Sensation and Perception


About this course

Summary Perceptual psychology is the oldest and most highly developed field of psychological research. As people constantly interact with the outside world via their senses, every field of psychology and social science has to deal with the limitations and possibilities of human perception. Our senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste) enable us to perceive the world around us. Communication or interaction with the world around us is impossible without perception. Research has demonstrated that traditional categorisation into five senses is but the first level of distinction. Each of the senses can be further specified, for example, colour vision and pitch, pain and temperature perception, etc. Perception is closely intertwined with other cognitive abilities, several of which will be exampled during the course.

Perception is made possible by processes, the progression and result of which can be studied at various levels: the receptor level, the level of afferent nerves and the brain, the cognitive level and the behavioural level. In addition to a more profound understanding of the human senses, there is also a need for more generalised theories of perception, which integrate a range of knowledge into a central principle (e.g. the attention principle). Finally, the subject will also focus on methodologies for studying perception.
Academic skills Written examination and assignments
Communication skills

  • hold a presentation (prepare, present and assess a lecture)

Organisational skills

  • work in a systematic manner

Academic skills

  • research and structure information
  • critically study and analyse theories, assertions and findings

Research skills

  • be able to analyse and critically assess written research reports and research presentations

Skills of reflection

  • place the information in an academic context

Note: The entire course will be taught in English. This also includes assignments and exams.

Learning outcomes

For international students interested in taking the course 'Sensation and perception' the following applies:

Sensation and Perception is the oldest research area in psychology. Today sensation and perception is being investigated from within psychology, physics, biology and (cognitive) neuroscience. In order to be able to participate in this course, knowledge of at least one of these fields, in particular (cognitive) neuroscience or psychology, is advised.

Learning objective After completing the subject, the student will:

  • have knowledge about the structure and function of human senses and the neuronal processes underlying human perception;
  • be familiar with the methods used to obtain such knowledge;
  • understand the interrelationships between the senses and how they relate to actions;
  • have explored a specific topic in the field of perception more closely;
  • be familiar with passing on academic knowledge to fellow students.

Relation between assessment and objective
The theoretical component will be assessed by means of a written exam, while passing on academic knowledge will be assessed by means of presentation sessions.

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Utrecht University.


  • Start date

    3 February 2025

    • Ends
      18 April 2025
    • Term *
      Period 3
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      4 Nov, 09:00 - 22 Nov 2024
    Enrolment starts in 113 days
These offerings are valid for students of TU Eindhoven