Great Teachers, Great Courses...

Sensation and Perception

Students in Dr. Laura Edelman's Sensation and Perception class quickly learn that there is nothing simple about how we perceive the world.

Sensation and Perception fulfills the science perspective at Muhlenberg College, so both psychology majors and non-majors take the class. Both groups are often surprised by how easily they can find parallels between the subjects covered in class and their own daily lives.

Human senses and the study of how we perceive our environment were at the forefront of modern psychology. Edelman's class starts by studying both the anatomy of the sensory systems as well as the pathways the information collected from those systems takes as it travels through the brain.

The class includes many hands-on laboratory experiences. Students map out their blind spot and color vision. The class does an experiment on how color affects task performance and on which depth cues are the strongest. Students investigate the relationship between smell and memory and map out taste on their tongues.

Sensation and Perception

A student favorite is the experiment on visual adaptation. They study what happens when wearing goggles that flip images or when trying to trace an image while looking in a mirror.

Students are often surprised to see the number of ways their studies into sensation and perception can be applied outside the classroom. Fields as diverse as art, aromatherapy, medicine, film and marketing all heavily rely on how we perceive the world around us.

"One of my goals is to show the class that science can be interesting and exciting," says Edelman. "Student often share what they have learned with their roommates or family."

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