University of Evansville

Neuroscience / Psychology 355

Sensation and Perception

2-2:50pm MWF in Hyde Hall 202


 INSTRUCTOR:  John R. Lakey, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology


Office: 206 Hyde Hall (see website for open hours)

Telephone: 488-2531 (voice mail) or 488-2520 (secretary)



CATALOG DESCRIPTION:   Examines the organization and processing of sensory information and influence of emotion, learning, thoughts and other personal factors on human perception.  Spring.


TEXTBOOK:  JM Wolfe, KR Kluender, DM Levi, LM Bartoshuk, RS Herz, RL Klatzky, SJ Lederman, & DM Merfeld (2015), Sensation & Perception, 4th Edition, Sunderland, MA: Sinauer [ISBN# 9781605352114].

 Companion Website at



(1) Knowledge of Modern Sensory Neuroscience.  You will gain:

(a) Awareness of current approaches to the study of sensory neuroscience,

(b) Knowledge of the origins and important contributions to knowledge,

(c) Knowledge of critical research findings, concepts, and terminology,

(d) Awareness of the major problem areas,

(e) Understanding of the potential and limitations of current research technologies and methodologies.

(2) Personal Development.  You will develop:

(a) Intellectual curiosity about human perception and cognition,

(b) A critical attitude toward “scientific” generalizations and statements of “fact,”

(c) Knowledge about undergraduate research, graduate school and career alternatives,

(d) Technical writing skills.


EXAMINATIONS: 60%.  There will be Four Exams:  (1) psychophysics and touch (Chapters 1 & 13), (2) smell and taste (Chapters 14 & 15), (3) hearing (Chapters 9-10-11), and (4) vision (Chapters 2-3-4 & 7) and – the last will be given during the final exam period.  Exams cover both readings and lectures.  Exam scores are scaled to a class average of 75% if below.  Exams are equally weighted toward the course grade.


STUDY NOTES: 30%.  There are “study notes” or usually one-page papers each worth 10 points (indicated by a check mark), and one will be scheduled each week.  The topics will vary but you may be asked to obtain information (video, online lecture, news report, article, etc.), summarize the key information, and briefly comment on the material.  These papers provide an opportunity to organize your thoughts about a lecture topic or recent finding, practice technical writing, and perhaps generate undergraduate research ideas.  They should be reasonably well written, 200-400 words, and submitted as printed copy on a single page (not emailed).  They are due at the class on the specified date, and multiple-page or late submissions (you must mark “Late” at the top of any tardy page) are automatically assessed one point (check-mark minus).  Scores range from 0 to 11 (check-mark plus for an exceptionally good review or insight).  Omissions are scored as zeroes.  


STUDENT WEBSITE LOGS: 10%.  Submit a log of your use of the Textbook Website with each exam:  You will access, complete, take the Activities quizzes, and write a short quarter-page paragraph describing two (2) Interactive Activities (or Web Essays) at for each of the chapters covered by that exam.  Your description should be dated providing (1) a brief summary of the Activity or Essay (show you did it or read it), (2) your activity quiz answers (list the letter answers: ABCDB… that must score at least 60%), and (3) a short comment on what you found important or meaningful (show you understand it).  Submit these Logs as you would any short paper assignment, stapled together, and name in the upper left corner. Logs are equally weighted toward the course grade.  You may do additional Interactive Activities or Essays) for extra credit (one point per additional activity or exercise).


GRADE CRITERIA: Grades are assigned on a percentage system:

95%  A     87%  B+   80% B-     75% C     67% D+

90%  A-    85%  B     77% C+    70% C-    60% D


HOW BLACKBOARD GRADEBOOK COMPUTES YOUR COURSE GRADE:  Blackboard uses a percentage x percentage computation system -- not a total point percentage system that most would program with Excel -- and this may cause confusion if you try to “check the math.”  In this course, Exams are worth 60%, Study Notes are worth 30%, and Logs are worth 10%, and I have provided summary columns with the category percentages for each of these.  For example, if you have Exams 88%, Study Notes 105%, and Logs 100%, you Course Grade should be 94.3% A- (60 x 0.88 + 30 x 1.05 + 10 x 1.00 = 94.3). 




> ATTENDANCE:  If sick, you should not attend class (with the flu you are infectious two days before and five days after fever onset).  Assignments and class lectures are available on BlackBoard.  Papers and Study Notes can be submitted online or by email.

>OUTSIDE CLASS EFFORT: According to the US Department of Education, students should spend (on average) a minimum of three hours per week per credit for a college level course.

·         This means that, as this is a 3-credit course, you should spend roughly 9 hours per week on this course.

·         Therefore, you should be willing to put in a minimum of 6 hours of out-of-class time each week on this class. 

·         Some of you may succeed and complete the work in less time.  If that works for you – more power to you.  However, if you are not succeeding as well as desired, you may want to study more.  Remember, if you’ve read the assignment once, you’ve read it, but if you’ve read it three times, then you’ve studied it.

> BLACKBOARD:  This course will use BLACKBOARD ( BLACKBOARD’s “Course Information” will hyperlink our Faculty Class Website and the current “official” syllabus and calendar, and BLACKBOARD’s “Grade Book” will record and compute your course grade.  BLACKBOARD’S “Assignments” will list “Study Notes” usually an exam at a time.  We will communicate by BLACKBOARD email: You must maintain your university email account.  You are responsible for detecting grade book errors and promptly reporting them.  If you have problems accessing BLACKBOARD or maintaining a current email account, please contact the OTS Help Desk ( or 488-2077) for assistance.

