42568 - Psychology of Perception (1)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Roberto Caterina

  • Credits 6

  • SSD M-PSI/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Drama, Art and Music Studies (cod. 0956)


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student: learns the main theories on human perception, especially those concerning objects, distance, colours and movement perception; knows and understands experimental aesthetics and psychological studies on portrait and caricature; obtains 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, the relationship between memory and perception, the concept of perceptual schemata.

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; 3) Bruno, N. Introduzione alla psicologia della percezione visiva. Come facciamo a vedere, Il Mulino, Bologna, in press; 4) Pinna, B. La percezione visiva, Il Mulino, Bologna, in press.

Rook and Willson essay will be in the section concerning the didactic material.


Teaching methods

Traditional lectures. Ppt presentation and Group discussions. Due to the COVID 19 limitations classes could be done in presence and on line (according to a blended teaching modality). Special interactive lectures will be organized on major theoretical topics on perception. Students may be personally contribute to these lectures, also if their contribution is not compulsory.  See the notices on my web diary for other information and variation.

Assessment methods

In standard examinations students 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. 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 analyse the psychology of perception can only be evaluated negatively. Final evaluation will refer to the mean of the single answer evaluations. Special criteria will be adopted in case of missing answers.

Due to COVID 19 the standard examination as above described maybe substitueted by an oral on line examination as it happens since March 2020. A more detailed description of this oral examination may be found on the front desk notices of my webpage.

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

Students who regularly attend the class may apply for a special multiple-choiche test, if possible due to COVID 19 emergency, based on what has been discussed during class. If the multiple choice examination will not be possible, an oral examination based on what has been discussed during class will be done instead. Special interactive events will be also planned during the class. Students who successfully partecipate to those events may have some extra credits (up to 3 points) that will be added to the result of their final test (that for attending students).


Teaching tools

Powerpoint presentations, PC animations and slides

Office hours

See the website of Roberto Caterina