Syllabus F14

Course: Psy 346 Sensation & Perception 
Instructor: Dr. Matt Rossano 
Text: Perception by Randolph Blake and Robert Sekuler (2006) fifth ed. 
Office: 219 SE Phone: 985-351-3663
Office Hrs:
MW: 8:20-9:20; 2-3:30
TTh: 9:50-10:50; 1:30-3:00
email: (please note that all email communication should be done through the university assigned email address).

Note on communication: email is the best and preferred means of communicating with me. If you want to get a hold of me, send me an email. Email provides us both with a written record of our conversation which may be important if there are disagreements later. You probably won’t be able to get a hold of me by phone and even if you do, I’ll probably forget our conversation five minutes after it’s done. Send me an email! 

Course Overview: 
In this class we will study the workings of the human perceptual systems.  These systems include: the visual system, the auditory system, tactual and haptic systems, olfactory system, and the taste system.  While all of these perceptual systems are important to daily life, sight and sound are without question, the two most complex and important to human functioning.  Therefore, we will spend the greatest amount of time discussing them.  We will start our examination of these systems on a physiological basis, dealing with the basic anatomy and physiology of the systems.  From there, we will proceed to more psychologically based phenomena.  Additionally, we will deal with some basic theoretical and philosophical issues about human perception which have perplexed people for literally thousands of years.  The class will be primarily a lecture format, however, it is very visual in nature. Nearly every theory, issue, or concept comes down to some graph, diagram, or visual depiction of some sort. All this “visual stuff” can be found on the class powerpoints on my webpage. Furthermore, all class information (syllabus, powerpoints, study guides, etc.) are all on my webpage. I use Moodle to post grades and for mass communication – everything else relevant to the class is on my webpage.


The webpage address is at the top of the syllabus. Furthermore, I sent you the link in my initial class email to you all prior to the first day of class. Just to be completely thorough, here’s another way of getting to the webpage. Go to the Southeastern main page, click on faculty and staff, pull down a bit, click on faculty and staff webpages, pull down a bit, click on my name, then click on Psyc 346: Sensation and Perception. For the record, I also demonstrated this to you in class on the first day. Folks, there’s just no excuse for not knowing how to get to my webpage – so don’t even think about using that one!  

There will be three tests and a final given during the semester. The tests will be multiple choice format with 50-60 questions per test. The final will have 90-100 questions on it. The tests cover only the chapters indicated in the course outline (usually 3 or 4 chapters). The final, however, is cumulative. Dates for the tests and the final are indicated on the class outline part of this syllabus. Tests may include anything from text or lecture, however, you will find that there is considerable overlap between the text and lecture (not complete, but considerable). This overlap material comprises the majority of the test. On test days you must bring a number two pencil and a scantron answer sheet (the ones with 50 questions per side). You can buy these items at the bookstore. 

Make-up tests
Don't miss schedule tests! You and I will both be alot happier if you just take the test when you are supposed to. But, if you must miss a test here are the rules for taking make-ups. If you know beforehand that you will miss a scheduled test, contact me at least 24 hours before the test. If something comes up and you are unable to attend class the day of the test, you must contact me by the next class meeting. So, for example, if we have a test on Monday at 9:30 am, you have until Weds. 9:30am to contact me. If we have a test schedule on Weds. 9:30am, you have until the next Monday, 9:30am to contact me. By "contact" I mean either see me personally, or give a call, email, or leave a message for me at the main office (there is an answering machine there that will pickup even if the office is closed). If you do not contact me before or promptly (defined as “by the next class meeting”) after the missed test, you will not be allowed to take a make-up.

I’ll repeat here that the best way to communicate with me is always email. This can be especially important regarding make ups. Even if you see me personally about a make up, I will still ask you to send me an email so that we both have a written record of our interaction. That way if I agree verbally to give you a make up, but forget about it later, you still have a written record to protect yourself. Always send me emails.

Make-ups are given by the department in White Hall, Room 209, on Thursdays from 3:30-4:45. This is the only time that make-ups are given. You must make arrangements to be there at that time.  Students who are to take make-ups must report to WH 209 at 3:30. You must bring paper and pen. The make-up test is five essay question. 

