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Seeing: How the Brain Creates the Visual World

Gain insights into how we perceive sensory system input when it reaches our brains, and the factors affecting that process.

1,161 enrolled on this course

Seeing: How the Brain Creates the Visual World

1,161 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

Find out more about how to join this course

Explore how our visual system and human psychology influence our world view

Our visual system is complicated; using our eyes and brains to convert external information into internal feelings and enabling us to see and interpret the world.

On this four-week course from the National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), you’ll explore how our eyes and brains constitute the visual world for us and discover that seeing is not always believing.

Learn the basics of the human visual system

This course focuses on visual perception, and the first thing you’ll learn is how this sensory system works. You’ll look at how light rays are converted into neural signals, which are then sent to the brain.

You’ll also learn how depth, colour, and object perception occur once the visual system signals reach the brain, delving into the many factors (including age and gender) that influence what individuals ‘see’.

Investigate the relationship between sensory input and visual perception

Human psychology also has a huge impact on how sensory system signals are interpreted. You’ll get to unpack how what we feel, and the experiences we have had, influence what we perceive.

By looking at how psychologists interpret sensation and perception, you’ll see how interrelated they are and how they influence our attention and other mental processes.

Understand how your sensory perception impacts the way you experience the world

Finally, NCTU will guide you in applying the theory you’ve learnt to your own life. By the end of this course, you’ll have much greater insights into human psychology in general, and into your unique mind in particular.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Hello, you are taking the course “Seeing” on FutureLearn. I’m Shih-Yu Lo, from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. In this course, we will be talking about how we see; to be more specific, how the eyes and the brain convert the information on the outside into the feelings on the inside. I will be introducing interesting facts, mind-blowing illusions, and lots of visual demonstrations to show you how fascinating our mind creates our visual world, which is unique to each one of us. Welcome again, I hope you will have fun and get a lot from this course.


  • Week 1

    How lights are converted into neural signals

    • Introduction

      Hello, nice to meet you. This week, we will introduce the visual system. Maybe it's a little difficult, but don't be afraid.

    • The retina

      We need the eyes to see the world. Speaking of the structure of the eyes, many people may think of the retina. Let's start with the retina, and we hope that you can get familiar with it.

    • The cortex

      In this part, we will talk about the cortex, and how our neurons code the signals coming from the outside. Maybe it's a little hard, but don't be afraid. Let's go deeper into our brain and retina.

    • Review of week 1

      Congratulations, you have finished the lecture of the first week. Let's review what we have learned this week.

  • Week 2

    Color perception

    • Color is in the eye of beholder

      We have said "to see is to believe" in the previous week. Is it really true? We will talk about this by "color."

    • Tricrhomatic theory

      You may have ever heard "three basic colors." What are they, and what do they mean?

    • Opponent-process theory and color constancy

      One day, you buy clothes from a department store, and you like the color very much. However, you see the color a little different when unwrapping the clothes at home. Why?

    • Review of week 2

      This is the end of week 2, let's review what we learn this week. We hope you learn a lot from these lectures and activities.

  • Week 3

    Depth perception

    • Depth cues

      How do we differentiate the depth between two objects? We will talk about this issue in this part.

    • How do we differentiate size

      "Size" is another important element of how we recognize the environment and scene. In this activity, we will introduce some famous experiments and illusions which would influence the size differentiation.

  • Week 4

    Object perception

    • Object perception

      We have mentioned that "to see is to believe." Is it true? Sometimes we don't see an object, but we know that there must be something. Why?

    • Perceptual organization

      In this part, we will introduce the grouping and segregation of perceptual organization.

    • Peceiving scenes

      We have to mention the phrase again, "to see is to believe." Is it really true? When we perceive a scene, how do we know what could happen?

    • Conclusion

      Congratulation, you have finished the course. Let's review what we have learned this week, and share what we have learned in this course.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain how the retina and cortex work when receiving information from the world.
  • Explore how we receive color and how the light influence the perception.
  • Explain the depth and size differentiation in human visual system.
  • Classify the way we perceive objects and scenes.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in human psychology, and understanding more about how the visual system works.

Who will you learn with?

I am Shih-Yu Lo, and currently working as an associate professor at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan.

Who developed the course?

National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU)

National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU) was originally founded in Shanghai in 1896 and was re-established in Hsinchu, Taiwan in 1958.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 14 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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