Teaching Interests and Advising

PSY 4036

Gordon teaches a course on Perceptual Issues in Visual Impairment (Psy. 4-036) in alternate years. 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 experience 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, it was last taught Fall 2020. 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: 

  • History of our understanding of light and vision
  • Structures of the eye and their roles in vision
  • Role of the retina in visual perception
  • Color vision
  • Pattern vision
  • Depth, motion and space 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, neuroscience, biology, computer science, engineering, human factors, art, and design.

GCC 5022

In recent years, Gordon has co-taught a class in the University’s Grand Challenges Curriculum (GCC) called The Human Experience of Sensory Loss.

Seeking equitable and effective solutions. This course focuses on the visual, auditory, and other sensory pathways that convey information about the world to the mind and brain. Millions of people worldwide experience deficits in sensory function that affect their quality of life. We focus on the characteristics of healthy sensory functioning as well as how sensory disorders can affect personal identity, impede information processing, and alter brain structure and function. The course addresses the demographics and risk factors for sensory disabilities, the implications of these disabilities for activities of daily living, the history of society’s response to sensory disability, as well as societal, ethical and personal attitudes toward sensory disabilities. The course also explores translational and applied approaches for addressing sensory disabilities. A major goal of the course is to view sensory function and impairment from multiple perspectives—cognitive science, neuroscience, medicine, engineering, society, consumers, ethics, and social justice.

The class welcomes both grad and undergrad students and is open to anyone interested in sensory disabilities.

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.) These weekly meetings also include discussions of professional and ethical issues in science.

Advising PhDs

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

  • Atilgan, N. Visual Constraints on Reading in Normal Vision, Low Vision and Dyslexia. Univ. of Minnesota, 2020.
  • 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.

Post Docs

Gordon has also been privileged to work with the following post docs:

  • Yingchen He, University of Minnesota, 2017
  • Ying-Zi Xiong, Peking University, 2016
  • Quan Lei, Northeastern University, 2015
  • Aurelie J. Calabrese, University of Mediterranean (France), 2011
  • Tingting Liu, Fudan University (China), 2009
  • Amy A. Kalia, University of Minnesota, 2009
  • Joseph Miller, University of South Dakota, 2002
  • Fang Fang, University of Minnesota, 2006
  • Hye-Won Lee, University of Massachusetts – Amhurst, 1999
  • Allen M.Y. Cheong, Queensland University of Technology (Australia), 2003
  • Mark J. Brady, University of Minnesota, 1999
  • Paul J. Beckmann, University of Minnesota, 1998
  • Brian J. Stankiewicz, UCLA, 1997
  • Beth A. O’Brien, Tulane University, 1996
  • Susana T.L. Chung, University of Houston, 1996
  • J. Stephen Mansfield, Oxford University (UK), 1990
  • Sonia J. Ahn, UC San Diego, 1990
  • David H. Parish, New York University, 1987
  • Gary S. Rubin, University of Minnesota, 1983
  • Dennis G. Pelli, Cambridge University (UK), 1981

Advising Undergraduates

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