Sense perception Katya Herbert

To what extent can we trust our sense of touch?

To what extent is our understanding of the world shaped by our sense perception?

Project Documentation:

Background: For our project, we wanted to determine to what extent we can trust our sense of touch and to what extent our understanding of the world is shaped by our sense perception? We wanted to see how we could rely on our sense of touching and how reliable it really was. Our thesis for this project was that the lack of vision will cause the subjects to have different interpretations of the object they are touching due to a modification in their sense perception. This therefore leads us to hypothesize that to large extent, a person CANNOT solely trust their sense of touch.

Experiment: To carry out this experiment we blindfolded half of the class to remove there sense of sight. The students into groups of 4 and one group of 3 and they could choose whether they wanted object A or B. Everyone except for the participants left the room. After 15 seconds, the participants would go outside and tell the moderator what they think the object is.


Results in Connection to Badge: Each person had either a relativey similar perspective or a different idea as to what their idea was. Each persons knowers perspective if differed with people had the blindfold, they came about a conclusion of the object in a different manner since their version of reality (perspective) was different from the people who were no blindfolded. There is no one way of perceiving something. A limitation of investigating was that although ur group dictated that the "reality" was bowl of oily spaghetti; if any of us ere blind or had some other difference in perception, then our reality would be different. In this case, the senses of touch and vision were key factors in our experiment; when people didn’t see the object, they perceived it as something else. Therefore emphasizing that we cannot always rely on our sense of touch. The acquisition of knowledge occurs in many different ways, as observed in the experiment, and therefore, some knowledge can be thought of as subjective. In conclusion, to a certain extent touch cannot be trusted. There is no clear cut answer as to how trustworthy it is, but from this investigation it is apparent that it does play some role in absorbing information and analyzing it.

Progress Journals:

  • Katya Herbert
  • Preeti Iyengar, Divya Rath, Harry Le
  • Date: January 30th - February 7th 2017
  • WOK Badge: Sense Perception
  • Tactile Senses: How It Shapes Our View of the World

2/01/2017: I was absent from class this day therefore unable to complete a journal. However, I caught up with my group members to make sure I was on track.

2/03/2017: We learned that our question that we had focused our experiment around wasn’t an actual knowledge question. Our problem is that we can’t seem to make our question more specific. Our current question: how does vision affect sensory perception, was not a good enough question. Through the class we managed narrow our question down to: To what extent is our understanding of the world shaped by the presence of the sense of vision? Our problem also seems to complicated, so to narrow the question down we could make the problem simpler. For example, only focusing on one sense instead of two.

After Presentation Summary and Reflective Journal: I think that this project was a new and interesting way of learning. It was a project that you had to be very independent on. At the beginning of the chapter, we began with reading the chapter by ourselves and learning everything and then taking a quiz for it. This is a very different style of teaching that what I am usually used to so I didn't completely enjoey it. After the quiz, the project became a very group-oriented one. We had to greatly rely on our group member to contribute and put in the time and effort, which meant if someone wasn't trying, the project would be very difficult. It was difficult for us to formulate a question at first but after we had worked through things the project was fairly easy to complete. I would probably prefer a different learning style however it was an effective way of learning about sense perception.

Elective Reading:

Isaac Lidsky lost his sight at age 25 and during this TED Talk he talks about how it was a blessing. He talks about how losing his sight taught him to be in control of his reality and mentions that "you are the creator of your reality" which in my opinion, is something that is quite debatable. One can say that reality is the ultimate idea of truth, but if everyone has a different reality, then what exactly is truth? While watching this TED Talk I realized that our mind and perception is greatly shaped by previous experiences. Lindsey says "What you see can impact how you feel, and how you feel can literally impact what you see." I think that this is true. He states that what we see is not universal, rather it's our own unique and personal view.

This piece of writing is an excerpt from the book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a book by Annie Dillard. In my opinion, the excerpt is very well written. The author uses a lot of her sense of sight to clearly depict what she is seeing. Every aspect is written in such great details that it becomes easy to imagine that you are there yourself. Dillard also mentions that "[she] closes her eyes and [she] sees stars at the crown of an infinite cone". Dillard is describing what she sees despite not using her sense of sight. While reading this, it made me realize how little we really pay attention to our surroundings and the details in our lives. During the class activity, I tried to really pay attention to my surroundings, the tiny details on everything around me, allowing me to fully absorb everything around me.

Extension proposal:

As this was a project about sense perception, a great deal of the discussions were about whether or not we can trust our senses and how many senses we really have. We talked about the 5 basic senses, taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch, however we also discussed the possibility of there being more than just those 5. The complexity of this discussion really engaged me and made me really think about what we really feel. I chose this TED Talk as an extension proposal because it continues the discussion on whether we have more senses and if we are able to create new ones. David Eagleman talks about how "pie experience of reality is contained by our biology" and I think that that is true. We are only able to perceive the world through our god given senses and it greatly limits us. Eagleman's research into our brain processes and cognitive functions led him to create new interfaces. He talks about how with these inventions, like a sensory vest, we are able to take our senses to the next level. How, with this, we are able to further understand the world around us.

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