Fall 2004

*This semester Undergradaute Perception (PSY 440) is beingco-taught with Graduate Perception (PSY 506)

Course Basics (instructor, text, prerequisitesand objectives)
Common course components (Psy 440 and 506)
Undergraduate-only components (Psy 440)
Graduate-only components (Psy 506)
Course mechanics (extra credit, grading,etc.)

We also have a classweb site that documents the reserach projects and theservice-learning trip to McMichael Middle School.

Returnto Perception 440 Page

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Lauren Scharff
HOURS: MWF 11-12, MW 2:00-4:00, WF 9-10, T 10-11:30, and byappointment

How to contact me:
office phone 468-1415
webpage: /Scharff.html

Sensation and Perception 6th Edition
by E. Bruce Goldstein

Be sure to get the new edition that includes the S&P VirtualLab CD!

There will also be articles / readings handed out in class andpossibly some articles on reserve in the library or placed on mywebpage. Some class announcements and assignments will be sent to youvia email. I will use your titan account that you are assignedthrough SFASU. It will be your responsibility to check your emailregularly. It is possible to forward your titan account email toanother account if you prefer (e.g. a hotmail account). I will alsosend Psychology news updates; these are optional readings unlessotherwise noted.

Prerequisites PSY 440: Twelve hours of Psychology includingPSY 341 or the equivalent, with a grade of C or better.

Objectives PSY 440: The objectives of this course are toprovide you with a general background of psychophysical andphysiological perception research, and to integrate this content intoa senior capstone experience that draws on your Psychologybackground, especially in statistics and experimental psychology.This course will place an emphasis on vision, and secondarily, onaudition.

As part of the course you will perform short experiments, be shownperceptual demonstrations, and be involved in several individual andgroup projects (one will be a major group experimental project). Myassessment of your understanding of the material will be based onexams, papers, and homework assignments.

Applied and developmental perception issues will be discussed,with an emphasis on the effects of aging. To complement theseemphases, service learning will be incorporated by sharing whatyou've learned with junior high students at TJR Middle School.Service learning has been defined as "the process of integratingvolunteer community service combined with active guided reflectioninto the curriculum to enhance and enrich student learning ofmaterial" (David Johnson, Miami-Dade C.C.).

Objectives PSY 506: This course should provide you with abackground of psychophysical and physiological perception research asrelated to the study of the normal visual system as well as caseswhere the system has incurred damage, or changed due to aging ordisease. Applied perception topics will also be incorporated.Commonalties with the other senses will be pointed out. In order toclarify the material, demonstrations will be incorporated wheneverpossible.

Common Course Components 440 and 506

Chapter Exams: There will be no major exams; instead, therewill be an exam approximately every two weeks. The 12 chapter examswill consist of short answer and short essay questions. I will useyour top 10 exam grades when calculating your final grade for thecourse. The questions will be drawn from the assigned readings aswell as from the lectures and assignments. Each chapter exam will beworth 40 points. Chapter exams are scheduled to last 30-35 minutes atthe beginning of class (except Exam 12, which will be given at thescheduled time of the final).

The (highly) probable exam schedule is:

Exam 1
Sept. 7
Exam 2
Sept. 14
Exam 3
Sept. 21
Exam 4
Sept. 28
Exam 5
Oct. 5
Exam 6
Oct. 14
Exam 7
Oct. 21
Exam 8
Nov. 2
Exam 9
Nov. 9
Exam 10
Nov. 16
Exam 11
Nov. 23
Exam 12
Dec. 17

NO make-ups will be given except for a DOCUMENTED emergency. (Inother words, weddings, vacations, oversleeping etc. will not qualifyas a legitimate excuse.) In order to qualify for a make-up, you mustcontact me as soon as your emergency allows, and you must take themake-up within one week of returning to class. If you know ahead oftime that you have a university-related conflict, get medocumentation prior to missing the exam.

Homework Assignments: You will perform severaldemonstrations and experiments throughout the semester. Many will usethe S&P Virtual Lab CD or some software on the computers in ED127. For the five homework assignments you will answer some questionsgiven on a handout (5 points each assignment). They do not need to betyped.

Attendance/Lateness: Attendance will be recorded in bothclass and lab. You will be allowed one unexcused absence without agrade penalty. Any unexcused absences after the one will result in a1% deduction from your final course average (out of 100%). Missingthe TJR trip (undergraduates only) without an excuse will result in a3% deduction from your final course average.

You are strongly urged to attend class everyday, because at least25% of the material on each test will ONLY be covered in lectures(i.e. it will not be in the textbook). Therefore, it will be to youradvantage to attend the lectures. Lateness to class interrupts thelecture and is not fair to those who do arrive on time. If you mustarrive late or leave early for some reason, please let me know, andsit by the door so as to minimize the interruption.

Reflection Papers: You will be required to write two short"reflection" papers for this class (one at the beginning of semesterand one near the end of the semester). They will each be ~2 pages inlength, and will consist of responses to questions regardingperception and its application, the aging process and classactivities. More detailed instructions will be given in class.

