Virginia de Sa's 160 Page

Cogsci 160: Seminar on Visual Illusions and Aftereffects

CSB 272 : Tu-Thu 11-12:20

Projects are due Tuesday Dec 10 in Cogsci Rm 139 (to Thanh Maxwell). 1 copy by 11am or 2 Copies by noon.


This course will introduce you to the fascinating world of visual illusions and aftereffects. The emphasis will be on inferring properties of brain computationfrom the observed "errors". Most days the format will consist of a student presentation in the first part of the class, followed by group discussion, and then followed by a lecture from the instructor on material relevant to the next paper. In the beginning there will be more instructor led lectures and at the end there will be project presentations. There may also be occasional guest lectures. For 4 units of credit, a final project is required. Group work on the project is encouranged.


Virginia de Sa
Room CSB164 Phone x2-5095, x2-2402
Office Hours TBD in class


Time Tuesday and Thursdays 11:00am-12:20pm
Place CSB 272

Text (in progress)

There is no required text. Papers will be made available for download.

Recommended texts (very reasonably priced!):

The Psychology of Visual Illusion, J.O. Robinson ($9.95)

Visual Illusions, Matthew Luckiesh ($6.95)

Visual Intelligence, D.D. Hoffman ($17.95)

Useful References

PDF extract with cross-modal refs

Collection of pages with Psychophysical Illusions

Vision Research
Perception & Psychophysics (UCSD only)

Journal of Neurophysiology
Journal of Neuroscience
Brain Research

Proposed Grading Scheme

Paper presentation is an important part of the class. You will receive tips on general presentation skills and specific guidance on your presentations (see below Presentation Guidlines). You are required to present 2 papers of your choice from a list of recommended papers. Before presentation you will meet with the instructor to plan your presentation. (Presentations: 10% (first), 20% (second))

Discussion is also an important part, and papers you don't present, you will be expected to read and actively discuss in class. A 1/2 page review of the day's paper is required at the beginning of the class discussing the paper. You may be excused from 1 paper of your choice. (Paper summaries: 20%, Class participation: 15%)

There will be 1 final project. You are encouraged to work in groups of 2 or 3 but may work on your own. (Project Report:25% Project Presentation: 10%).

email about Project Write-Ups

Grades for participation are computed out of 5 for each class as follows : Presenter gets 5/5, Showing up gets you 3/5 (not showing up and not having a good excuse gets 0/5), Minor participation gets you 4/5 (asking a question, answering a question),... Major participation gets you 5/5 (suggesting a new interpretation, asking/answering several questions, helping other students,...) I will drop your lowest 2 numbers.

Presentation Guidelines (Thanks to Charles Elkan)

The procedure for each student presentation is as follows: