9.00SC | Fall 2011 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Psychology


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Session Overview

Optical illusion of white grid on black background, with apparent flashing black dots in the grid crossings.

This session is an introduction to the subject of psychology: the scientific study of how we think, feel and act. The lecture features some fascinating examples and fun demonstrations on topics like optical illusions, limits of visual attention, the power of suggestion in memories, and the relationship between how we feel and how we act.

Keywords: perception, optical illusion, visual memory, visual attention, listening, automaticity, prediction, thinking, feeling, acting

In the Hermann Grid illusion, black dots seem to flash in the grid intersections. (Public domain image.)

Session Activities


Read the following before watching the lecture video.

  • One of the following textbook chapters:
    • [K&R] Chapter 1, “Introduction to the Science of Psychology: History and Research Methods”
    • [[Stangor]](/courses/9-00sc-introduction-to-psychology-fall-2011/pages/syllabus#Stangor) Chapter 1, “Introducing Psychology”

Lecture Videos

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Video Resources

Further Study

These optional resources are provided for students that wish to explore this topic more fully.

Animation MIT Perceptual Science Group. Lightness Perception and Lightness Illusions. More from this source used in the lecture video: eleven animations based on a paper by Edward H. Adelson.
Animation Bach, Michael. 92 Visual Phenomena & Optical Illusions. More from this source used in the lecture video: animations of optical illusions.
Videos Visual illusion experiments by Prof. Richard Gregory More from this source used in the lecture video: includes the rotating Charlie Chaplin mask illusion.
Web resource History of Psychology: Contemporary Foundations. Discovering Psychology. WGBH Educational Foundation, 2001. Timeline of key events, publications and perspectives in the development of psychology, from late 19th century to the present.
Textbook supplement Study materials for Ch. 1, “Psychology: Yesterday and Today.” In Kosslyn & Rosenberg, Psychology in Context, 3/e (Pearson, 2007) Practice test questions, flashcards, and media for a related textbook.

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Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2011
Learning Resource Types
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Lecture Notes
Exams with Solutions
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