PSYCH 201 : Perception and Cognition


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introduction to a variety of topics in human experimental psychology. Topics covered may include: perceptual processes, attention, memory, mental imagery, language development, theory of mind, problem solving and decision making. Participation in the laboratory component of this course is compulsory.

Course Overview

Your mind is sometimes referred to as a cognitive toolbox, one that permits you to perceive the world, to comprehend and remember what you have perceived, to use language (oral and written), to make decisions, to problem-solve and to innovate.   This course --through lectures and laboratory sessions-- introduces you to these basic mental functions and their operating characteristics.  Since many of these functions operate below conscious awareness, we describe how useful and important scientific methods are to our understanding of how minds work.  

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 30 points at Stage I Psychology

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe in detail how perception occurs (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  2. Describe in detail various theoretical accounts of attention (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  3. Describe in detail the structures of different memory systems (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  4. Describe in detail the important factors influencing language processing, at sound, word and sentence levels, including what happens when this breaks down in aphasia (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  5. Describe in detail theories of speech perception and speech production (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  6. Describe in detail the perceptual, cognitive and motor factors that underlie reading (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  7. Describe in detail how knowledge is deployed in reasoning, problem solving and acts of creativity, and whether this deployment is rational (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratory reports 40% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 60% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Laboratory reports
Final Exam

Plussage is applied to students who satisfactorily complete coursework component.


We offer a dedicated Tuākana laboratory (into which students are enrolled, not streamed).  Teaching staff encourage students to participate in the Tuākana programme, both as mentors and mentees. Teaching staff closely liaise with Tuākana staff to assist Maori and Pasifika students negotiate the course demands. Teaching staff are available to assist with preparation of laboratory reports. Teaching staff participate in pre-exam tutorials with students, to advise on study techniques and review course content.

Key Topics

Research methods in Cognitive Science and Experimental Psychology
Sensation and Perception
Memory systems
Oral language perception and production
Probabilistic decision-making

Learning Resources

Required text: Eysenck, M.W. and Keane, M. (2005). Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook. Psychology Press.  The latest edition is preferable, but earlier editions may suffice.

Special Requirements

Laboratories are compulsory. Lab reports are the sole component of coursework.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, per week, you can expect 3 hours of lectures (over 12 weeks),  one 2 hour laboratory (over 8 weeks), 2 hours of reading form lecture notes and text, and 3 hours of work on review, assignments or other preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Lecture notes will be made available, in advance. Lecutre recrodings will be made available within 72h, as per the Lecture Recording and Release policy. A streamed version may be available sooner.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Lab reports must be submitted electronically and automatically through TurnItIn or its equivalent.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

The 2019 SET evaluation had a response rate of 25%.  Is this a representative sample, or a self-selecting sample with strong opinions?  Previous SET evaluations reveal that students find the course challenging and hard work.  They even find it rewarding.  They often find content to be more technical, more dense, and more statistically oriented than they experienced at Stage 1.  We are constantly working on how to make this accessible to students.  Students frequently report different reactions to specific individual teaching staff or content. Some like our passion.  An equal number find that we lack it. Many found the organisation and learning outcomes clear.  Many did not.  Some liked our use of real world examples; some thought these were irrelevant tangents.  We take one lecture at the end to advise students as to the exam structure, pass on what experience tells us is the best way to write the exam, and to remind them what research in cognitive psychology indicates is best practice for studying.   

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 11/01/2020 03:17 p.m.