Using a Visual Illusion to Teach Fundamental Principles of Neural Processing
Studying neuroscience is critical for a well-rounded education in the social sciences. However, teaching neuroscience can be challenging when there is limited access to tools for students to monitor real-time brain activity. To address this problem, I developed an undergraduate laboratory exercise that challenged students to use observational measurements of a visual illusion to study neural activity. Students conducted simple psychophysical experiments to measure thresholds for detecting illusory spots under various conditions and described their results in a laboratory report. Assessment of students’ confidence and practical understanding of neural processing, before and after engagement with the laboratory exercise, was used to improve curriculum and instruction.
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