PSYE311 Психофизика


The course covers the basic theories and models of human perceptual and cognitive performance of tasks that involve detection, discrimination and scaling of various types of stimuli. Measurement procedures and specific performance indexes are derived on the basis of established theoretical models. The course shows how the procedures and indexes are used in psychological studies as well as in applied psychology – evaluation of human individuals, conditions of observation and diagnostic methods. The course involves many exercises and in-class demonstrations of the standard procedures for data collection and interpretation in psychophysical studies.

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Психология (на английски език)


проф. Стефан Матеев  д.н.
гл. ас. Кирил Костов  д-р

Описание на курса:


Students who complete this course:

1) will know:

• the basic models and theories characterizing human performance in the fields of detection, discrimination and scaling;

• the standard procedures for gathering and interpreting empirical data in psychophysical studies.

2) will be able to:

• plan and carry out psychophysical experiments;

• evaluate and compare individuals and groups of individuals with respect to their abilities to perform perceptual and cognitive tasks

• analyze diagnostic methods;

• understand and evaluate texts in the fields of psychology of perception and cognitive science.

Предварителни изисквания:

Форми на провеждане:

Учебни форми:

Език, на който се води курса:

Теми, които се разглеждат в курса:

  1. Goals and objectives of psychophysics. Measurement and scales of measurement. Introduction to the detection task.
  2. The “yes-no” procedure. Basic events and matrices. The performance of “perfect” and “unable” observers.
  3. Detection theory. Index for performance d’. Index for criterion C.
  4. Index “percent correct responses”. Use and misuse of the index. Correction for guessing for the “yes-no” method.
  5. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC). Alternative indexes for evaluating performance.
  6. The two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) procedure. Forced choice with more than two alternatives. Correction for guessing.
  7. Midterm Exam
  8. Problems with determining “goodness” of performance and ways to solve them. “Same-different” procedure. “Triangular” methods.
  9. Accuracy of performance. The measurement of subjective equality. Psychometric curve and its analysis.
  10. Precision of performance. The discrimination threshold. Weber’s law and Weber’s fraction.
  11. Scaling of stimuli that can and cannot be measured physically. The psychophysical function. The method of paired comparisons and its relation with the performance index d’.
  12. Scaling as a geometrical problem. The role of the response variances. Agreement and consistency of the observers. The problem with the cyclic responses and its solution by multidimensional scaling.
  13. Direct scaling methods. Direct magnitude estimation. The psychophysical function and its interpretation. Categorical judgment and equal appearing intervals. Evaluation of the scaling methods.
  14. Simple and choice reaction. The speed-accuracy trade-off. Measurement of temporal thresholds.
  15. Final exam

Литература по темите:

• Матеев, С. (2011) Начала на психофизиката.София, НБУ.

• Kingdom, F. A. A., & Prins, N. (2010). Psychophysics: A practical introduction. San Diego, CA, US: Elsevier Academic Press.

• MacMillan, N.A. and Creelman, C.D. (2005) Detection Theory: A user's guide. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

• Schiffman, H.R. (2003) Psychophysics. In: Davis, S.F. (Ed) Handbook of research methods in experimental psychology, Chapter 20. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Средства за оценяване:

• Homework assignments – 20%

• Midterm exam – 40%

• Final exam – 40%