> OFFICE HOURS:  Open first-come-first-serve hours will be posted on the Instructor’s door and on his Faculty Website at , but these hours are subject to other duties so check before you make a pilgrimage to see me.  I am also available at other times, and you can make a formal appointment.  If you are waiting to see me outside my office door, even if I appear busy, make sure I know you’ re waiting for me.

> MAKE-UP EXAMS:  Students will regularly sit for scheduled exams. Should you miss an exam without that absence excused by the instructor, the score is zero.  If excused, you will be allowed to take a substitute exam to replace the zero.  If this “makeup” is administered by the Department Assistant, Mrs. Miller, you must schedule it at her convenience (call 488-2520 to make arrangements).

> INCOMPLETE COURSE GRADES:  The grade report of I (Incomplete Grade) will be submitted only when justified by personal crisis or legitimate sickness; otherwise, missing scores are entered as zeroes for computation of the course grade.  You or the Dean of Students should request an I in writing presenting your extenuating circumstances and, if possible, providing a detailed time schedule for completion of the course:  You must receive the instructor’s approval in writing to be assured of the I report.  If the deficiency is not removed within twelve months, the I automatically becomes a permanent grade of F.  You may formally repeat a course once to replace a low grade.

> WITHDRAWAL: A course may be dropped without transcript notation during the first two weeks of a semester.  From the third through the eleventh weeks, a grade of W that does not affect your GPA is assigned.  After the eleventh week, you will be assigned a grade in the course.  Discontinuance of attendance does not constitute a W withdrawal; you must formally complete the yellow add-drop card, obtain your advisor’s and instructor’s signatures, and submit that care to the Registrar’s Office before its close on the “Last Day to Withdraw with a ‘W’ Grade” (see the “Academic Calendar” on the UE website for the specific date).  Should you have personal problems that justify your withdrawal, see the Dean of Students (UC230 or 812-488-2500) to present your petition.

> DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION:  It is the policy of the University of Evansville to make reasonable accommodations for students with properly documented disabilities.  Written notification to faculty from the Office of Counseling and Health Education is required for any academic accommodations.  If you are eligible to receive and accommodation and would like to request it for this course, please discuss it with me and allow two weeks’ notice.  Otherwise, accommodation cannot be guaranteed.  If you have questions about services for students with disabilities or procedures for requesting services, you may contact the Office of Counseling and Health Education (UC204 or 812-488-2663).

> ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:  You will support the University of Evansville’s Academic Honor Code endorsing the following standards of ethical conduct:  “I understand that any work which I submit for course credit will imply that I have adhered to the Academic Honor Code:  I will neither give nor receive unauthorized aid nor will I tolerate an environment which condones the use of unauthorized aid.”  Immediately report any honor code problem to the instructor.

> UNAUTHORIZED AID FOR EXAMS:  Even without multiple forms of an examination, results can be subjected to “answer profile analysis” for correspondence of answers between students (for example see R.B. Fray, 1993, Detection of Multiple-Choice Answer Copying, Applied Measurement in Education, 6, 153-165).  This analysis is reliable, valid, and effective.  Students do not have to be seen copying: Statistical analysis can easily identify those who have exchanged answers on an examination.

 > AUTHORIZED AID FOR WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS:  Briefly acknowledge all aid and assistance you obtain in preparing written assignments.  You may freely obtain help from the Writing Center (located in the Excel Center in the old Library).  You may ask other students to read your paper and make verbal suggestions for improvement, but they may not provide any written help.  Simply provide a footnote acknowledging their aid.  You may (and should routinely) run your word-processor’s “Spelling and Grammar” check without footnote acknowledgement.

> PLAGIARISM:  Any copied words in your papers must be in quotation marks (offset without quotation marks if 40 or more words) with citation of their specific source (author, date, and page or paragraph).  Any paraphrased ideas in your paper should be attributed to their author (at least by name, usually citing the referenced publication).  Plagiarism occurs if you violate either of these two basic rules.  Presenting someone else’s work as your own is never “authorized,” and it is always violates our Academic Honor Code.  You can plagiarize yourself by submitting previously submitted papers, or sections thereof, without quotation marks or offset and citation.

> CITATION SYSTEM:  Failure to correctly cite and properly reference others’ work can be construed as plagiarism.  In all papers, you are required to specify and use a citation-reference system appropriate for your academic major.  Guides to the APA system are found in Rosnow & Rosnow, Writing Papers in Psychology, Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook, and various websites (linked at our class website).  You will adhere to the latest APA citation and format rules (APA Publication Manual, 6th ed.), and you will be graded on your correct use of that system.  Don’t over-cite: Usually, “Smith et al. (2012) found…” at the beginning covers everything in that paragraph, or “(Smith et al., 2012)” at the end of several sentences on that report, will suffice. If cited in the text, then a corresponding citation must appear in the Reference section at the end of the paper (bottom of our Study Notes) -- and vice versa.

>CREDIT HOURS:  This course meets the federal requirements of 15 in-class hours plus an expected 30 hours of out-of-class work per credit hour.