BEHV 2010 Perception

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 101680

Coordinator John Cass Opens in new window

Description This unit examines the fundamental principles underlying human perception and expands upon the sensation and perception content introduced in the foundational psychology units. After reviewing the biological basis of sensing and perceiving, we will explore the way this relatively raw information is processed and organised into the complex perceptions of the visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory and somatosensory systems, which constitute the fundamental basis of our experience of the world. The unit will also examine the history of perceptual theories and the use of psychophysical methods and experimental approaches to the study of perceptual processes

School Psychology

Discipline Psychology

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject

Pre-requisite(s) BEHV 1016

Equivalent Subjects BEHV 2001 - Biological Psychology and Perceptual Processes


Note that only students enrolled at WSU Online may register in the WSU Online subjects offered at that location.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the major neural structures and computational principles associated with human sensation and perception, specifically including visual, auditory, somatosensory and chemical sensory systems.
  2. Demonstrate how the major perceptual systems impact on mental functioning and behaviour using the scientific method.
  3. Describe and evaluate theories and propositions of aspects of sensory and perceptual processes.
  4. Complete a Scientific Laboratory Report conforming to APA Guidelines.

Subject Content

1. Introduction: This topic will introduce perception and sensory processing. It will include the early philosophy of perception, gestalt principles, psychophysics and the importance of biology.
2. Chemical Senses: This area will introduce you to the structure and function of the chemosensory systems focussing on olfaction and gustation. You will learn about olfactory and gustatory stimuli, receptors and coding. We will look at connections between odour, memory and emotions, and specifically examine the cross-modal interactions of taste and odour (flavour) including hedonics.
3. Touch: This topic will cover the phenomenology and physiological coding of human somatosensation, including what environmental information is encoded, and how this is represented in the cortex.
4. Audition: This topic will introduce you to auditory stimuli, physiology, and psychoacoustics. The presented material will examine the perception of sound in the environment and perception of complex sounds including language and music.
5. Vision: This area will cover a range of visual topics. After an introduction to the visual receptors, neural processing and central processes, you will learn about the perception of colour and the role of attention in vision. We will also look at depth/space perception, binocular vision, recognising objects and gestalt principles.


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Scientific Lab Report 2000 words 50 N Individual
Tutorial worksheets 3 x 100 words 15 N Individual
Final Exam 2 hours 35 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

Wolfe, J.M., Kluender, K.R., Levi, D.M., Bartoshuk, L.M., & Herz, R.S. (2018). Sensation and Perception (5th Edition). Sunderland, M.A.: Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Teaching Periods




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Penrith (Kingswood)


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Parramatta - Victoria Rd


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WSU Online TRI-2

Wsu Online


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