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Perception

Name: Laurel Thomas Class: IBSL Psychology Date: March 6, 2010 Words: 2,235

Table of Contents

Abstract ............................................................................................................ .......................................... i

Introduction ...................................................................................................... ...................................... 1

Method ............................................................................................................. ......................................... 3

Design .............................................................................................................. ........................... 3

Participants........................................................................................................ ........................ 4

Materials ........................................................................................................... ......................... 4

Procedure ......................................................................................................... ........................ 5

Results .............................................................................................................. ......................................... 6

Description ....................................................................................................... ........................ 6

Analysis ............................................................................................................ .......................... 7

Discussion ........................................................................................................ ....................................... 8

References ....................................................................................................... .................................... 10

Abstract
We duplicated an experiment meant to prove that we could manipulate that perception of others through their past experiences that was originally conducted by B.R. Bugelski and Delia A. Alampay. To do this, an ambiguous figure was used which could be seen as either a rat or an old man. There was however a slight change to the experiment that differs from the original version; the ambiguous figure was rotated slightly to the left, the believed

result was a higher tendency of the participants to see the old man instead of the rat. There were three groups; two experimental groups and one control group existing throughout the experiment. One of the experimental groups was shown images of animals before being shown the ambiguous figure and the second experimental group was shown images of human profiles before they saw the ambiguous figure. The control group saw neutral pictures which consisted of scenery and plants. Different sets of images were used as the independent variables and the responses of the participants acted as the dependent variable. Our hypothesis suggested that we could manipulate the responses and therefore create a correlation between the groups of images and the desired responses to each. This hypothesis was rejected since there was only a slight correlation and it was not found to be statistically significant.

Introduction
Since perception is such a difficult subject to define and understand, many different views are accepted by psychologist today. Depending on the context that surrounds and object, we perceive it in different ways at separate times. There is no one thing that defines how out perception will be influenced since perception itself is such an ambiguous topic. There is one experiment, which was conducted by B.R. Bugelski and Delia A Alampay, that made huge advances in what psychologists of the time understood about the subject of perception. Bugelski and Alampay believed they would be able to manipulate the

perception of the participants in their experiment based on past experiences. These past experiences were represented by images being shown to participants before seeing an ambiguous figure which could be seen two different ways. The theory was, if a subject was shown a variety of images that related to one of the possible images the person could view, they would pick the related image as opposed to the nonrelated image. The participants were generally shown several images of humans or they were shown several images of animals then immediately after, they were presented with an ambiguous figure that could be seen as either a rat or an old man. After initially seeing the image, the participants would respond to image by indicating whether they saw the rat or the old man. The original goal of the experimenters was to discover if by showing the participants more or less images they would respond with a high correlation. Based on the information gathered, this was not found to be true. There was little correlation between the number of sets and the strength of the responses. Our psychology class' goal was to imitate the experiment done by Bugelski and Alampay and possible find a positive correlation between the sets shown and the number of desired responses. The null hypothesis of our efforts was the interpretation of the ambiguous figure will not influence the general category of the previously observed sketches. The alternative hypothesis was when participants are exposed to perceptual sets, they will interpret the concluding figure they observe in line with the general category of the previous sets of figures.

Method
Design
The experiment was designed to test if perception could be changed based on past events, therefore the testing was made independent resulting in few corruptions, if any, in the data. Because each group only saw one of the sets of images, our data was more accurate. The identity's of the participants were to remain anonymous, every participate signed a informed consent form before participating, the participants were not deceived by out experiment and no one was physically harmed or injured in anyway. The independent variable were the two sets of images, human images for experimental group one and animal images for experimental group two. Therefore, the dependent variable was the responses of the participant to the ambiguous figure presented at the end of each set of images. Also, a control group was created. This group was shown neutral images that were not meant to affect the way they perceive the ambiguous figure, this would establish responses to the ambiguous figure that were not manipulated.

At the beginning of the experiment the class decided to rotate the image slightly to the right for each experiment, to see if we could create a stronger correlation than had been found in past years.

Participants
The students used to act as participants in the experiment were not selected randomly, instead a convenience sampling method was used to provide enough time for all of the groups to complete their portion of the experiment within one class period. Students were drawn mainly from freshmen and sophomore classes to ensure they wouldn't have any prior knowledge of the experiment or out hypothesis. Informed consent forms were distributed to all the students who wished to participate. Those over the age of sixteen signed the document themselves and any students under the age of sixteen were required to take home the document and have one of their parents or guardians sign the form. The participants consisted of twenty-six females and thirty-four males.

Materials
The materials used for the experiment consisted of the following: an overhead projector, a projector screen, informed consent forms, seating for participants, a total of 16 transparencies with the images printed on them (five for each experimental group, five for the control group and a sheet containing instructions), answer sheets, a master answer sheet which

contained all the responses for each group, cardboard provided as a hard surface to write on and a pencil for each participant to record their answer.

