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Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception

Narrated by: Peter M. Vishton
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Summary

Your senses aren't just a part of you-they define you. Nothing you experience would be possible without the intricate power of your senses. But how much about them do you really know?

Your ability to sense and perceive the world around you is so richly detailed and accurate as to be miraculous. No tool in the entire universe of scientific exploration can come close to matching the ability of your brain to use information sensed by your eyes, ears, skin, tongue, and nose to produce a rich sensory experience in just milliseconds.

In recent years, neurobiologists and other scientists have uncovered new insights into how your senses work and the amazingly complex and fascinating things they can do. And now you can share in what they've discovered-through this intriguing series of 24 lectures from an award-winning teacher.

Knowing how your senses work and the ways they shape how you see, interact with, and understand your life will help you think more critically about everything you sense and perceive, strengthen your appreciation of the senses that make this possible, prepare you to be an active consumer of new scientific evidence on how our senses work, and much more.

With Professor Vishton as your guide, you'll. consider each of your senses from multiple perspectives:

  • Explore how your brain processes different sensory information
  • Consider how your senses work together and within the context of the environment around you
  • discover how your senses connect you to the world and other people.

Using both cutting-edge research and simple experiments, tests, and demonstrations to hone your understanding, he has created a world-class learning experience that will change the way you think about your senses.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2011 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2011 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception

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good book

plenty to set your mind to thinking .. thoroughly enjoyed listening and will listen again

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  • P
  • 26-02-15

Worth it -- great material, explained well.

Would you listen to Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception again? Why?

Yes. The subject is fascinating.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception?

These courses can be hit or miss. A lot depends on the organization of the lectures and the ability of he professor to find the right balance so it's not so detailed that it becomes impossible and not so high-level that it's useless. This one strikes the right balance.

What about Professor Peter M. Vishton’s performance did you like?

He lays the foundation he needs early and then builds on it in an organized way.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Douglas
  • 27-08-13

Another Absolutely Marvelous...

Great Courses lecture series! My graduate and post graduate degrees are in the Humanities, but I also have a minor degree in psychology with an accent on the physiological and perceptual aspects of consciousness, and I have continued my study in this latter area through the years. Thus, I can tell you that the material presented in Vishton's lecture series is scientifically accurate, presented clearly enough for the layman and is interesting enough for someone who has done much study in this field. I listened to Grim's lecture series on the Philosophy Of Mind (also in the Great Courses selections) before this one, and I highly recommend that they be taken together. Much of the material dovetails in a way to make both series much richer and more comprehensible.

44 people found this helpful

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  • Caprisha
  • 06-04-15

Easy to perceive at all levels...

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started this series. I was a little worried it would be a little over my head since I had virtually no background in the field of human perception, but I was SO wrong. The speaker never once spoke down to me, but he still kept each lesson easy to understand and enjoyable. As a teacher myself, I really appreciate that! He used real-world examples, actual experiments, and gave experiments we could recreate at home to helps us understand how we process the world around us! I listened to several chapters back-to-back because it was enjoyable.

18 people found this helpful

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  • satya
  • 17-06-15

Broaden your horizons on perception.

Perception fundamentals explained in minute detail. I got interested in neuropsychology when I watched a TED video by Ramachandran. I wanted to know if the brain was so plastic can a different sense compensate for the lost one, now I got my answer and much more. I am really glad I listened to this lecture.

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  • RYAN M OMAN
  • 15-02-19

Missing the visuals

Sadly, many of the more visual aspects of these lectures are lost to the Audible experience. Therefore, I can only assume the visual aids would have made it a much better learning experience. It was informative and the lecturer was articulate but the content lacked something in its delivery. It was good but not great.

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  • Russell Bernard
  • 25-04-14

Very Informative

I was a newbie to this subject, I found it very interesting and inforamtive.
I will never view the Fedex logo the same. Understanding how the human brain works is very cool.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-10-19

More than Meets the Ears

While there are some exercises in these lectures that require the use of the included pdf (and some simple online video searches), even with just the audio book there is a ton of fascinating information here. From how we perceive colors to the thermal grill illusion, I learned so much about how we perceive (and don't perceive) the world around us. I'll be returning to this lecture series again and again for tips on illusions, interpreting behavior, and entertaining infants. It also takes a thoughtful look at how brain damage, sensory disabilities, and a-typical neurology affect our experiences of the world--something I really appreciated. This was just a great set of lectures!

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  • Jim
  • 06-12-18

My perception of the book is very positive

Great Courses are always great. A fascinating exploration of how subjective a our perception of the world can be. Would definitely recommend.

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  • Ryan
  • 17-07-18

Listen to this ASAP!

This supplementary piece is helping me through neuroscience at Drexel. This author has managed to thoroughly summarize a fairly complex topic into something easy and desirable to consume & absorb.

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  • Mike
  • 07-02-20

Sensation: the Data of Consciousness

Fascinating. The discussion of Goodale et al's paper “Size-Contrast Illusions Deceive the Eyes but Not the Hand.” alone is worth the price. This particular research invites us to ask: if our brain knows the correct size of some object, why would it not use that accurate information for everything, including our conscious perception? I conclude, after this course, that conscious perception, as a model of reality, must sacrifice fidelity in some ways in order to thrive in others. What conscious perception thrives in, if not measurement accuracy, is compressing input sensation into associations of objects. Aaanyway, I'm confident you will come away from this course with your own, equally wonderful, conclusions. If only Locke and Leibniz could hear the material on infant perception, it would resolve their philosophical differences in one sitting. Such is the power of this material. One final note in choosing this course. Audible offers similar material, in "The Modern Scholar" series, by Rolf Nelson. Listen to them all, but if you must choose, choose this material by Vishton. Not only is it *slightly* more advanced, but it offers everything the Nelson material offers, and at one credit instead of two. Enjoy, compress, and associate!

2 people found this helpful