Undergraduate-only Components (PSY 440)

Experimental Project and Research Paper:

The undergraduates in class will help design and conduct anexperimental study. This project will have several writtencomponents. You will first submit an annotated bibliographysummarizing 4 journal and 4 web references that apply to the topic.The second written component will be the introduction and methodssections with a complete reference page. We will run the experimentduring a class period (collect data on ourselves) and outside ofclass/lab times* (to collect data using naïve participants,similar to what you did for your individual project in experimentalpsychology). We will analyze the data together during a class period.The final written component will be the full APA formatted paper (10pages in length, length not including title page, figures or tables)containing all of the APA sections. You will turn in a printedversion, as well as an electronic version on a disk. (I will returnyour disk.) I will place a composite version on the class webpage.

* This project will make an original contribution to the state ofknowledge on the topic. Thus, I hope that we can present it at SWPA(March 24-26). I am hoping that 2-4 of you would be interested inbeing official co-authors (along with me) on the project. The rest ofthe class will be officially acknowledged on the presentation.Co-authors would have the following responsibilities IN ADDITION towhat your are required for class: help collect data outside of classtime using naïve participants, help sort and organize data foranalyses, help write the abstract, and help prepare the conferencepresentation. You will not be required to attend the conference,although you certainly will be welcome to attend (and encouraged todo so). The SWPA conference will be held this year in Memphis, TN. Wemay receive some travel money from the university, but we cannotexpect that all travels costs would be covered. You will have tocover any remaining travel costs if you attend.


Service-Learning Project:

As mentioned above, for our service-learning project we willinteract with middle-school students (GT students, grades 6-8). Theseinteractions will be during our scheduled class time, so the eventwill be organized as an after-school workshop for the middle-schoolstudents. Below is a brief description; more details about thisproject will be given several weeks ahead of time in class.

During the workshop you will give a short presentation over atopic in applied perception (you will choose your topic with myapproval; no two people can have the same topic). You will prepare ahandout on your topic that we will give each student. At theworkshop, most of the time will be spent sharing perceptualdemonstrations as learned in class. The service-learning project willbe documented on the class web page. Your handout, presentation, andthe interactions will be worth 35 points.

Graduate-only Components (PSY 506)

Research paper and handout based on book chapter / Classpresentation:

Here is a brief description; more details about this project willbe given several weeks ahead of time in class. I have picked 10chapters from specialized books on aspects of vision (e.g. Visualchanges with Alzheimer's Disease or Downs Syndrome or mentalretardation, Unconscious perception: blindsight, Neonatal developmentissues). Each of you will pick a chapter (random selection for whochooses first, etc.). You will read the chapters, find 5 additionalrelated references, write a 5-page research paper over the topic,make a summary handout to give to all students in the class, and givea presentation in class. The presentations will be 15 minutes (10-12minutes plus 3-5 minutes for questions). I have parts of fourThursday class times scheduled for the presentations (Oct 28 - Nov18). I will first ask for volunteers and then randomly draw names toassign you to your presentation date.

Course Mechanics (440 and 506)

Extra Credit: The will be several opportunities for extracredit throughout the semester. Opportunities will include popquizzes, activities, short assignments. The maximum number of extracredit points allowed is 2% of the possible course points (departmentpolicy).

Academic Dishonesty: THE NEW POLICY STATES: "After adetermination of dishonesty, the faculty member shall notify theOffice of the Dean of the student's major by submitting a Report ofAcademic Dishonesty form, along with supporting documentation asnoted on the form. This report shall be made part of the student'srecord and shall remain on file with the Dean's office for at leastfour years. The Dean shall refer second or subsequent offenses to theUniversity Committee on Academic Integrity established under thispolicy. The faculty member shall also inform the student of theappeals process available to all SFA students (Policy A-2)."

WebCT: All your grades will be posted on WebCT. To accessWebCT, you will use your mySFA ID and password. There are furtherinstructions on the class web page. You will also have all yourassignments returned to you in class after they have been graded.

Course Grading:

The evaluation of your writing assignments will be based primarilyon how fully and effectively you complete the assignment. However, Iwill expect all writing to use the conventions of standard writtenEnglish, which includes usage, punctuation, and mechanics (especiallyspelling). All papers should be turned in typed, using 12-point font.See below for the point values for each paper.

I will also be happy to review drafts of your paper. My reviewprocess requires your presence - I won't be "pre-grading" your paper,but instead will discuss with you your paper's strengths andweaknesses - thus, think ahead and schedule an appointment withme!

You must have documentation to turn in a late paper withoutpenalty. Otherwise you will lose 10% of the paper points per day (orpartial day) that it is late.

The final course grade will be determined using the followingpoints:

Chapter Exams (top 10 at 40 pts each)
Reflection papers (2 at 20 pts each)
Homework Assignments

Annotated Bibliography
Introduction / Methods / Ref pag
Complete write-up
Service-Learning handout / presentation
25 / 10

Research paper
Handout summary
Presentation and answering questions

Point totals
UG / Grad.
600 / 565

Individuals receiving at least 90% of the points will receive anA, 80 - 89.9% a B, etc.

Note: It will be to your benefit to keep up with thechapter readings as they are covered in lecture. If you have anyquestions over the course material, please come discuss them with me.(It helps to do this before the tests rather than after...) You mayalso email me at any time.