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Psychology of Perception and Attention

Code: LPSI102     Acronym: PPA

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Psychology

Instance: 2021/2022 - 1S Ícone do Moodle Ícone  do Teams

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: First degree in Psychology

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
PSIC 235 Official Curricular Structure 1 - 6 54 162

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Nuno Miguel Soares Gaspar

Teaching - Hours

Theoretical classes: 2,00
Theoretical and practical : 1,50
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Theoretical classes Totals 1 2,00
Nuno Miguel Soares Gaspar 2,00
Theoretical and practical Totals 5 7,50
Nuno Miguel Soares Gaspar 7,50
Mais informaçõesLast updated on 2021-10-25.

Fields changed: Teaching methods and learning activities, Componentes de Avaliação e Ocupação, Tipo de avaliação, Programa, Obtenção de frequência, Objetivos, Resultados de aprendizagem e competências, Bibliografia Obrigatória, Fórmula de cálculo da classificação final, Avaliação especial, Melhoria de classificação, Bibliografia Obrigatória, Componentes de Avaliação e Ocupação, Tipo de avaliação, Obtenção de frequência, Fórmula de cálculo da classificação final

Teaching language

Suitable for English-speaking students


The aim of this curricular unit 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.

Learning outcomes and competences

The students will be able to understand the lectured themes of attention and perception and to describe the most representative theories and their theoretical and practical implications.

Working method



1. General concepts of Perception and Attention.
2. The problem of detection and measurement of sensation; Psychophysics methods and Signal Detection Theory.

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.

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.

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

Broadbent, D. E.; Perception and communication, Oxford University Press, 1987
Eysenck Michael W.; Cognitive psychology. ISBN: 978-1-84872-416-7
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
Raja Parasuraman; The^attentive brain. ISBN: 0-262-16172-9
Pashler Harold E.; The psychology of attention. ISBN: ISBN 0-262-16165-6
Styles Elizabeth A.; Attention, perception and memory. ISBN: 0-86377-659-0

Teaching methods and learning activities

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

Evaluation with final exam

Assessment Components

designation Weight (%)
Exame 90,00
Trabalho laboratorial 10,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

designation Time (hours)
Estudo autónomo 90,00
Frequência das aulas 54,00
Trabalho laboratorial 18,00
Total: 162,00

Eligibility for exams

Students should attend the theoretical and practical classes.

Calculation formula of final grade

Classification Formula:

Grade = [exam classification]*(a) + [participation in laboratorial studies]*(b)

a=1 ---- if the student didn’t participate in the study (Exam weight is 100%)
a=0.9 – if the student participated in the study (Exam weight is 90%)

b=0 ---- if the student didn’t participate in the study (worth 0 points from this component)
b=1 ----- if the student participated in the study (worth 2 points from this component)

An oral exam will be requested to obtain the maximum grade in the curricular unit (20 points out of 20). The oral exam will have one of the following results: 19 points or 20 points.

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 the beginning of the semester 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) in accordance with the University of Porto regulation.

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Page created on: 2022-01-29 at 11:29:05