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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Undergraduate Course: Perception, Action, Cognition (PSYL10152)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course concerns how we perceive the world in order to act in it, how the processes of perception and action relate to each other, and how they are organised within the human brain. We will cover theoretical approaches to perception and action, the use of vision and body-senses to guide action, body representation as a feat of multisensory integration, and the experience of body ownership and agency. We will finish by connecting some of the main course themes with the contemporary theoretical framework of predictive processing. Evidence will be drawn from diverse techniques in cognitive neuroscience, but with a focus on the study of neuropsychological symptoms following brain damage. Students will gain practice in interpreting primary literature, and evaluating it with respect to larger theoretical frameworks, and the assessment will focus on core skills of evidence-based academic writing.
Course description The course begins by giving an overview of major theoretical perspectives on perception, from constructivist and ecological approaches, to notions of enactive perception and embodied cognition. It will be argued that constructivist and ecological approaches have to some extent been combined in a dual streams model of human vision, which emphasises that visual information is processed in different brain areas, in different ways, for different purposes. We will then consider how we represent our bodies and the external world in relation to one another, in order to make purposeful action possible. We will refine our discussion of a body representation for action, considering how this relates to our feeling of ownership of our bodies, and the concept of body image. We will then focus on some key requirements for effective action guidance, highlighting the importance of feedback-based control, and forward modelling. We will consider whether these control principles might help explain how it is that we feel that like active agents in the world, rather than passive spectators on our actions. Finally, we will see how the concept of forward modelling is now being applied within contemporary predictive processing approaches to perception, action and cognition.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Psychology 2A (PSYL08011) AND Psychology 2B (PSYL08012)
It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Data Analysis for Psychology in R 3 (PSYL10168)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should be studying Psychology as their degree major, and have completed at least 3 Psychology courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. **Please note that upper level Psychology courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Mid-term discursive short essay, 1000 words (30%)
Final discursive essay, 2000 words (70%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Be able to give a clear summary of major theoretical approaches to perception and action.
  2. Be able to give an evidence-based critique of the dual-streams model of human vision.
  3. Be able to describe how sensory and non-sensory information is used to represent the body.
  4. Be able to give an evidence-based summary of how we feel ownership of our bodies, and authorship of our actions.
  5. Be adept at summarising empirical literature, with appropriate methodological detail and key results, and critically evaluating how well the conclusions follow from the data.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Robert McIntosh
Tel: (0131 6)50 3444
Course secretaryMiss Georgiana Gherasim
Tel: (0131 6)50 3440
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