMENT/EVALUATION SCHEDULE – Refer to the information contained in Section 7.0. 





Sequence of Topics Readings 

Introduction Chapter 1 

Psychophysics Pages 13-18, 25-28 

Signal Detection Pages 18-25 

Scaling Pages 30-37  


January 24 QUIZ 


The Ear Pages 116-131 and 154-161 

The Eye Pages 50-61 and 80-109 

The Other Senses Chapter 7 (not 182-184, 190-195, 196-200 and 204-207) 


February 14 QUIZ  


Space Perception Pages 258-280 and 149-153 

Form Perception Pages 216-218, 231-254, 313-319 and 341-343 

The Constancies Pages 298-313 

Speech Perception Pages 168-178 


March 18 QUIZ  


Time and Motion Perception Pages 346-359, 365-372 and 381-384 

Auditory Attention (classical) Pages 398-404 and 417-419 

Visual Attention (classical)            

Visual Attention (modern) Pages 404-411 

Perceptual Development Pages 287-290, 455-459 and 477-487 




Note that there are no classes during Winter Reading Week (Feb 17-25). 





Western University acknowledges that it is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples as well as the many other peoples who lived here before them, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. 


With this, Western University respects the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have to this land. Western University also acknowledges historical injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) may have endured in Canada, and accepts responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation, as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through its teaching, research and community service. 





Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offences. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offences because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offence are described at the following link: 


As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. 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 ( 


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating. 


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system (PRS), data collected using the PRS will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed. Your PRS login credentials are for your sole use only. Students attempting to use another student’s credentials to submit data through the PRS may be subject to academic misconduct proceedings.  


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








Tests and examinations for online courses will be conducted using a remote proctoring service. By taking an online course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at: 

In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance. 





Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 


If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:  

  1. For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;  
  1. For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate. 


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


Students seeking academic consideration: 

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;   
  • must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered by the SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence 


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term. 




In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor. 




In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette: 

  • please “arrive” to class on time 
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet) 
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material 
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise 
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak 
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable 
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting 


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following: 

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question. 
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking. 
  • Self-identify when speaking. 
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise). 


General considerations of “netiquette”: 

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course. 
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing. 
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate. 
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately. 


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct. 




Office of the Registrar:   

Student Development Services:  

Psychology Undergraduate Program: 


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: 

Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology ( 


Copyright Statement: Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent. 


Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions: Some or all of the remote learning sessions for this course (if scheduled) may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers (name displayed on the screen). The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor.