Happy Memorial Day
I hope that everyone has a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. Take some time to remember the purpose of the holiday.
Exam 2 Is Due By Friday, 5/31
The second exam covers chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the textbook and the related material on the class website. Your answers must be submitted no later than 11:59 PM EDT on Friday, May 31. Please let me know if you have any questions.
New Sensory System Discovered in Rorqual Whales
Researchers have recently announced the discovery of a new sensory system in rorqual whales (which include Blue Whales). The new system appears to tell the whale when the water has a high density of krill and fish and helps coordinate the feeding response of the whale. You can read a summary of the findings here.
Last Day To Withdraw without Record Is 5/22
Wednesday, May 22, is the last day to withdraw from first summer term courses without a record. You do not need my signature to withdraw before 5/22. After 5/22, you will need my signature to withdraw.
If your score on exam 1 is below 70 you should seriously consider dropping. The course doesn't get any easier and much of what happens later (when we get to the other sensory systems) builds upon what was covered during the first exam.
Exam 1 Grades
Grades for exam 1 are available from Isidore. If you checked your grades on Tuesday, you should check again as I added a few points to everyone's score. With those points, the mean on the exam was 75.6% with a standard deviation of 13.4%. The highest score was 102% and the lowest was 57%. The mean is lower than I like for it to be, but is not atypical for the first exam in this class. A few students did not access the online lectures, either at all, or waited until the day or two before the test to do so. That is like trying to cram an entire month worth of classes of a regular semester into a single day or two. Their low performance on the exam is not surprising.
The following histogram shows the distribution of letter grades for the first exam:
Want To Do Better on the Next Exam?
If you want to do better on the next exam, I encourage you to follow the suggestions given on the How To Study page. A link to that page is in the list of links on the left. Several people tried to listen to two or more lectures for the first time on the day of the test. That is not an effective way of learning a body of material. Many of you got the questions from the textbook wrong; that indicates that many of you need to spend more time with the book. If you are spending much less than 20 hours per week with the class, then you probably are not devoting enough time. By the time you read two and half chapters, listen to two and half lectures and review several times every week you can easily spend a dozen hours per week. If you are doing other things for class like taking notes, making flashcards and reading and responding to the discussion, you can add a few more hours. If you don't put in the effort, you probably won't do well in the class. If you don't have the time or desire, then you should strongly consider dropping the class.
Exam 1 Is Due By End of Tuesday, May 21
Exam 1 is due no later than 11:59 PM EDT on Tuesday, May 21. Page two of the syllabus describes the type of questions that will be on the exam. Exam 1 covers chapters 1, 2 and 3 and the appendix of the textbook and the related online material. The exam is closed book and closed notes. You will have one hour to take the exam (unless you have provided me with the appropriate documentation for a learning disability) and taking longer than the allocated time will result in a stiff penalty for your grade.
Flash cards are a good way of learning definitions of terms. If you want to create your own online flash cards, the Flash Cards link in the list to the left will let you do so. While you might be able to find pre-existing flash cards on the internet, learning theory tells us that you will learn better if you invest the time and effort to create your own.
Signal Detection Theory and Inferential Statistics
For those of you who have already taken your statistics course, you should have noticed some similarities between signal detection theory (SDT) and null hypothesis statistical tests (NHST). The noise distribution in SDT is analogous to the distribution if H0 is true in NHST. The signal plus noise distribution in SDT is analogous to the distribution if H1 is true in NHST. The probability of a false alarm in SDT is analogous to α (the probability of a Type I error) in NHST. The probabilty of a miss in SDT is analogous to β (the probability of a Type II error) in NHST. The probability of a hit in SDT is analogous to statistical power in NHST. d' in SDT is, basically, a measure of effect size in NHST.
Labeling Parts of the Eye
As described on the syllabus, the exam will have a section that asks you to label the parts of a sensory system. For the first exam, you will be asked to label the parts of the eye. To help prepare, you can visit this page. On the exam you will have to recall and type your answers rather than recognize them from a list of parts. You will also need to know the function of the parts of the eye. This page will help with that.
The discussion link in the list on the left contains a couple of questions for each chapter / lecture that are similar to the type of questions that I would ask in class to get you thinking about the material. Just like in class where you don't have to answer every question that the teacher asks, you do not need to respond to the discussion questions. Just like in class, thinking about the question and trying to answer it will likely improve your performance in class.
Hopefully you have started listening to and taking notes from the online lectures. If not, click on the Lectures Notes link in the list of links on the left to get started. You should also be reading and taking notes from the corresponding parts of the textbook. Trying to cram it all in the day or two before the test is not an effective learning strategy. Besides, there is too much material on the first exam to cram. There are additional suggestions, based on psychological research, on how to study in the How To Study link in the list on the left.
Exam 1 is due no later than 11:59 PM EDT on Tuesday, May 21. Page 2 of the syllabus describes the type of questions that will be on the exam. Exam 1 covers chapters 1, 2 and 3 and the appendix of the textbook and the related online material. The exam is closed book and closed notes. You will have one hour to take the exam (unless you have provided me with the appropriate documentation for a learning disability) and taking longer than the allocated time will result in a stiff penalty for your grade.
Do not underestimate the amount of material that will be on the test. I strongly encourage you to spend enough time with the material and process it deeply. The summer semester is compressed into six weeks; therefore, every two days of class is like a week in a regular semester. Thus, you need to be spending approximately four hours per weekday on the class.
Chapter 1 of the text (I hope you have already read it; if not, you need to start soon) talks about sensation and perception. Perception involves much more than sensory information. Here are a couple of YouTube videos, video 1 and video 2, that demonstrate that there is more to perception than sensation. Both demonstrate a phenomenon known as change blindness. Change blindness demonstrates that perception, while usually relying on sensation, also relies on something else because the sensory information changed, but the percept did not. What is that something else?
I hope that you find this class as interesting as I find perception. Perception is a fundamental part of our lives and an understanding of how we perceive is essential to understanding the human experience.
Take some time to explore the class web site. You will want to print and read a copy of the syllabus. You can visit the lectures & notes page to listen to lectures and access printed copies of the lecture slides. The discussion link takes you to a list of questions that I might ask in a traditional course and you can respond to those questions. When you are ready to take an exam, you can access the exam from the exams link. Please note that you can only request an exam once -- DO NOT request the exam unless you are prepared to take it. Finally, you can create flash cards and use them to study for the exams. By creating your own flash cards, you will be engaging in a learning activity that will help you prepare for the exams.
If you have not already found the online lectures, click on the Lectures Notes link in the list of links on the left. Then click on the babbling head icon () to listen to a particular lecture. Click on the notes icon () to see small versions of the PowerPoint slides with room for you to take notes while listening to the lecture.
*The time until the next exam is based on your computer's clock.
If your computer's clock is wrong, the time until the exam will be wrong too.