Neural Information Processing

Modules Master

Course title:
Sensory Psychology

Module number  MKOGW1

Type of Module Elective (Wahlpflicht)

Credits allocated 
6 LP in total 
total: 180 h

Contact time 
60 h / 2 SWS lecture and 2 SWS seminar
120 h / for reading and preparation

Lectures and seminars within the module
If students take the module, then:
VL Psychophysical Methods is compulsory, as is one of the following three seminars:
S Spatial Vision is optional
S Theories of Vision is optional
S Colour Vision & Material Perception is optional
Thus the lecture and one of the seminars has to be taken.

Module length
2 or 4 semesters, depending on the choice of the student

Frequency of module
Lecture Psychophysical Methods yearly every winter term (WiSe) – beginning in 2021.

Seminar Spatial Vision triennially in the summer term (SoSe) – Scheduled for 2022 and 2025.
Seminar Theories of Vision triennially in the summer term (SoSe) – Scheduled for 2023 and  2026.
Seminar Colour Vision & Material Perception triennially in the summer term (SoSe) – Scheduled for 2024 and 2027. 


Limited number of participants 
20 (limited to allow discussion in the seminars)

Type of Course
2 SWS lecture Psychophysical Methods
2 SWS seminar Spatial Vision or Theories of Vision or Colour Vision & Material Perception
The combination ensures both discussion and critical assessment of content as well as fast presentation of novel material.

Lecture in the 1. or 3. Fachsemester and seminar in the 2. or 4. Fachsemester; it is strongly recommended to complete the lecture on Psychophysical Methods before taking one of the seminars; so the combinations 1-2, 1-4 and 3-4 are fine, 3-2 is discouraged.

Exam & Grading
Grade of the modul is the equally weighted (50/50) average of a written exam (1.5hrs) at the end of the lecture course, and the grade obtained in the seminar (itself the average (50/50) of the grade for the presentation and the accompanying hand-out).

Lecture Psychophysical Methods
• Linear systems theory, psychophysical methods and experimental design, signal detection theory, diffusion models for reaction times, psychometric function estimation.
Seminar Spatial Vision
• Optics of the eye, absolute thresholds, adaptation, contrast sensitivity function, spatial frequency selectivity, contrast gain-control, early visual representation of the world.
Seminar Theories of Vision
• Inverse optics, Gibson’s direct perception, vision as (unconscious) inference, the interface theory of vision, vision as predictive coding, the efficient coding hypothesis.
Seminar Colour Vision & Material Perception
• Spectral composition of light, wavelength encoding, colour matching, trichromacy, colour appearance, colour constancy, material properties & perception.

Learning targets
Participants learn the central behavioural limits, concepts and psychophysical methods in sensory psychology. In addition, they get to know the specifics of either spatial vision or theories of vision or colour vision & material perception as well as the state-of-the-art models in these domains and their theoretical foundations.

Allowable for

  •    Kognitionswissenschaft - Master, Studienbereich Wahlpflcihtmodule Natürliche Kognition
  •    Informatik - Master
  •    Bioinformatik - Master
  •    Medieninformatik - Master
  •    Medizininformatik - Master

Prerequisites  Basic knowledge in mathematics and statistics is required; basic knowledge of the fundamentals of visual perception is helpful.

Course Co-ordinator  Prof. Felix Wichmann, DPhil

Suggested reading  Literature will be announced at the beginning of the lecture course and seminar series.