Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception

Discover the secret life of your senses through an intriguing and unforgettable 24-lecture course delivered by a masterful educator who has spent several decades immersed in exploring the frontiers of human perception.
Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 40.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative, Thought Provoking This is one of the best of many Great Courses that I have viewed. The material is well-organized, and delivered in a well-structured smooth way by Vishton, an excellent speaker. Humans have an amazing perceptual system that can be trained to assist us in perceiving the world around us on the flyI as our senses record the world around us. I had no idea such a processing capability was operating behind the awareness of our conscious mind.. I have macular degeneration, and found explanation of my experience that I have found nowhere else. I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2021-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Interesting and Outstanding Presentation Absolutely fascinating from start to finish and Professor Vishton is an outstanding speaker. Professionally, I'm an engineer by trade, so I wasn't too sure about this topic. However, since I'm a human, too, it turns out that it was totally applicable. I would probably have titled the course the Wonders of Human Perception rather than the Secrets, because gaining some insight into perception was wonder-full. I think anyone would enjoy this and benefit from it. Professor Vishton's presentation style was so pleasant and captivating, that I will surely consider his other courses. Like many other Great Courses, I highly recommend the video version as too much would be lost using only audio.
Date published: 2021-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perception Explored This is an excellent course, lucid and well illustrated with fascinating examples. Sometimes it glosses over subjects and oversimplifies certain aspect of detail, but as an introduction to the topic this is no bad thing and is not a problem. The professor is easy to follow and comes across well. This is one of the few courses I have done where I am always tempted to go on to the next lecture, regardless of the time! A real page turner, but it is playing havoc with my bedtime.
Date published: 2021-05-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Needs a warning - A number of the lectures have visual effects that can be dangerous to people with certain medical conditions - and there is NO WARNING about them. Also this series could have been done in half the time, presenter repeats him so much.
Date published: 2020-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Stuff - I Enjoyed It I have had this course for about 1 ½ years without watching it, and this was my loss. The course is very informative and very well presented. The first several lectures focus on the physiology of the five senses which is amazing. From here, Professor Vishton goes into the brain and how it organizes the inputs from the senses – good presentations and discussions. Professor Vishton is an excellent presenter who is relaxed and well spoken. He gets to the core of his subjects and makes them understandable. My one criticism is that he sometimes goes at a fast pace that left me behind – however the guidebook was a great help. Some of the lectures are a little boring, but overall the course is very educational, entertaining, and worthwhile. He covers numerous interesting topics that include: - optical illusions - how the inner ear works to maintain balance - the in-born reflexes of babies - extra-sensory perception - how we recognize images as a whole such as faces and chessboard layouts - cochlea implants and artificial vision - the effect of emotions on perceptions - how skydivers and distance runners experience negative emotions such as terror or exhaustion which is balanced by euphoria The above are just a few of the many interesting subjects that are covered.
Date published: 2020-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Course for everyone! I purchased this course with no particular expectations, since it is not an area I am involved with. Surprising, I loved it and have recommended it to my friends since the instruction provides so much useful information for everyone.
Date published: 2019-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome course Awesome Instructor Fascinating subject. Great presentation. A course that I will watch multiple times.
Date published: 2018-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from what the body perceives/what the mind interprets This was a thoroughly enlightening and enjoyable course. A great working subtitle might be "what the body perceives and what the mind interprets". The material was well organized and presented. The instructor included many visuals and examples to illustrate his points.
Date published: 2018-04-06
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Overview

Discover the secret life of your senses with Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception, an intriguing and unforgettable 24-lecture course delivered by Professor Peter M. Vishton, an expert in the frontiers of human perception. With him as your authoritative guide, you'll consider each of your senses from a wide range of perspectives, explore how your brain processes different sensory information, consider how your senses work together and within the context of your environment, learn how your senses connect you to the world and to other people, and much more.

About

Peter M. Vishton
Peter M. Vishton

The human mind remains one of the most mysterious and fascinating frontiers of modern science. Exploring that frontier yields useful knowledge as well as insights about ourselves.

