NSC/PSY 125, Smith College  |  Spring 2018

Sensation and Perception

http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/NeuroSci/courses/nsc125/index.html     [also: tinyURL.com/SmithNsc125]    UPDATED: APRIL 23, 2018



Jan 29-31

Signaling the physical world. How neurons convey signals. Visualizing brains and neurons.

Reading: Wolfe et al, Sensation and Perception, 5th edition, 2018 ("Wolfe"), chapter 1, emphasizing pages 19-33 and skipping 17-19 (Fourier analysis, which we will tackle later). Also explore the 3D brain model at www.brainfacts.org/3D-Brain.

Textbook information, course requirements, and other Administrative Information are posted online. The textbook has a companion website at: oup.com/us/wolfe5e.

The first weekly quiz will be on Monday, February 5, at the start of class, on topics from this first reading assignment.

Feb  5 - 7

Sensory receptors for touch. The central pathway for touch; somatosensory cortex. Proprioception from muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 13, especially pages 420-446 (skin receptors, central pathway, tactile discrimination), emphasizing aspects that correspond to the work we did in class.

   Collaborative Writing Project Chapter 1 ends here. DUE: Feb 14. [Revised: Feb 19, due to snow day.]

Feb 12-14

Sound. The ear. Central auditory pathway.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 9, especially pages 282-307 (sound, auditory structures, place and temporal codes); also 17-19 (Fourier analysis), 316-325 (sound localization), 330-335 (complex sounds).

Feb 19-21

Speech perception: guest lecture by Prof. Jill deVilliers

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 11, especially pages 357-376 (speech perception).

   Collaborative Writing Project Chapter 2 ends here. DUE: Feb 28, but it would be helpful to complete a draft before the exam on Feb 26.

Feb 21: Rally Day. No afternoon classes.

Feb 26-28

Feb 26: EXAM 1, in class, on topics from neural signals through hearing.

Feb 28: VISION
Light as waves and particles. Structure of the eye and retina.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 2, pages 32-49.

Mar  5 - 7

The retinal network; retinal ganglion cells.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 2, pages 49-58.

   Collaborative Writing Project Chapter 3 ends here. DUE: Mar 21.

Mar 10-18

Spring break

Mar 19-21

The visual pathway and LGN. V1: simple, complex and hypercomplex cells. Cortical anatomy.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 3, pages 72-85.
Hubel, D.H. (1982) Exploration of the primary visual cortex, 1955-1975. Nature 299: 515-524.

Mar 26-28

Stereo vision, spatial frequency selectivity. Extrastriate cortex, part 1.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 6, pages 174-210 (binocular vision); chapter 3, pages 60-72 and 85-96 (spatial frequency); chapter 1, pages 17-19 (Fourier analysis).

   Collaborative Writing Project Chapter 4 ends with our March 26 class. DUE: Apr 4, but it would be helpful to complete a draft before Exam 2 on April 2.

Apr  2 - 4

Apr 2: EXAM 2, in class, on vision (topics from Feb 28 - Mar 26).

Apr 4: Extrastriate cortex, part 2: objects and faces.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 4, pages 98-106 (extrastriate cortex).
Gross, CG (2008) Single neuron studies of inferior temporal cortex.
           Neuropsychologia 46: 841-852.

   Collaborative Writing Project Chapter 5 ends here. DUE: Apr 16.

Apr  9-11

Apr 9: Color vision.

Apr 11: Color in art - Museum visit, TBA.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 5.

Apr 16-18

Color vision (concluded). Top-down theories of visual perception.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 4, pages 106-132 (object recognition).

   Collaborative Writing Project Chapter 6 ends here. DUE: Apr 25.

Apr 23

Vision: attention and motion perception.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 7 (attention); chapter 8 (motion).

Apr 25


Reading: Wolfe, chapter 14 (olfaction).

Apr 30 - May 2

Taste. Wrap-up.

Reading: Wolfe, chapter 15 (taste).

May  8-11

FINAL EXAM (self-scheduled). The exam will cover the entire course, but with extra emphasis on new topics covered since Exam 2.