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Sensation and Perception Worksheet: Concept of a Perceptual Set

Conduct an experiment to illustrate the concept of a perceptual set. Engage at least three subjects (family members, coworkers, or friends) in your experiment. Ask your subjects to observe a specific room and take note of everything in the room that is a particular color, for example, anything and everything that is brown. You may choose to have all subjects observe the same room at different times or have the subjects each observe different rooms. After one minute, ask your subjects to close their eyes. Once their eyes are closed, ask them to recite everything in the room that is a different color than the one they were looking for, for example, anything and everything that is green. Take note of the subjects' responses. After conducting your experiment, answer the following questions:

1. Describe the results of the experiment. What happened?
2. Explain the outcome of this experiment by identifying and describing the sensory and perceptual processes involved. Be sure to discuss perceptual set.
3. What are your thoughts about this experiment? Were you surprised by the outcome? Why or why not?

Solution Preview

For the purposes of this response, I am going to assume that you in fact will "conduct the experiment" (even though it technically does not meet the criteria to be a true experiment). Whether you actually do use real "subjects" (the proper term is actually "participants" according to the APA Publication Manual) or simply use your imagination and pretend you did is of course ultimately up to you. The content of my response remains the same regardless. To keep everything as simple as possible and to avoid any unnecessary sources of potential confusion, I also assume the study will be carried out as portrayed in the example (i.e., brown for the initial color, then green, etc.).

1. An ideal approach to describing what happened in at least 100 words is to approach it as though you were writing a typical abstract for a report of an empirical study. ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides guidelines to help the student respond to the queries posted with conducting an experiment to illustrate the concept of a perceptual set.