Psychophysics, Perception and Physiology


Programme fact file

Programme title: Psychophysics, Perception and Physiology
Qualification: 10 credits (total 60 credits required for PG Cert Sensory Science)
Start date: 22 May 2017
Duration: 4 consecutive days
Maximum places available:  Limited
Fees: £1,650, however 50% bursaries are available for UK agrifood sector through AgriFood ATP.
Available on weekends/evenings: No

School of Biosciences 

Programme overview

Course description

A four day module providing both a fundamental and practical understanding of human sensory perception and the techniques used to examine them.

By the end of the course delegates will be able to:

  • Understand the biological basis of perception and 
    individual variation.
  • Review the laws of psychophysics and their relationship to
    sensory testing.
  • Understand and apply recent advances in sensory
    measurement including d’ and the R-index, Temporal
    Dominance of Sensations and Rapid Methods for
    descriptive analysis.

This module can be taken as a stand-alone individual course. Successful completion of all six modules leads to the award of PGCert in Sensory Science.

Programme detail

Course details

The module starts with an update on the mechanism of sensory perception and considers aspects of individual variation such as genetic factors, age and gender. This is followed by an introduction to psychophysics, including threshold testing and signal detection theory which underpins the use of d’ and R-index measures. We consider the use of newer labelled magnitude scales and temporal measures of sensation including time intensity and temporal dominance of sensations (TDS) methodologies.

We also look at the relative merits of the rapid methods now available to sensory scientists and finish by bringing the senses together in consideration of the concept of multimodal perception and interactions between the senses.


  • Receptor mechanisms.
  • Individual variation and perception.
  • An introduction to psychophysics.
  • Evaluating methods for threshold testing.
  • Signal detection theory, d’ and R-index.
  • Temporal methods including temporal dominance of sensations.
  • Rapid methods for profiling.
  • Multimodal perception.

Teaching Team 

  • Prof Joanne Hort (SAB Miller Chair in Sensory Science) at The University of Nottingham, has specialist research interest in multi modal flavour perception.
  • Dr Ian Fisk, Lecturer in Food Chemistry at The University of


Assessment (through coursework) is optional for delegates taking stand-alone modules.

The University of Nottingham is working in collaboration with Campden BRI to provide much sought after sensory science training for industry.

We are well known for excellence in sensory science research and Campden BRI is the UK’s largest independent membership organisation carrying out research and development for the food and drinks industry worldwide. Such a combination of expertise offers delegates excellent opportunities to develop their knowledge and apply this to the workplace.


Bursaries to pay a part of individual module costs may be available to UK industry delegates through our BBSRC Advanced Training Partnership Award. Find out more at 



About Sutton Bonington Campus

Map and directions


The University of Nottingham,
Sutton Bonington Campus,
Sutton Bonington,
LE12 5RD


About Sutton Bonington






Elizabeth Dinneen, Sensory Science Programme Administrator
t:     +44(0)115 951 6610

Continuing Professional Development Services

Jubilee Conference Centre
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Triumph Road
Nottingham, NG8 1DH

telephone: +44 (0) 115 748 4352