Expectation and Perspective Rhea sachdeva

Group members: Keely Ash, Nina Rao

Start and end date: 1/31/17-2/8/17

WOK Badge: Sense Perception

Journal 2/1/17

I learned a lot about sense perception and the difference between sensation and interpretation. I found the optical illusions highly interesting as I was always particularly interested in them, even as a young child. I also found the different types of interpretation like common-sense perception and phenomenalism to be kind of amusing, because it a view that not many people currently have. I know for the next TOK class I need to bring my textbook and make sure my computer is charged.

Journal 2/3/17

At first we weren’t sure what to do for our project. Sense perception is a very broad topic and there are so many ways one could go about making a project for it. We all liked the idea of a creative and artistic project, especially one related to optical illusions. We wondered how to create a new optical illusion or how we would journal it. In the end we decided on a Rorschach Test-like project. We decided to use paint or ink from the art room to create multiple blots of pictures. After creating multiple different colors and types of pictures, we would ask students in a study hall (so we won’t disturb classes) what picture they see. Since the pictures are ambiguous, most people would have different reactions. We would then document the reactions and show the pictures to the class.

I strengthened my knowledge on sense perception today. We went over the different viewpoints such as common-sense perception and phenomenalism. I enjoyed learning about the differences between sensation and interpretation. Thankfully we had a good class review, so I was able to pass the quiz on my first try with a perfect score. I’m glad he gave us time afterwards to work on our project, because we decided what we need to do for our project. Since out project is due next week, I know we need to paint and interview people beforehand.

Journal 2/6/17

We have a good idea of what we need to do for our project. Today we need to go to the art room and finish making the poster. Then we must take the finished product and ask people what they see when they see the colorful art piece. We will take multiple pictures and record what people have said. This describes the sensation and interpretation as while most people are gathering the same sensation from the poster, they are interpreting it in different and unique ways.

I learned how to tighten the question to make it more specific and have it relate to our project more. We finished a finalized a plan and created an official outline of what we need to do. We decided to focus on how expectations alter our interpretation, by creating an inkblot of an alien. How question would be how expectations alter our perspectives, which is something we can largely elaborate about. We plan to talk to two groups and confer with them, asking them what they saw. The difference between the groups, however, would be that for one group we would give them the background knowledge that this is an alien and ask them if they see it, but the other group will have to guess what it is without any prior knowledge. Our next plans are to finish the inkblot and interview people in the study hall, as well as document our findings.


I read the elective readings from Moby Dick about the whale’s perspective. Its eyes are on the sides of its head, so its viewpoint is completely different from any humans. While a human can see things in one big picture since both of their eyes are in the front of the head, a whale is hindered because of its different view. This means that the whale has to see two different windows of the world and put them together. Its brain has to compile two different views on how it sees the world. With such a different view of the world there are so many different perspectives the whale must interpret at one time. I found this article to be very interesting because I never considered how the placement of the eyes would make people have such a different view of the world.This opened my mind on how the animals must have an entirely creative and different point of view and I’m glad I read this article.


My goal for the project is mainly to convince the class that expectations highly alter our perception of the world. Through our inkblot test and our data, we will be able to talk about how the participants would see different things if they weren’t given an expectation to see. However, when we tell the participants that our inkblot is supposed to look like an old man, they often replied that it does. The different emotions elicited through different expectations was obviously present as well, because they felt differently when they were given an expectation. So my goal for the project is to convince people that expectations play a vital role in our viewpoint.

I think our project and presentation went pretty well. We didn’t go over time or under time which was good because I was worried about that. However we finished our presentation in the correct time range and Mr. Morrison asked us questions afterwards that brought us to a little over time, but since our main project was already done I think that doesn’t take away points. The audience also participated in the hypothesized way so everything went according to how we planned it to go. We were also able to convince our class of our main point, which was good. Overall it was a good project with a lot of interesting data.


Overall, the sense perception project was an incredibly fun and mind-opening experience. I absolutely loved learning about optical illusions and the way we observe and learn. It broadened my perspective on how our senses shape the world around us. I also liked discovering how different perspectives are even for something us universal as a human's five senses. The project also provided us with results that supported what we expected- that people's interpretations will change depending on their expectations. The project was a really fun experience and I know the topic is something I will remember in the years to come. Overall sense perception was a topic that taught me of the many ways and variables related to our senses, as well as how it differs. I absolutely loved learning about it.

Essential questions:

How reliable our senses?

How can expectations influence our perspectives?

To what degree do our expectations change what we observe with our senses?

Extension proposal: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/how-does-expectation-affect-perception. This resource goes very in depth to studies relating to expectation and perception. It descriptively describes the reasons and definitions of expectation and perception. Not to mention its in depth analytical description for how it works in the brain. For another question, I propose that we ask ourselves, "How do much are our mental processes altered once given an expectation?".

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Rhea Sachdeva

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