INSTITUTION

The College of William & Mary
Dr. Peter M. Vishton is Associate Professor of Psychology at The College of William & Mary. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Cornell University. Before joining the faculty of William & Mary, he taught at Northwestern University and served as the program director for developmental and learning sciences at the National Science Foundation. A consulting editor for the journal Child Development, Professor Vishton has published articles in many of the top journals in the field of psychology. Among these are Psychological Science, Science, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology. He is also the creator of the DVD What Babies Can Do: An Activity-Based Guide to Infant Development. In addition to teaching, Professor Vishton devotes much of his career to researching the perception and action control of both infants and adults. His studies-funded by prestigious institutions, including the National Institute of Child Health and Development and the National Science Foundation-focus on cognitive, perceptual, and motor development; visually guided action; visual perception; computational vision and motor control; and human-computer interface. Professor Vishton has presented his findings at numerous conferences and invited talks throughout the United States and Europe.

By This Professor

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Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception

Trailer

Your Amazing, Intelligent Senses

01: Your Amazing, Intelligent Senses

Embark on a fascinating journey into the secret life of your senses. In this introductory lecture, Professor Vishton uses a series of demonstrations to prove that perception is, in fact, amazing; shows you how your sensory systems inherently rely on making "educated guesses"; and lays the roadmap for the lectures ahead....

32 min
The Physiological Hardware of Your Senses

02: The Physiological Hardware of Your Senses

Get a working knowledge of sensory physiology that will prove important for the lectures ahead. Learn how neurons function, how your senses translate energy into electrical signals, how your brain organizes this energy, and how you can mentally represent the infinite range of things out in the world....

30 min
Neuroimaging-The Sensory Brain at Work

03: Neuroimaging-The Sensory Brain at Work

Learn how brain researchers figured out how the functions of sensation and perception map onto particular brain regions. Focusing on what happens when you recognize a face, see how brain-injured patients, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and scientific studies have brought us closer than ever to understanding this complex subject....

31 min
Brain Modules-Subcomponents of the Senses

04: Brain Modules-Subcomponents of the Senses

There is evidence out there to support the idea that your senses arise from many separate, independent "modules." Here, Professor Vishton discusses the evidence for this organization and demonstrates how your mind puts these modules together to create the rich, combined sensory experience you live with every day....

30 min
Perceiving a World in Motion

05: Perceiving a World in Motion

Explore three key aspects of how you sense motion. First, learn why motion information is important for perceiving the location, shape, and identity of objects around you. Then, examine how your brain perceives and infers motion. Finally, discover how you interpret the complex patterns of motion delivered to your retinas....

31 min
Seeing Distance and Depth

06: Seeing Distance and Depth

Probe a classic mystery of sensory processing: depth perception. When is depth perception not accurate? How do cues such as convergence and motion parallax support your perception of size and depth? And how do you put these sources of information together to produce a single, accurate picture of what's around you?...

32 min
Seeing Color and Light

07: Seeing Color and Light

Turn now to the ways that you perceive color. After a quick discussion of the physics of light and color, Professor Vishton explains the trichromatic theory of color perception (how color is processed in your retinas) and the opponent process theory of color perception (how color is interpreted in your visual cortex)....

33 min
Your World of Taste and Olfaction

08: Your World of Taste and Olfaction

In the first of six lectures on your nonvisual senses, focus on taste and smell. You'll learn where your unique flavor preferences come from, how smells are processed in your brain, why aromas can recall particular memories and emotions, how taste interacts with smell and vision, and much more....

28 min
Hearing the World around You

09: Hearing the World around You

What are the physics of sound? How does your auditory system transform sound into patterns of neural activity? How does sound localization-the process through which you can infer the location of different sound sources-work? Uncover the answers to these and many other questions about your sense of hearing....

30 min
Speech and Language Perception

10: Speech and Language Perception

In this fascinating lecture, discover how you produce and perceive language. Explore how you communicate ideas using basic sounds; how you determine where one word ends and another begins; how things you think are being perceived by your ears are actually sensed by your eyes, and more....

32 min
Touch-Temperature, Vibration, and Pressure

11: Touch-Temperature, Vibration, and Pressure

Broaden your understanding of just how detailed and intricate is your sense of touch. You'll spend time considering the different reception systems embedded in your skin; the ways you use touch to control your actions and to explore your surroundings; and how this particular sense grounds your other senses....

