- Teacher: Yuliya Grinberg
This course will provide you with an introduction to the psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of perception. Basically, we will explore how we see, smell, taste, hear, and feel the world. People tend to think, naively, that there is not much to this: with seeing, for example, we simply open our eyes and, hey presto, the world appears. However, there is a huge amount of complicated processing going on (most if not all of it unconsciously), and it is these processes, which have been discovered through empirical investigation, that we will look at. Hopefully, this course will make you question the nature of what is real and what is illusion, and cause you to wonder how we can ever be sure of the difference. It will make you think about the huge complexity of the brain and how it produces the world of experience. You will also be amazed at how much of a talent you have. As vision scientist Donald Hoffman writes in the introduction to his book “Visual Intelligence”:
“Your visual intelligence constructs what you see…in the phenomenal sense: you construct your visual experience. When you look at this book, everything you see, i.e., everything you visually experience, is your construction: the thickness of the spine, the white color and rectangular shape of the pages, the black color and the curved shape of the letters…”
Perception is our first contact with the world, and it could be argued very strongly, that anything else is an inference. Therefore, the study of perception is very important, as it is the starting point for the rest of scientific knowledge.
- Teacher: Maria Kuvaldina