In this tutorial, we are interested in understanding how we can measure aspects of our visual perception. This involves the rich body of methods and techniques known as psychophysics — the relationship between the psychological and the physical — that allows us to investigate a range of perceptual experiences.
We will cover the following content in this tutorial:
- Physical aspects
- First, we need to consider the physical side — what are the physical characteristics of the stimulation we are investigating? We will use motion as our example physical stimulus.
- Psychological aspects
- Then, we need to consider the psychological side — how does the physical stimulation affect our sensory systems and produce psychological responses? We will discuss some strategies for measuring perceptual sensitivity, particular via the framework of signal detection theory.
- We will then do an example ‘experiment’, in which you will measure your motion detection sensitivity.
- Mechanisms for sensitivity
- Having considered the physical and the psychological aspects of measuring perception, we will then investigate how these two elements are related — that is, we will consider the mechanisms that underpin perceptual sensitivity.
- Case study
- We will then move outside the motion domain to consider a published example of signal detection theory being used in applied perception research.
- Alternative designs
- Finally, we will discuss the use of different experimental designs, and their advantages, for investigating perceptual sensitivity.