WOK: Sense Perception Valeria espinosa

Valeria Espinosa

Alex Lu, Mack Hutsell, Paschalis Economou

Jan 31-Feb 9, 2017”

“WOK Badge: Sense Perception”

Expectations and its Effect on Sense Perception

Our Question: To what degree are sense perceptions altered by our expectations?

January 31, 2017

Today we were introduced to how the badge system would work. I think it's extremely interesting and in this way we will learn more about the WOK's and AOK's. I feel like this system will allows us to be more hands-on and based on experience the more I am involved, the more I understand. Our first WOK is Sense perception. Today in class I read most of the chapter and I feel like one of the topics that stood out to me the most is change blindness. Since our perception is identified as being selective we tend to not notice obvious changes in our environment and surroundings. We only focus on what we seem to be interested in or what seems to catch our attention. Another subtopic that I am interested in this chapter is perceptual illusions. I think it's quite interesting how perception can be divided into two elements which is sensation and interpretation. I feel like this WOK is going to be extremely interesting and I can't wait to start on my presentation.

February 1, 2017

I was not in class because I was sick.

February 3, 2017


Primary Aim: Our project will be an altered version on the McGurk effect. The McGurk effect can be found in the TOK textbook. Mack, Alex, Paschalis, and I started our project with the question, "To what degree are sense perceptions altered by our expectations?" Our questions was based on "What is the role of expectation or theory in sense perception?" Our aim was to show how our sense perception can be altered to a high degree because of different sense biases we hold. We will test this idea by using a Kahoot to show how our sense perception are not always reliable/accurate as our sense often confuse each other. The way we use our Kahoot to test this idea will be explained below.

What did you do today/What did you accomplish today?

Since I wasn't here last class I had to take the quiz on Sense Perception. After I took my quiz I went and got together with my group (Alex, Mack, and Paschalis). They started a bit on the project last class so at first I was extremely confused, but then they explained everything and got me back on track. We discussed how our presentation will be an altered version of the McGurk effect, which I really enjoyed since I was extremely interested about this effect. We spent about 5 minutes trying to figure out what our essential question would be, and we came up with, "“To what degree are sense perceptions altered by our expectations?" We then hypothesized that Sense Perceptions were easily altered by expectations. Since our presenation was an alteration of the McGurk effect we spent most of the class period playing around with many different vowel and consonant combinations. We settled on around 11 combinations that were effect most of the time, and we concluded that we would record video clips of Paschalis saying these sounds in order to test our hypothesis. For example one of our combinations were "Faw" and "Baw". For example Paschalis would be mouthing the word "Faw", while the playback would be of the word "Baw." If we were to hear the word "baw" with our eyes closed, we would most likely realize that the sound "baw" was being made. However when we see the mouth movement of the word "faw" while the sound "baw" is being played, your eyes begin to weigh in, and sometime overrule your eyes. Therefore one will hear the word "faw" when in reality the sound that is playing is the word "baw". This will show how sense perception is unreliable it can be altered by our expectations. We hope to test how we use our previous knowledge to fill the gaps in our surroundings without using too much brain power in order to analyze those sensations.

To prepare for the quiz I just read chapter 5 and highlighted the parts in which I thought was extremely important.
The way I prepared for my quiz really payed of because I did extremely well on my quiz.

What do you need to do to finish?

Today we did finish a huge amount of our TOK presentation. We figured out our presentation and how we would present it so that it's under 7 minutes. We also assigned jobs so that everyone would cooperate and not one person would be doing all the work. We just have to work on our kahoot and also video tape the clips that will be used in the kahoot. Mack and I will have to come up with a script or key points that we will have to say before and after the quiz. The quiz should take around 3-4 so we will have to up with 3-4 minutes worth of talking.

February 7, 2017


what are your goals and aims for today’s presentation/project? (discuss at least your personal goal)

My goal is to further inform people about Sense Perception. I believe that since our presentation is more hands-on (since they will be the ones performing our experiment) people will have a greater understanding our aim on sense perception. I think that our group is extremely prepared. We went over our presentation last night to make sure that it could be presented to be the best of our abilities. The only drawback is that Paschali is not here and we weren't informed until this morning so we had to rearrange our presentation so that we wouldn't miss any significant information. Our aim is to show people how Sense Perception can be altered by expectations. In order words that Sense Perception especially when dealing with several senses (multi-modal sensations), are unreliable and subject to our biases gained through prior experiences. One personal goal is that I have trouble presenting in front of people. I usually like to have like a planned script so that I know what I have to say thought my presentation. For this presentation I want to improvise more and see were my thoughts take me. I know its going to be difficult, but I hope that it turns out well.

