Psychology 240 / Biology 240
The Psychology and Biology of Perception

Spring 2007, Section 001
Class Meetings: MWF 12:35 - 1:25, 439 Damen Hall

Instructor: Dr. Anne Sutter
Office Hours: MWF 1:30- 3:00, or by appointment.
Office Location: 612 Damen Hall
Telephone: 508-3012
E-mail: (I prefer that you send e-mail instead of leaving voice mail)

Course Website:

Required Text:
Goldstein, E. B. (2007). Sensation & Perception, 7th edition, Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN-10: 0534558100 ISBN-13: 9780534558109

Goldstein, E. B. (2004). Sensation & Perception, 6th edition, Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN-10: 0534639917 ISBN-13: 9780534639914

Course Description:
Have you ever really thought about what it means to be able to see and hear? What happens in your eyes, ears, and brain that enables you to convert physical energy (photons, pressure variations in air) into a conscious awareness of sights and sounds? It isn't magic, but it is amazing (and complex.) This course is designed to give you an overview of some basic facts, theoretical issues, and investigative methods in the study of perception--specifically vision and audition. The class will involve lectures, class discussion, demonstrations, reading assignments, and exams.

Course Requirements:
Exams. There will be five exams covering lecture material supplemented by chapters in the text. They will consist of a combination of multiple choice, short-answer, and essay items, and they are not cumulative (although you do need to be able to build on previously learned concepts throughout the course.) The exams require you to do more than just memorize the material. To do well, you must understand concepts and theories well enough to explain them clearly and thoroughly in writing, and to apply them to new situations. You need to understand, not just know the material, and you need to be able to communicate that understanding precisely. This is an important skill in science, and indeed, in the real world in general, including business and medicine. Weighting of the exams is described below.

Make-up exams. If you do not take the exam on the day it is scheduled, you will receive a score of zero on the exam. Make-up exams will be given only for exams missed due to illness, injury or the death of a relative (an official doctor's note or other relevant documentation must be produced.) No automobile-related excuses will be accepted. Don't oversleep on the day of the exam. The make-up exams are harder than in-class exams. If we schedule a make-up exam for you, and you miss it, you will receive a score of zero on the exam (no rescheduling of make-up exams.)

Academic Honesty. Cheating will be prosecuted to the full extent of university regulations. I mean it. I will make a scene if I catch someone cheating, and that person will receive a score of zero on the exam, in addition to other prizes. See the undergraduate catalog online at for the full list of consequences. On test days, you will not be allowed to leave the classroom until you turn in your test (no bathroom breaks), and no one will be allowed to begin the test after the first person has finished and left the room. Since grading is on a curve, if you see someone cheating during a test, you shouldn't tolerate it -- it could directly affect your grade.

Class Attendance:
You are strongly encouraged to attend class. Exams will cover all material presented in class, including material that does not appear in the text (I will warn you about this when it occurs.) Additionally, if I don't say it in class, it won't be on the exam. If you miss class, you should know that I will NOT be able to give you a make-up lecture during my office hours on material presented, discussed, or illustrated in class (it's not fair to people who actually went to class.) If you miss class, you must get notes from a fellow student, study the notes and read the assigned chapters, then see me if you have questions. I know that sometimes you have to miss class for a good reason, and I understand that. What I want to discourage is the practice of blowing off class and then coming to my office to get a personal lecture on the material. I really do encourage you to come to my office to talk about the course material, but I like to see you in class first.

Course Grades:
Grades will be based on performance on the five exams. Your four highest exam scores each will be worth 22.5% of your course grade. Your lowest exam score will be worth 10% of your course grade. No extra credit is offered in this course. Course grades will be assigned as follows:

450 - 500 total points (90 - 100%), Grade = A
400 - 449 total points (80 - 89%), Grade = B
350 - 399 total points (70 - 79%), Grade = C
300 - 349 total points (60 - 69%), Grade = D
000 - 299 total points (00 - 59%), Grade = F

Plus and minus grades will be assigned depending on the class distribution of scores.

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Updated August 22, 2006.