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.