PSYCH 201 : Perception and Cognition


2021 Semester Two (1215) (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

If your mind is like a complex toolbox whose contents permit you to perceive the world, to think and imagine, to use language, to remember the past and predict the future, to make decisions, to solve problems, and to innovate, then this course is like a brief owner’s manual.

Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of how we perceive the world –real worlds, imaginary worlds, the worlds of music and language—as well as how we think and reason, how we communicate and use language and how we learn and solve problems. This course introduces you to the properties of these important mental capacities and functions and how they have been discovered.   

Passing this course entails having an understanding of theories and models, a grasp of facts and a working knowledge of experimental and scientific methods as they apply to perception and cognition.   

We will cover a variety of topics: visual and auditory perception, models of attention and theories of memory systems, the important factors influencing language processing, at sound, word and sentence levels, including what happens when this breaks down in aphasia, theoretical accounts of speech perception and speech production, the perceptual, cognitive and motor factors that underlie reading, and how knowledge is deployed in reasoning, problem solving and acts of creativity.

In addition, we expect that you will: become aware of the importance of scientific methods (from experimental design to statistical considerations) in understanding how minds work; become more familiar with how computer and other technologies can be used to measure performance, evaluate hypotheses and compare theories in cognitive psychology research;  understand how advances in other disciplines -- including neuroscience, philosophy, linguistics, statistics-- may contribute to our knowledge of how minds work. 

The laboratory sessions are intended to contribute to these objectives, as well as to assist you in understanding how to think and write about psychology in a literate, scientific manner. 

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
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts of cognitive psychology by describing, explaining and assessing such concepts and how they have been revealed. (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  2. Critically evaluate empirical evidence in cognitive psychology (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Be able to identify and assess cognitive functions (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Communicate effectively using appropriate content-specific language and present information clearly and concisely. (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the extent to which theoretical and experimental approaches have application to cognition in real-world contexts via description, hypothesis formation, prediction and statistical analysis. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  6. Display and build intellectual curiosity, intrinsic motivation, and self-discipline (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  7. Refine writing and communication skills for the scientific environment. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  8. Demonstrate an awareness of how cognitive psychology connects with other disciplines (from the arts, to languages, to law, to culture). (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 40% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 60% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Final Exam

For plussage, students must submit all laboratory assignments on time and receive a passing mark for them cumulatively (20% or more of the available 40%).


Maori and Pasifika students are strongly encourage to be active participants in the Psychology tuakana programme, as both givers and receivers of knowledge. We have a designated Tuakana lab, taught by a GTA committed to their learning, into which Maori and Pasifika students can enrol, separately from automatic lab streaming. Teaching staff participate in pre-exam review sessions with Tuakana staff and students.

Key Topics

visual and auditory processes, perception and action, reading, speech perception, language production, language comprehension, language of thought, reasoning, decision-making, problem-solving, creativity. 

Special Requirements

Must complete laboratory assignments.

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, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a 2-hour laboratory session, 3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 2 hours of work on assignments and/or exam preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs to receive credit for components of the course.

Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will not be available as recordings.
The course may include live online events including tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

This course is available to offshore students and students who have been exempted from in-person attendance. Different conditions will apply for these students.

Learning Resources

Textbook: Eysenck, M.W. and Keane, M. (2005). Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook (7th edition). Psychology Press. 
Other resources, including lecture notes, lecture recordings, suggested additional readings or web links, will be made available on Canvas in advance.

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.

In the most recent year, 2020, the COVID situation posed unprecedented challenges for staff and students.  The course lectures and labs were either available to students on campus, or online, or both.  Students report that they appreciate lecturers' and Graduate Teaching Assistants' dedication, professionalism, and passion for the subject matter. We will learn from this experience if hybrid (in-person and online) learning becomes routine. As ever, we strive to find ways to make what is always technical material accessible and relevant to students.  

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.

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.


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.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Under the government’s Covid-19 Alert Levels, we anticipate using the following delivery modes. Note this is subject to change depending on the specific circumstances.    Level 1:  Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode  Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person.  All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.  The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: Lectures, labs, office hours.  Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely  

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 20/08/2021 10:24 a.m.