Psychology | Perception/Action
P330 | 3787 | G. Bingham

Prerequisites:  P101, P211 or permission of the instructor.
Surprisingly, perception/action is a relatively new area of research,
but one that is rapidly growing.  There are no texts, and courses are
just beginning to emerge.  In this course, readings will consist of
original research papers, reviews and tutorial chapters written by the
experts.  The approach will be as hands on as possible.  Class
sessions will consist of demonstrations, discussions and lectures.
Grading will be based on class participation and on essay exams
including a final.  In the course, we cover research on perceptually
guided actions like walking and running, throwing and catching.  We
study how a person can walk down a crowded hallway without bumping
into other people, that is, how a moving observer generates optic flow
that is used to identify and avoid obstacles.  We record optical flow
with a video camera and analyze the patterns that result.  How do you
catch a fly ball?  When the optic flow is analyzed, it is not what you
might think.  We will see how actions are geared to the flow of
optical information both in robots and in people.  How do we move to
the places to which perception guides us?  How do we coordinate and
control our limbs to carry us around or to catch and to throw a ball?
We will examine theories of coordination and control and review
the neurophysiological organization underlying perception and the
neuro- and muscular physiology of movement.  Philosophical differences
among approaches to perception and action will be discussed.