Module Identifier MC10220  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Daniel G J Chandler  
Semester Semester 2  
Further details For information on due dates for submission of assessed work, please refer to the departmental web pages at  

Learning outcomes

Typically, upon completion of this module, a student will be able to:

- display an understanding of the active interpretative dimension in visual perception;
- identify some of the processes of mediation involved in the visual construction of reality;
- articulate their own standpoints on the constructedness of reality.

Brief description

The main focus of this module is on how visual experience is mediated. ''Reality'' is always a constructed representation. The materials used (such as visual illusions) may make the module seem similar to a ''visual literacy'' course. It should appeal to students who are interested in how we interpret (and differ in interpreting) what we see in the world and in ''texts'' (whatever the medium). Most people assume that visual perception, reading and watching TV involve relatively ''passive'' processes of assimilation by the ''receiver''. Our study of the openness of visual texts to interpretation will challenge such assumptions. We will explore some of the processes of mediation involved when viewers and readers construct ''reality'', ''the world'', ''meaning'' and ''information''. For TFTS students, this module offers a foundation for a viewer-oriented study of television and film.


Essential study materials are available online on the module''s own website at:


- to examine the active processes of construction involved in visual perception;
-to demonstrate ''the beholder''s share'' in ''going beyond the information given''.



The lectures are based on the following:

Visual Perception 1: Searching for Patterns
Visual Perception 2: The Third Dimension
Visual Perception 3: Cultural and Environmental Factors
Visual Perception 4: Individual Differences, Purposes and Needs
Visual Perception 5: Context and Expectations; Categorization and Selectivity
Visual Perception 6: Gestalt Principles of Visual Organization
Active Reader (1)
Active Reader (2)
Active TV Viewer

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Barthes, Roland (1977) Image, Music, Text London: Fontana
Bordwell, David (1989) Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Branigan, Edward (1992) Narrative Comprehension and Film London: Routledge
Chandler, Daniel (2001) Semiotics: The Basics London: Routledge
Coren, Stanley Lawrence M Ward & James T Enns (1993) Sensation and Perception New York: Harcourt Brace
Deregowski, Jan B. (1980) Illusions, Patterns and Pictures: A Cross-Cultural Perspective London: Academic Press
Gregory, Richard L (1990) Eye and Brain: The Pyschology of Seeing Oxford: Oxford University Press
Gregory, Richard L (1970) The Intelligent Eye London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson
Gombrich, Ernst H (1977) Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation London: Phaidon
Gombrich, Ernst H (1982) The Image and the Eye: Further Studies in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation London: Phaidon
Kress, Gunther & Theo Van Leeuwen (1996) Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design London: Routledge
Messaris, Paul (1981) Visual Literacy: Image, Mind & Reality Boulder, CO: Westview Press
Nichols, Bill (1981) Ideology and the Image Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press
Smith, Frank (1988) Understanding Reading Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
Sturken, Marita & Lisa Cartwright (2001) Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture New York: Oxford University Press

Web Page/Sites
Chandler, Daniel (1994) Semiotics for Beginners


This module is at CQFW Level 4