Psychology and Brain Sciences | Perception/Action
P330 | 25013 | Bingham, G.

Prerequisites:  P101, P151 or 151
Requisite: M026 or M119 or introductory physics.

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.