Teaching Interests and Advising

PSY 4036

Gordon teaches a course on Perceptual Issues in Visual Impairment (Psy. 4-036) in alternate years. It was last taught Fall Semester 2016. This course applies contemporary research findings to an improved understanding of the real-world abilities of visually impaired people. Each class session is divided between lecture and a hands-on lab exercise with state-of-the-art adaptive technology. Topics include:

  • Prevalence of low-vision and blindness
  • Three dimensions of vision loss (acuity, contrast sensitivity, and visual field)
  • Auditory and tactile perception
  • Brain adaptation to vision loss
  • Reading and low vision
  • Braille reading
  • Synthetic speech
  • Adaptive technology for reading
  • Space perception
  • Navigational technology (ranging from canes to GPS)
  • Driving with low vision
  • Object recognition and face recognition
  • Adaptive technology for computer access
  • Recreational activities

This course is designed for a variety of audiences including Psychology majors, people with vision impairment, students with career interests in rehabilitation or eye care (special education, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pre-optometry, pre-med, or nursing), and professionals with related interests.


PSY 5031

Gordon teaches a course on Visual Perception (Psy. 5-031) during Fall Semester every other year. It is scheduled for Fall 2017. The class includes discussion of visual illusions, vision in animals, a Wikipedia-style term paper and four lab sessions. The course introduces students to known principles and contemporary theories of visual perception. The main topics include: 

  • light and vision image
  • formation in the eye
  • sensory coding of patterns
  • color vision
  • depth perception
  • object recognition
  • impaired vision

The course is meant for advanced undergrads and grad students. Majors from many areas will find the course interesting, including psychology, biology, computer science, engineering, art, and design.


PSY 5051

Gordon teaches a course on The Psychology of Human-Machine Interaction (Psy. 5-051) during Fall After passing second base I paused to see the ball drop imageSemester in even years--2006, 2008. The course shows how psychological findings on cognition, perception and motor control can be applied to the evaluation and design of human-machine systems. Examples are taken from many sources including telepresence, lie detection, virtual reality, graphical-user interfaces, and the problems encountered by people with visual disabilities. Students are introduced to methods from information theory and signal-detection theory. An important part of the course is the team project. Teams of students work together to design an improved human-machine interface. This course is for advanced undergrads and grad students. It appeals to students from many fields including psychology, education, engineering, and computer science.

PSY 8031

From time to time, Gordon also teaches graduate seminars on special topics in visual perception (Psy. 8-031).


PSY 5993

Gordon holds weekly lab meetings to discuss new findings from the lab and the research literature. Interested students may attend these meetings for class credit (Psy. 5-993.)


Gordon has been privileged to supervise the following Ph.D. dissertations:

  • He, Y. Improving Letter Recognition and Reading in Peripheral Vision: Sensory and Cognitive Constraints. Univ. of Minnesota, 2017
  • Bochsler, T.M. Perceiving Properties of Indoor Layouts with Impaired Vision. Univ. of Minnesota, 2013
  • Kallie, C.S. Evaluating Object Visibility with Simulated Low Vision Using Real and Rendered Scenes. Univ. of Minnesota, 2012.
  • Kwon, M. Spatial-Frequency Requirements for Pattern Vision. Univ. of Minnesota, 2010.
  • Kalia, Amy A. Navigating Through Buildings with Impaired Vision: Challenges and Solutions. Univ. of Minnesota, 2009.
  • Yu, Deyue. Reading and Peripheral Vision: Perceptual and Brain-Imaging Studies. Univ. of Minnesota, 2009.
  • Cheung S.-H. Plasticity of the Visual System Following Visual Impairment. Univ. of Minnesota, 2005.
  • Giudice N.A. Navigating Novel Environments: A Comparison of Verbal and Visual Learning. Univ. of Minnesota, 2004.
  • Ortiz A. Perceptual Properties of Letter Recognition in Central and Peripheral Vision. Univ. of Minnesota, 2002.
  • Klitz T.S. The Effect of Visual Span Size and simulated Central Scotomas on Reading Performance. Univ. of Minnesota, 2000.
  • Beckmann P.J. Preneural Factors Limiting Letter Identification in Central and Peripheral Vision. Univ. of Minnesota, 1998.
  • Braje W.L. The Role of Shadows in Human Object Recognition. Univ. of Minnesota, 1997.
  • Tjan B.S. Ideal Observer Analysis of Object Recognition. Univ. of Minnesota, 1996.
  • Hilton J. The Role of Viewpoint-Invariant Properties in Visual Object Recognition. Univ. of Minnesota, 1995.
  • Akutsu H. Simultaneous Detection and Discrimination of Luminance Patterns. Univ. of Minnesota, 1995.
  • Riley V. Human Use of Automation. Univ. of Minnesota, 1994.
  • Isenberg L.M. Attention in Foveal and Peripheral Vision. Univ. of Minnesota, 1992.
  • Gu Y. Efficiency of Localizing Visual Signals in Noise. Univ. of Minnesota, 1990.
  • Kersten D. A Comparison of Human and Ideal Performance for the Detection of Visual Pattern. Univ. of Minnesota, 1983.
  • Rubin G.S. Suppression and Summation in Binocular Pattern Vision. Univ. of Minnesota, 1983.

Gordon has also supervised the thesis research of several excellent undergraduate honors students.