PrC Make Sense of your Senses

Description

In this course, we will get some hands-on experience in experimentally investigating the human senses – from both perspectives of being the subject and the conductor.
Starting with the questions:
How can we quantify human perception?
How do we set up experiments to make them reproducible?
Which kind of statistics do we need to make sense of our data and what are the implications for the experimental design?
Is it possible at all to study human perception by relying on our senses?
We will perform a journey through the human senses, in which we shed light on vision, listen into audition, touch upon the tactile system and maybe also savour the sense of taste.
In small groups of 2-4 persons, we will plan, conduct, analyze and discuss psychophysics experiments during the four sessions:

Experiment(s) to measure perception thresholds
Experiment(s) on sensory illusion(s)
Experiment(s) on cross-modal interaction
Group presentations of results and general discussion

This professional course is meant to be explorative and highly interactive to try out hands-on experimental scientific work. Creativity is highly appreciated: The groups are encouraged to modify the suggested (rather simple) experiments and data analysis approaches according to their own scientific questions.

If possible, please bring a laptop with a program you are comfortable with for (basic) data analysis (Matlab, Python, R, Excel, Numbers…) and headphones.

Objectives

This experimental professional course has two main objectives (in addition to having fun…):
The scientific objective is to learn about the human senses by experimenting with them and getting some background information that hopefully help to make sense of them.
The professional objective is to practice your scientific skills. By planning, conducting, analyzing, presenting and discussing experiments, you will actively experience how to make sense of an experiment.

Literature

Any neuroscience textbooks with focus on sensory systems, e.g.
Galizia, Lledo ‘Neuroscience – From Molecule to Behavior’, 2013, Springer ISBN 978-3-642-10768-9

Very good background information is also available online, e.g.:
http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Encyclopedia:Neuroscience
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychophysics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_nervous_system
http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Visual_illusions:_An_Empirical_Explanation
http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/The_World_of_Touch
https://www.maxplanckflorida.org/fitzpatricklab/homunculus/

Course location

Guenne

Course requirements

None

Instructor information.

Instructor
Jutta Kretzberg

Affiliation

University of Oldenburg

Vita

Jutta Kretzberg studied computer science and biology at University of Bielefeld, Germany. In her PhD in biology she modelled neuronal responses in the fly visual system. As a postdoc in San Diego, California, she started to work also experimentally on the leech tactile system. In 2004, Jutta Kretzberg became a Junior Professor at University of Oldenburg, Germany, where she is now professor for computational neuroscience and head of the master’s program neuroscience. As a member of the cluster of excellence Hearing4all and having worked also on the vertebrate retina, her main research interest is neural coding in different sensory systems of vertebrates (including humans) and invertebrates. While juggling her family, teaching, research and administration duties, her favorite task is mentoring.

Website

https://uol.de/en/compneuro/