Thoughts from Sensation and Perception
Who would have thought that sensation and perception could be a Psychology class? I took the class this semester because I was curious about how brain perception could possibly relate to Psychology.. and surprisingly, I learned so much!
soo.. Sensation and Perception is basically the way our brain interprets stimuli from our 5 basic senses (touch, smell, taste, sights and sounds)…. it sounds really boring but turned out to be a really neat. Dr Yandell specializes in this information, and while some of it is a bit dry, he is witty and provides really interesting examples in class. (like asking us to taste candy with our eyes closed and nose plugged shut to see if it tastes differently!) I learned more than i ever wanted to know about the functions of the ear, how we perceived spoken speech, what parts of the brain light up when you look at different stimuli, and also how babies senses are tested to understand how their perceptual experiences compare to those of adults…oh and colors!!! we totally learned so much about how our eyes and brains interpret color, the different types of color blindness, and how
okay..well that was a less than exciting overview of a really good class. It’s a ton of information, and I could write a book about everything I’ve learned this semester..but anyways.. on to the fun things I did with research this semester in my Sensation class
For our research project this semester we chose to study distance perception and its effect on desirability. Okay, i know that probably just sounded like a foreign language, so let me explain for a brief sec and then I’ll talk more about our study. It was probably the least complicated study i’ve ever done, which can be both good and bad.
So, after doing some preliminary research my research group learned that objects that are seen as desirable are often perceived as closer in distance. think about it.. you’re out running on a hot day and you suddenly realize that you’re really thirsty. As you pass by some people sitting on their front porch they ask you if you’d like something to drink. you look up and see the bottle of water. Does it appear to be closer because you’re really thirsty? This is where our study starts..
To connect this idea to something relevant in our society, we chose to look at desirability of hygiene products. In a time where there is high emphasis on physical beauty and attraction, we thought it would be interesting to see how people relate to hygiene objects..
So what we did.. We found some fun pictures on the internet of hygiene products and pics of people with both good and bad hygiene products.. WARNING: SOME OF THE PICTURES SHOWN ARE KINDA GROSS!!
These were our negative photos
These are our positive photos
Do the the negative pictures make you want to go brush your teeth or put on more deodorant!? thats what we hoped for!
So what our participants did:
-filled out a consent/demographic form
-filled out a hygiene quiz (asking questions about how often they brush their teeth, shower, etc)
-we showed them pictures of these images and then placed each image associated with the picture (toothbrush, deodorant, hairbrush, lotion) 4 feet away and asked the person to look at the pictures and then rate how desirable the object was (if the picture was negative, the object should have been more desirable)
-then participants had to write down how far away the object was from them (in inches)
We believed that people that rated the objects as highly desirable would rate the objects as closer to them (in inches) and the opposite for negative images. Our results really weren’t conclusive.. we didn’t find a big difference between desirability of the positive and negative images, and we also didnt find a big difference between distance perception of the objects associated with positive and negative images.
Sounds pretty complicated, but it honestly only took us about 5 minutes for each participant.
That was a long-winded yet relatively non-detailed explanation of the research i just completed.. If anyone wants to ask questions i’m more than happy to answer them..
future posts will hopefully be more interesting. We want you, as readers, to get an idea of the what undergraduate research is really like.. it can be extremely frustrating at times (when you’re swamped with paperwork, or when your results don’t come out significantly, or when you’re trying to analyze results and write a paper at the same time!!) while research isn’t my favorite part, its extremely rewarding and gives psych students a chance to explore something you’re interesting in.. never be afraid to get involved in research!!