Procedure
The day before the experiment, classes were selected and each class containing participating students was visited and given the informed consent forms therefore they would be able to take it home and have a guardian sign it if necessary. All forms would be returned with the proper signature the following day. Participants were withdrawn from their classes on the day of the experiment and ushered into our room for the experiment. Fifteen students were taken each class period, five for each of the three groups. There were a total of sixty participants throughout the day since their were four class periods. A student in our class lead the experiment by instructing the participants and reading them the instructions which were visible through the overhead projector. He then asked if their were any questions and once everyone was in agreement on what was to be done, the experiment began. First, four transparencies were shown, for the first group they were images of human profiles, for the second group, images of animals and for the last group neutral images were shown. After the set of four transparencies the ambiguous figure was shown to the participants on the overhead and they responded on an answer sheet by checking next to one of the options provided. These options included old man, rat, unknown, and other. After they had marked their answers on the sheet provided, the participants turned in their sheets before exiting the room and being ushered back to their classroom. The day following the experiment, two volunteers from our class visited the classroom from which the students had been drawn and the volunteers read the debriefing to the participants.

Results
Description
In Table 1 below, the raw data has been organized in a neat and understandable fashion for better comparison of the responses. Table 1: Raw Data Experimental Group Old Man Rat Other Unknown 1 12 6 2 0 Experimental Group 2 7 12 0 1 Control Group 15 4 0 1

Based on the raw data presented in Table 1 we can see that generally, the participants saw the Old Man more than they saw the Rat in a neutral image circumstance. This differs from past experiments and the believed reason is because the image was slightly rotated and therefore invoked the participants to see the Old Man rather than the Rat. The experiment did show slight manipulation since each experimental group had a few more people who responded the desired way. Although some manipulation is shown in this data, it is not enough to be statistically significant and prove our hypothesis to be correct. In the table below, Table 2, I have found the mean, median, mode, and range using the following values; Old Man=1, Rat=2, Other=3, and Unknown=4.

Table 2: Mean, Median, Mode, and Range of Data Group Experimental Group 1 Experimental Group 2 Mean 1.50 1.75 Median 1.0 2.0 Mode 1.0 2.0 Range 2.0 3.0

Control Group

1.35

1.0

1.0

3.0

Table 2 shows the mean for the control group to be 1.35, which as the raw data also shows, reveals the control group favored the Old Man response as opposed to the Rat choice. This was most likely caused by the slight rotation of the ambiguous figure. In this table we can see how similar the control group was to experimental group 1. Table 3: Standard Deviation Experimental Group 1 0.69669 Experimental Group 2 0.71635 Control Group 0.74516

In the table above, Table 3, the standard deviations for each group is provided.

Analysis
The results of the experiment are slightly suggestive that our hypothesis may be true, but the evidence is not statistically significant enough to fully support the hypothesis and therefore it is rejected. Generally we were able to slightly manipulate the participants responses to the point where they gave the desired response 60% of the time. This seems low since in the control group, 75% saw the old man without any manipulation toward one response or another. The results did not have as high a correlation as that or statistically significant data, therefore we have found that our results do not support Bugelski's and Alampay's hypothesis.

Discussion
We conducted the experiment that was first created by Bugelski and Alampay in 1961. Our hope was to find evidence that supported their hypothesis, but it seems that the data collected was not statistically

significant. It appears that we were able to manipulate the perception of the participants in some way, but we never had more than 60% of the participants respond the favored way, with the exception of the control group who 75% of saw the old man. There are many variables that may have interfered with the desired outcome. Also, we can only learn so much about perception from this type of experiment since it is not in a 'real world' circumstance. For example, the data may be more accurate if instead of giving each participant an answer sheet with choices listed, we instead asked them to write what the image most resembled to them on a blank sheet of paper. This may cause more people to answer in the other or unknown category, but since the participants will not know what they are supposed to see, it will be much more accurate. Another main point that affected this experiment was the shifting of the ambiguous figure. The slight rotating of the image to the right has caused more participants to see the Old Man instead of the Rat. Because of this, one would suspect the old man responses for experimental group 1 would be higher than the responses for the rat in experimental group 2. Curiously enough, both of these had the exact same percentage. One other problem with this experiment was the emphasis on the last image, it seemed like there was too much pressure put on the ambiguous figure before the participants were even able to see it. Instead, an answer sheet should have been created which contained options for every image. If this was done, the participant would be more likely to place it in the same category as the other images. The ambiguous figure also stood out against the other images since the sets seemed distorted by size and not sketched in the same style as the ambiguous image. The ambiguous figure seemed misplaces alongside the sets that were viewed previously. In conclusion, we may have been able to slightly manipulate perception, but not in a way which yielded statistically significant results.

Therefore we must reject the originally hypothesis created by Bugelski and Alampay, in which case the null hypothesis is correct.

References
Bugelski, B.R., & Alampay, D.A. (1961). The Role Of Frequency in Developing Perceptual Sets. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 205-211 Kalat, J.W. (2002). Introduction to Psychology. Pacific Grove, CA: Wadsworth Group. McLeod, S.A. (n.d.). Simply psychology . Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/index.html

Contents
Appendix A: Participant Consent Form...................................................................................... 12 Appendix B: Instructions........................................................................................................ .............. 13 Appendix C: Experimental Group One: Human Prompts............................................... 14 Appendix D: Experimental Group Two: Animal Prompts................................................ 19 Appendix E: Control Group: Neutral Prompts...................................................................... 24 Appendix F: Answer Sheet................................................................................................................ 29 Appendix G: Debriefing.......................................................................................................... .............. 30 Appendix H: Raw Data................................................................................................................... ..... 31