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Introduction to Psychology: Sensation and Perception

Learn how our sensory systems work together to help us to perceive and respond to the world around us.

31,902 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    6 hours

Explore the role of touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell in our behaviour

Discover the part played by sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing in shaping human behaviour

How do our five senses work together to help us understand our environment and the behaviour of others?

This course explores the psychology of sensation and perception, how it differs, and how they combine with attention to determine exactly how we perceive our environment. You’ll also look at why psychologists look at sensation when they study perception, which is a key component of our behaviour and mental processes.

Understand the principles of perception

In order to properly study perception, you’ll need to understand the function and structure of sensory systems and compare the pros and cons of the main psychological methodologies. This course will build this knowledge, as well as an understanding of the mechanisms of perceptual constancies. You’ll be able to interpret the ways that perceptual elements are grouped, and learn how to speak about the Gestalt principles confidently.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds MATTHEW MUNDY: What roles do touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell play in our behavior? How do our experiences and expectations influenced the way we respond to, and behave in an environment or situation? What parts of the body influenced the way we perceive the world? Hi I’m Matthew Mundy and I’m the Director of Education for the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University in Australia. In this course you’ll explore ‘Sensation and Perception’. You’ll be introduced to the structure and function of human sensory systems. Of vision, audition, touch, taste and smell. And learn how these systems work together to help us perceive and respond to the world around us.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds You’ll also assess the extent to which the information processing that takes place in the human sensory systems is unique, or specific to us as individuals. And what that means from a psychological perspective. Interestingly humans have a number of mechanisms to help us perceive a familiar object indifferent or changing circumstances. In this course you’ll evaluate these mechanisms and further explore the principles that help us to naturally perceive objects as patterns and groups. This introductory course is designed for everyone, regardless of your experience or background. No prior study of psychology is required or expected. So if you want to learn about our sensory systems and their influence on us, by School of Psychological Sciences that’s ranked among the best in the world.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds Then I encourage you to join us in this course.

What topics will you cover?

  • Sensation versus perception
  • Waves and wavelengths
  • Vision, hearing and other senses
  • Illusions and psychology
  • Principles of perception

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 the structure and function of the sensory systems of vision, audition, touch, taste, and smell.
  • Assess the extent to which the processes of transduction and coding are common to all senses or specific to each different sense.
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of the main types of psychophysical methods.
  • Interpret some of the ways perceptual elements, including edges and contours, are perceptually grouped (Gestalt principles).
  • Evaluate the mechanisms of perceptual constancies.

Who is the course for?

This introductory course is for anyone interested in psychology - you don’t need any past experience.

It might be of particular use to learners who have already completed a Bachelor degree in other disciplines who are interested in expanding their science and research skills.

Who will you learn with?

I am Associate Professor and Director of Education for the School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Australia. My research is in the cognitive neuroscience of memory and perception.

Who developed the course?

Monash University

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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Join the conversation on social media

You can use the hashtag #FLPsychSP to talk about this course on social media.