PSYCH 746 : Perception, Cognition, Action


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Seminar-based introduction to theories and models linking (human, animal and machine) perception, cognition and action, with emphasis on competing approaches to perceptual-motor control and learning, using evidence from classic and contemporary research in experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience.

Course Overview

The course introduces students to a variety of theoretical and experimental approaches (both cognitivist and neuroscientific) to how we perceive, think and act.  It will do so through a weekly two-hour seminar. On a weekly basis, students will read reviews, book chapters, or experimental reports and make critical assessments of them.  They will be expected to share questions, confusions and insights in class. Students will be encouraged to teach each other. Students will be required to give in-class presentations on research related to a given theme. Students will be required to write a 2500 essay evaluating the current understanding of one theme related to perception, cognition and action.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. understand conceptual and empirical bases of different theories of perception, cognition and motor control (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. consider how we perceive, think and act from different theoretical perspectives (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. understand core elements of the neuroscience of perception, cognition and motor control (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  4. prepare critical analyses of theoretical and/or experimental work in the field (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)
  5. learn to synthesise and communicate with peers material that has been evaluated
  6. explain to one's fellow students and teacher concepts and ideas of a theoretical or experimental nature (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)
  7. Prepare, plan and execute material for in-course presentations (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
attendance and contribution 15% Individual Coursework
In-class seminar presentations 20% Individual Coursework
Essay 15% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
attendance and contribution
In-class seminar presentations
Final Exam

Key Topics

psychology and neuroscience of perception
psychology and neuroscience of motor control
embodied cognition
applications of links between perception and motor control
thinking, decision-making, and expertise
eye movements and reading
finger/hand movements and braille reading

Learning Resources

Weekly readings will be specified in the Course Outline and will likely change slightly from year to year.

Special Requirements

Expectations include weekly active preparation and participation; two time-constrained oral seminar presentations which will be assessed by students and teaching staff, and the submission of a written essay.

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 [2] hours of seminar, a [X] hour tutorial, [4] hours of reading and thinking about the content and [4] hours of work on assignments and/or test 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.

For reasons of expectations regarding student contributions to content, discussion, argumentation and speculation, this course will not take place in a room where lecture recordings are standard. Powerpoint presentations will be made available.


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.

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.

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.