42568 - Psychology of Perception (1)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

After having attended this course students will learn:

  • the main theories on human perception, especially those concerning objects, distance, colours and movement perception;
  • experimental aesthetics and psychological studies on portrait and caricature;
  • a basic knowledge concerning the most recent researches of psychology of perception and their applicative value in the fields of ergonomy, design and artistic fruition.

Course contents

This course is going to teach basic theories and main experimental researches on sensation and perception, body and brain basis of perception, the perception of movement and colours as well as perceptual illusions. This course is also dealing with the relationship between perceptual and emotional processes in the interpretation and definition of social and physical human environment.

Facial expression theories are eventually discussed with reference to portrait studies, art therapy projects and emotional regulation researches.


1) Maffei, L. e Fiorentini, A., Arte e cervello, Bologna: Zanichelli, 1995.

2) Rookes, P.; Willson, J., La percezione, Bologna: il Mulino, 2002

3) Gombrich, E.H., Hochberg, J. e Black, M., Arte, percezione e realtà. Torino: Einaudi, 1978.


Suggested optional reading: 1)Bressan, P., Il colore della luna. Come vediamo e perché, Laterza: Bari, 2007. 2)Caterina, R., Che cosa sono le artiterapie, Carocci: Bologna, 2005.



Teaching methods

Traditional lectures. Ppt presentation and Group discussions.

Assessment methods

Students who regularly attend the class (the course is made of 15 lectures, students are requested to attend at least 10 lectures) will be examined in three different steps: 1) An intermediate multiple choice test after 9-10 lectures. This test will be made of 12 questions with 4 different possibilities of answer (only one of which being correct) with ratings corresponding to 30l for 12 correct answers; 30, 11 correct answers; 28, 10 correct answers; 27, 9 correct answers; 26, 8 correct answers; 24, 7 correct answers and 22, 6 correct answers. Below that threshold the test will not be passed and students will not be allowed to take the special examination for attending students we are describing here. 2 or 3 items of this text will be available into the teaching material before the course begins; 2) Small Group (from 3 to 6 people) discussion and ppt presentation on a subject which has been examined during my lectures: students are requested to bring a part of the presentation and to coordinate their presentations with those of their colleagues. Time limitations in the presentations will be fixed. The evaluation of this test will be of a qualitative and comparative nature with respect to the work done by the other groups. Achieving an organic vision of the issues dealt with, the possession of expressive mastery and a specific language, the originality of reflection as well as the familiarity with the tools of analysis of psychology of perception will be evaluated with excellent marks. Mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, unmanaged synthesis and analysis skills, or a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic domain of psychology of perception not going further from what has already been discussed during the lessons, will lead to good or fair evaluations. Lack of training or inappropriate language, as well as a lack of knowledge of the tools of psychology of perception will lead to an evaluation that will stand on the threshold of sufficiency. Lack of training, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliography and inability to analyze the psychology of perception can only be evaluated negatively; 3) Individual reports (discussants) on another group presentation or individual examinations on other subjects which have been discussed during my lectures. This test will be evaluated with the qualitative criteria above mentioned at point 2.

Students have to pass all the 3 tests. Final individual evaluations will refer to the mean of the single tasks evaluations with mark rounds favorable to students.

Students who did not attend the class (or students who prefer this type of examination even if they attended the class) will be asked to write short essays on 3 open questions (75 minutes will be given, no possibility to use books or reports during the task) concerning the books which have been mentioned as suggested readings. Some general criteria for correction and evaluations have been selected. Qualitative evaluation criteria will be applied similar to those before mentioned (point 2 concerning the examination of attending students). Final evaluation will refer to the mean of the single answer evaluations. Special criteria will be adopted in case of missing answers.

A special examination will be offered to non-attending students (for this academic year only in June 2019, as it is a form of examination we are still trying to test). It will be a multiple-choice test made of 20 questions on the program suggested readings with 4 possibilities of answer (only one of which is correct) similar to that used for the intermediate test with students attending the course. Evaluation criteria too will be similar to that test. The examinations will be passed with at least 11 correct answers on 20. The correct answers points will be converted into the university marks scale ranging from 30l to 18. An example of this test will be given in the teaching material before the beginning of this course. Students who have scored at this examination 27 (17 correct answers) or more are entitled to ask a supplementary oral examination that can add up to a maximum of 3 points on the realized score. This oral examination on the other hand can also be lower than the realized score in written examination up to 3 points.

Students are requested to apply for the final test using "almaesami" on line system.

Teaching tools

Powerpoint presentations, PC animations and slides

Office hours

See the website of Roberto Caterina