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Perception and Attention

Code: P211     Acronym: PA

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Psychology

Instance: 2020/2021 - 2S Ícone do Moodle

Active? Yes
Web Page: https://sigarra.up.pt/fpceup/pt/ucurr_geral.ficha_uc_view?pv_ocorrencia_id=351749
Responsible unit: Psychology
Course/CS Responsible: Integrated Master Psychology

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
MIPSI 203 Official Curricular Structure 1 - 3 30 81

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Maria Selene Henriques da Graça Vicente

Teaching - Hours

Theoretical classes: 1,50
Theoretical and practical : 0,50
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Theoretical classes Totals 1 1,50
Ana Sofia Ribeiro Gonçalves 1,50
Maria Selene Henriques da Graça Vicente 0,00
Theoretical and practical Totals 1 0,50
Ana Sofia Ribeiro Gonçalves 0,50
Maria Selene Henriques da Graça Vicente 0,00

Teaching language

Suitable for English-speaking students


The aim of these classes is to present and discuss the perception and attention theories and models. Besides the theoretical framework, the methodologies of empirical investigation of perception and attention in the domain of experimental cognitive psychology will also be presented, as well as the their implications and applications in multiple domains (cognitive ergonomics, development of human-machine interfaces, marketing, design, painting, cinema and other forms of art). This discipline aims to allow the students to understand the lectured themes of attention and perception and to describe the most representative theories and their theoretical and practical implications.

Learning outcomes and competences

This discipline aims to allow the students to understand the lectured themes of attention and perception and to describe the most representative theories and their theoretical and practical implications (for example, publicity and marketing, road safety, school learning, psychopathology, etc.)

Working method



INTRODUCTION: 1. General concepts of Perception and Attention. 2. The problem of detection and measurement of sensation; Psychophysics methods and Signal Detection Theory. PERCEPTION 1. Visual perception. Basic phenomena: Identification and localization of objects; Colour; Orientation; Movement and shape; The perceptual binding; The perception of depth. 1.1. Perception theories (Gestalt, Constructivism, Ecological theory of visual perception, Computational and Connectionist approaches). 1.2. Object recognition models; 1.3. Face recognition; 1.4. Visual perception and the arts: Painting (e.g. development of perspective) and cinema (e.g. plans and perception of scenes); 2. Auditory perception. The sensorial auditory system; Basic auditory phenomena; sound location; auditory perception and memory; 3. Tactile perception; The cutaneous sensory system; Basic phenomena of auditory perception; Tactile memory; Braille and the texture-weight illusion; 4. The pain: nociceptive perception. Phantom limb and treatment of phantom pain. ATTENTION 1. Definitions and types of attention. A) Visual attention, auditory attention and intermodal attention. B) Focal attention and selective attention. 1.1. Models of selective attention. 1.2. Filter models (Broadbent, Treisman). 1.3. Capacity models (Kahneman). 2. Absolute and relative limits of selective attention. 2.1. Research techniques of attention; 2.1.1. Visual search tasks and models of attention; 2.1.2. Taquistoscope perception and iconic memory (visual sensorial memory); 3. The control of attention. 3.1. The importance of attention’s control; 3.2. Distinguishing voluntary from automatic control of attention; 3.3. Attention to intentions: Prospective memory; 4. Attention assessment. Focal attention measures, divided attention measures and maintenance of attention or sustained attention measures. Application to human resources selection, learning disabilities and neuropsychological assessment. PERCEPTION AND ATTENTION 1. The “blindness to change” phenomenon. 2. Perception without attention. Inattentional blindness. Attention and implicit memory. 3. Intermodal perception and attention. 4. To listen and to see: basic phenomena of modalities integration

Mandatory literature

Eysenck Michael W.; Cognitive psychology. ISBN: 978-1-84872-416-7
Styles Elizabeth A.; Attention, perception and memory. ISBN: 0-86377-659-0
Broadbent, D. E.; Perception and communication, Oxford University Press, 1987
Gibson James J.; The ecological approach to visual perception. ISBN: ISBN 0-395-270-49-9
Goldstein E. Bruce 730; Blackwell handbook of sensation and perception. ISBN: 0-631-20684-1
James, W.; The principles of psychology, H. Holt and company, 1890
Kahneman Daniel; Attention and effort. ISBN: 0-13-050518-8
Mack Arien; Inattentional blindness. ISBN: ISBN 0-262-13339-3
Parasurman Raja ed. lit.; The attentive brain. ISBN: ISBN 0-262-16172-9
Pashler Harold E.; The psychology of attention. ISBN: ISBN 0-262-16165-6

Teaching methods and learning activities

The classes are theoretical–practical. Some audio-visual examples and data collection for experimental demonstration of phenomena in the domains of perception and attention will take place.


Social sciences > Psychological sciences > Cognitive science
Social sciences > Psychological sciences > Psychology > Experimental psychology

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

designation Weight (%)
Teste 100,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

designation Time (hours)
Estudo autónomo 53,00
Frequência das aulas 28,00
Total: 81,00

Eligibility for exams

Students must attend at least 75% of classes.

Calculation formula of final grade

The final result corresponds to the mean of the two tests.

Special assessment (TE, DA, ...)

Students with special status (e.g. working students) have the legal benefits according to their status. Students with special needs should contact the teacher in order to prepare the needed adaptations.

Classification improvement

Students can improve the exam classification only one time. They can improve the marks until the «recurso» season of the school year following the one in which they obtained approval, and provided that the curricular unit foresees an exam.

The final classification corresponds to the highest mark (either the initial one or the one resulting from the attempt to improve).

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