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student image assignment

I hope to regularly post course assignments that require students to engage with images in some way.  Ideally, this assignment sharing will stimulate ideas for interdisciplinary image use and incorporating visual materials across the curriculum.

If you’d like to share an assignment you’ve developed, please let me know – I’d be happy to post it.

The following assignment was developed by Elizabeth Thomas, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell, for BIS434, Psychology and the Visual Arts. This assignment asks students to engage with an image using tools from the discipline of psychology, considering the physical aspects of vision, figure and form perception, visual perspective, and cultural knowledge.

Many thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her work.

Assignment: Visual Perception and Cognition
Assignment will be in essay format and will require understanding and integration of lectures, discussion, and Solso text (Solso, R.L. (1994). Cognition and the Visual Arts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).  The assignment will also require you to apply your knowledge in the analysis of a visual image.

Instructions: Choose a reproduction of a piece of visual art. The visual art piece should be two-dimensional and representational (this means that while the piece can represent any number of styles, it should not be completely abstract).  Use the image and your understanding of lectures, discussion, and text to answer the following question:

What is involved in enabling you to see and make sense of this particular visual image that you have chosen?

Utilize the “stages of visual information processing” model and attend to the following aspects of visual sensation and perception in your answer:

The physical side of vision
Figure and form perception
Visual perspective
Schemas, canonical representations, and other forms of cultural knowledge

Be sure to apply the principles of visual sensation, perception, and cognition explicitly and consistently to the image that you have chosen.

Your answer should be written in a well-organized essay format.  It should be typed, double-spaced, and approximately 4 pages in length.  Attach a color copy of the image you have chosen to your essay.

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