Here's how I calculate grades.  On each test you will get a score indicating the number of points you received on the test.  On each test the number of questions equals the number of possible points. There are three tests and a final, so you will get four scores.  At the end of the semester I add up the scores for each student to get the total points that each student achieved during the course. The student with the highest point total wins, i.e. that person gets an A.  I then take 93% of that top score, and everyone with at least 93% of that top score also gets an A.  I then take 85% of that score to assign the B's; 78% for C's; 70% for D's; everything below that is an F. 

Here’s how to keep track of your standing in the class during the course of the semester: After each test, I will post your score and the high score for the test on Moodle. Write these numbers down (your score and the high score).  Keep a running record of these scores during the course of the semester. At any time you can take your total and divide it by the high total to obtain a proportion. Compare that proportion to the scale used to assign grades.

If you think about it, at the end of the semester that’s all I’m doing.

So here's an example: (which, by the way, I also demonstrated in class the first day!). Suppose you get a 43 on test 1 and a 50 on test 2 and the high scores for tests 1 and 2 were 52 and 55 respectively. Then your total to that point in the semester would be 43+50=93 and the high total would be 52+55=107. So you're grade would be: 93/107=.89 or B.

If you ask me “what’s my grade??? – all I’m gonna do is ask you “what’s your point total?” “What’s the high total?” “What proportion do you get when you divide your total by the high total?” Really, you can do this on your own; you don’t (or shouldn’t) need me to hand-hold. All the information necessary for calculating your grade will be provided, but it’s your responsibility to get and record the information. You're grade should never come as a surprise to you. If it does, its you're own fault! Also, since I don’t calculate grades until all the points are in at the end of the semester, I cannot tell you what you "need" on a given test to get a certain grade. As far as I’m concerned you always “need” to get as many points on each and every test as you are capable of getting. Just do your best! 

Disabled students: If you are a qualified student with a disability seeking accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are required to self-identify with the Office of Disability Services Room 117 Mims Hall. No accommodations will be granted without documentation from the office of disability services.

Children in the classroom: By university policy children are not permitted in the classroom. Students are not to bring family members for day care or babysitting.

Attendance: Attending class is a good idea. I encourage it. I do take attendance as is required by University policy. However, do not count on me to drop you for non-attendance. It is the responsibility of the student to drop this class if it is his/her desire to do so.

Academic integrity:
Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. Behavior that violates these standards is not acceptable. Examples are the use of unauthorized material, communication with fellow students during an examination, attempting to benefit from the work of another student and similar behavior that defeats the intent of an examination or other class work. Cheating on examinations, plagiarism, improper acknowledgment of sources in essays and the use of a single essay or paper in more than one course without permission are considered very serious offenses and shall be grounds for disciplinary action as outlined in the current General Catalogue.

Students agree by taking this course that all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the of service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the website.

In class behavior: any behavior that inhibits the ability of the instructor to teach or fellow students to benefit from that instruction will not be tolerated. Therefore no uncivil or disruptive behavior will be permitted in class. Furthermore, no beepers, cell phones, or other noise-making electronic devices may be brought to class unless prior approval has been given by the instructor.

Important Dates:

a. Friday, September 26 is the last day to withdraw or resign from Term I classes by 12:30 p.m.
b. Friday, October 24 is the last day to withdraw or resign from regular classes by 12:30 p.m.
c. Thursday, November 19 is the last day to withdraw or resign from Term II classes by 5:00 p.m.
d. Monday, December 15 is the last day to return rental textbooks without a fine.
e. Friday, December 19 – Rental books must be purchased if not returned by 12:30 p.m.


Class Outline




1 8/20


    Intro to Class and topic.

2 8/25,27


   The Eye

3 9/3*


   The Eye

4 9/8,10



5 9/15,17


    Higher Level Vision

*off 9/1 for Labor Day
Test 1 Monday Sept. 22 chapters 1-4




6 9/24


   Space and Form perception

7 9/29, 10/1


   Color Perception

8 10/6,8


   Depth Perception

9 10/13,15


   Depth Perception

Test 2 Monday 10/20 chapters 5, 7, 8 




10 10/22


  Action and Events

11 10/27,29


  Structure & Function of Ear

12 11/3,5


  Hearing and Listening

13 11/10,12


  Speech and Music

 Test 3 Monday Nov. 17 chapters 9-12 




14 11/19



15 11/24*



16 12/1,3



*Thanksgiving break 11/26-28

Final exam: Tues. Dec. 9 at 8am-10am
Note: finals are always in the same classroom, unless otherwise specified