PS1061: Sensation and Perception 2011-12
Coursework Essay Instructions
Course co-ordinator: Johannes M. Zanker, email@example.com, (Room 214)
have you seen this mess?
sorting organisms into relationship trees -
The topic relates to the not always obvious but very common experience of visual illusions, which is not only a technique used by artists to create experiences away from physical reality, but which also has a huge relevance for Psychology as a clue to understand how sensory systems work, and for us as human to realize how surprisingly difficult it can be to be confident about the nature of the world. In this sense it is an important philosophical question, which could make us think 'never believe what you see!'.
And here you can download your essay instruction sheet...
Think about some of the illusions you have seen during the lectures, and perhaps during your background reading (many Psychology textbooks are populated with illusions, and have you noticed the mural next to the entrance of the Psychology building?). From your initial exploration, you should choose your favorite illusion and bring it to tutorial to discuss with your tutor and your peers. (You can also upload your illusion to the Student Forum, and we should end up with a nice collection!)
After the tutorial, try to explore a wider variety of illusions (see sources below, and spend some time - not too much, though - exploring such phenomena on the web) and think about possible ways to arrange them in categories, such as the following:
And many more - just be creative! Then consider which of these categories make sense, which ar useless or sully, and what you can learn from each of these categories. Then decide which one you want to use to organize you 'Zoo of Illusions'!
Dont worry, you dont need to cover all of these aspects, a 1500 word essay certainly can only scratch the surface. At some point you should, however, define what illusions are and what they have in common. You also should describe in which ways illusions can differ from each other and what links them together. At the end, you could present some of your thoughts to evaluate how illusions help psychologists to understand human behaviour and the mind.
Have fun, but don't get lost on the internet!
The basic framework fro this essay is covered in the lecture on the 28th of October, and can be found on the webpage for lectures 1 - 4 (many visual illusions demonstrated in 3 & 4) (access from http://www.pc.rhul.ac.uk/staff/J.Zanker/PS1061/PS1061.htm). Starting from the lecture material, the best way forward, if you want to drill deeper into the material, is to read the chapters on hearing in the main textbook (Zanker 2010) and/or start browsing Goldstein (2007), to collect information and ideas that can be relevant for your essay. Then you can move on to other sources, some of which ar listed below, to gain deeper understanding of some illusions, or expand your overview about the variety of such phenomena. When you search the internet for additional material, make sure that you always end up with reliable sources (i.e. material published in academic journals that you can include as references).
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last update 18-10-2011