PSY 3502: Application of Fractals to Psychology

Spring 2008
15529 M.W.F noon - 12:50 PM
PS (Bluilding 55) Physical Sciences, Room 109

Professor Larry S. Liebovitch
Office: Behavioral Science Building BS-12, Room 330

Psychology Undergraduate Students

PSY 3502, Spring 2008, Dr. Larry S. Liebovitch

Fractals in Psychology

This course shows how fractal methods can be used to analyze experimental data and gain a better understanding of the physiology and psychology of perception and behavior.

Using CD-ROM electronic curricula materials developed by grants from the National Science Foundation (DUE-9752226 and DUE-9980715).

Larry S. Liebovitch, Ph.D.
Florida Atlantic University
Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences
777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431
telephone: 561.297.2239, fax: 561.297.2223


Course Policies

  1. Attendance: Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes. If you miss a class you are responsible for ALL the material covered during that class, including lecture material and rules and regulations about the course (such as these rules). Some of the material covered in the lectures is NOT in the CD-ROM.
  2. Withdraw: It is the responsibility of the student to withdraw from this class, should that status be desired - the instructor cannot withdraw students from the course. The instructor will not give the grade of "I" in lieu of a grade of "D" or "F". The grade of "I" will be considered only in exception cases (such as serious illness) for students who are presently performing at a C or higher level in the course.
  3. Homework Problems: All homework problems must be turned in on the dates assigned. Late homework problems will be accepted up to 1 week late, but they will be penalized. No homework problems will be accepted over 1 week late. You will have the option of redoing each homework assignment to improve your grade on it, BUT if it was not turned in on the date assigned, it will still be penalized. Just to repeat, ANY homework first turned in later than 1 week will count as zero. Homework problems must be submitted on 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Handwritten homework that is not readable is not acceptable. They should have a cover sheet with your full name. You are requested to make a copy of all material turned in for credit to guard against loss or damage.
  4. Grade:
    Homework 60%
    Journal 15%
    Exams 25%


The textbook will be on a CD-ROM.

Materials on the CD-ROM

  1. Modules: Each Module is a self-contained unit on one topic that includes an Instructor's Guide and links to its supporting Lecture Notes, Classroom Discovery Experiments, Discovery Applets, Discovery Spreadsheets, Homework Assignments, PowerPoint Slides, reference material in Fractals and Chaos Simplified for the Life Sciences, and Assessment Tools.
  2. Lecture Notes: Detailed notes of the classroom lectures.
  3. Classroom Discovery Experiments: Instructions, aims, and meanings of hands-on activities to be performed by groups of students in class. These include instructional video clips of the experiments.
  4. Discovery Applets: Instructions and results for self-discovery activities implemented in Java applets.
  5. Discovery Spreadsheets: Instructions and results for self-discovery activities implemented in Excel spreadsheets.
  6. Homework Assignments: Homework problems with worked solutions for the instructor.
  7. PowerPoint Slides: Illustrative slides for the instructor to show in class.
  8. Fractals and Chaos Simplified for the Life Sciences Hypertext version of the previous print textbook.

Lecture Contents

Course Objectives: How to Use Fractals to Analyze Psychological Data
Scales of Scientific Measurement
Logarithmic Scales in Psychology: Fechner's Law
More about Logarithmic Scales in Psychology: Weber's Law
Graphical Representations of Psychological Data
What Graphs Tell Us about Relationships
How Properties Can Depend on the Scale at which they are Measured
Physiology and Psychology of Vision
Blood Vessels in the Eye
How Nerve Cells Work
Kinetics of Ion Channel Proteins in Neurons
Physiology and Perceptions of Hearing
Anatomy and Physiology of the Heart
Fractals Inside the Classroom: Lab Experiments on Pattern Formation
Statistics in Analyzing Normal Psychological Data
Statistics in Analyzing Fractal Psychological Data
Chaos: How Simple Systems Can Do Complex Things
Implications of Chaos for Psychological Explanations