34 min
Pain-How It Works for You

12: Pain-How It Works for You

Pain is more than just a nuisance-it's extremely important to your well-being. Get an overview of the systems of pain perception; the ways your brain processes pain formation; how seeing pain in others can quite literally cause you to feel pain yourself; and what happens when the pain system breaks down....

28 min
Perception in Action

13: Perception in Action

Recent scientific studies have shown that your actions can actually control your perceptions. Here, Professor Vishton guides you through our latest understanding of the interplay between action and perception. By looking at how perception and action go together, you'll have a much more accurate grasp of the entire human sensory process....

31 min
Attention and Perception

14: Attention and Perception

Examine how attention works in the human visual system. You'll learn how attention functions, how it enables you to locate mental resources effectively, how it works as a "spotlight" highlighting aspects of visual input, and how it serves as "perceptual glue" pulling together aspects of a stimulus into perceptual objects....

29 min
Kinesthetic Perception

15: Kinesthetic Perception

One human sense often left off the standard list of five: kinesthetic perception, or how you perceive and move your body. Consider aspects of kinesthetic perception, including your vestibular sense (how you perceive the position of your whole body) and proprioception (how you perceive the position of individual body parts)....

28 min
Seeing, Remembering, Inferring Infants

16: Seeing, Remembering, Inferring Infants

Get a better understanding of adult perception by exploring the intriguing process of perceptual development from birth to the first few years of life. How do infants see? Control their eye moments? Use their sensory input to make inferences about things they can't directly see? Learn all this and more here....

29 min
How Infants Sense and Act On Their World

17: How Infants Sense and Act On Their World

Continue building on ideas about how infant perception works and develops. In this lecture, you'll focus on how an infant's nonvisual senses develop; how an infant connects sensory abilities to actions such as crawling, reaching, and grasping; and how these action abilities influence an infant's sensory and perceptual abilities....

31 min
Illusions and Magic

18: Illusions and Magic

Enter the world of illusions and see how, in addition to being entertaining, they can reinforce and further develop your grasp of human sensation and perception. Professor Vishton guides you through some of his favorite visual illusions, including the Kanizsa triangle, the "Café wall," and the "paper dragon" illusions....

30 min
Perceiving Emotion in Others and Ourselves

19: Perceiving Emotion in Others and Ourselves

Consider perception and emotion from a variety of perspectives. How does emotion ramp up your sensory sensitivity to fear, or reduce it for disgust? How can various emotional states change your perception of time and space? How can you use vision and hearing to pick up information about someone's future health and well-being?...

33 min
Sensing the Thoughts of Others-ESP

20: Sensing the Thoughts of Others-ESP

Reading minds. Detecting lies. Predicting the future. Debunk these and other "paranormal phenomena" by exploring how we infer others' thoughts and actions through standard perception. Then, consider the possibility that ESP, telepathy, and clairvoyance can exist by learning about an ambitious-and controversial-research project from the 1980s....

34 min
Opponent Process for Perception and Life

21: Opponent Process for Perception and Life

Make sense of opponent process, one of the most fundamental organizational principles by which your brain is organized. Consider how opponent process is implemented at the level of individual neurons, how it maintains your internal state of well-being, how it explains why people engage in extreme behavior, and more....

31 min
Synesthesia-Tasting Color and Seeing Sound

22: Synesthesia-Tasting Color and Seeing Sound

Focus on the strange and interesting phenomenon of synesthesia, which draws seemingly bizarre connections between different sensory inputs (such as associating a letter with a specific color or an image with an unrelated taste). Studying this subject, you'll find, reveals some interesting facts about normal perception as well....

29 min
How Your Sensory Systems Learn

23: How Your Sensory Systems Learn

How do wine experts correctly identify wine after a single sip? How do chessmasters re-create pieces of a game on a chessboard? The answer is the subject of this lecture: perceptual learning, or the ways your sensory systems change after repeated exposure to stimulus....

30 min
Fixing, Replacing, and Enhancing the Senses

24: Fixing, Replacing, and Enhancing the Senses

Cochlear implants, artificial retina projects, tactile television-just three of the fascinating topics you'll learn about in this final lecture on fixing and replacing damaged sensory systems. The successes and failures of these and other technologies have taught us even more about how the senses work....

34 min