AFTER PRESENTATION (Reflection Journal)

I think today's presentation went extremely well. I asked my peers for feedback and they said that it was extremely organized and very informational. I think that our preparation for our presentation was worthwhile. The only thing that didn't go as planned is that since the internet wasn't working as well as it should have, it caused the videos in our Kahoot to buffer multiple times. This caused our presentation to go over seven minutes. Although this happened, we still were able to get our message across and further inform our peers on sense perception. Although Paschalis wasn't there I feel like our presentation ran smoothly. I think that him not being there in a way forced us to work even more as a group which I really enjoyed. I think that this WOK is extremely interesting. I always new that sense perception was important, but I really never understood why. Our presentation which was an altered version on the McGurk effect, showed me that sense perception can easily be altered due to our past experiences. It is incredible how our biases play a large role in the interpretation of the world around us, later affecting our sense perception. Our biases often impact how we perceive the world.

February 9, 2017

Today we went on a field trip and just sat outside to observe our surroundings. In my opinion this was extremely relaxing. I don't remember the last time I have just sat outside to look at the environment. I always find myself doing something and I never have the time to just sit and think about what I am doing. I think that this personally helped me reflect on myself. I learned that it is important to stop and just think. Below are things that I saw and heard during our field trip.

  • I hear birds chirping.
  • I see a silver car glistening in the sunlight.
  • I see a rusty vehicle with a huge bump on its rear end.
  • I see hundreds of acorns which reminds me of Ice Age.
  • I see leaves dancing with the wind.
  • I see trees some with leaves and some without.
  • I see multiple houses painted with a light shade of brown.
  • I see a huge tree infant of me with vibrant leaves and missing branches.
PICTURES THAT REMIND ME OF OUR FIELD TRIP (I did not take these pictures)

3 Knowledge ?'s

Can expectations alter what we perceive using our five senses?

To what extent is eye-witness reliable?To what extent is my sense perception a reliable way of knowing?

To what extent is sense perception a reliable way of knowing?


Please read my journal dated January 3, 2017, in order to see the process in which my group and I went through to make our presentation. Like stated before our presenation was an alteration of the McGurk effect therefore we spent most of one class period playing around with many different vowel and consonant combinations. We settled on around 11 combinations that were effective most of the time, and we concluded that we would record video clips of Paschalis saying these sounds in order to test our hypothesis. Our next task was trying to find out a way in which we could test our experiment. We already knew what we would test and our method but we weren't quite sure on what application or platform we would use to perform our experiment. We had this problem pondering in our heads for a while until one of our group members suggested Kahoot. Below I have showed you the combinations in which we thought were most effective and I have posted the video clips on the Kahoot. After we found the combinations we made a doc regarding who would do what and we also put out script in which we would be presenting on February 7. We worked on the document the weekend before our presentation. On presentation day we just brought our notes and a computer with the Kahoot and we were ready to go. The link to our document is below.

These are the combinations we came up with for our presentation.

Video CLips that are found in Our kahoot


Some of our results in our Kahoot

We took a screenshot of our results after every question in our Kahoot quiz. Based on only 5 of the results one can conclude that our perception can be easily altered by our expectations. If this weren't the case then there would be a smaller probability that an individual would get the wuestion wrong. For example in the first picture 6 out of the 14 people heard the correct sound being made.


"What reality are you creating for yourself?" | Isaac Lidsky

"You create your own reality, and you believe it. I believed mine until it broke apart. The deterioration of my eyes shattered the illusion."

This elective reading was not only informational, but also inspirational. This elective reading was based on one of the subtopics found in the TOK textbook called "Seeing and believing." To this day we believe that sight is the primary sense with which we experience the world. We have always considered the idea that 'seeing is believing', but this elective reading says otherwise. Lidsky had a rare disease in which he slowly lost his eyesight. He himself said that his reality altered as his eyesight deteriorated. The way in which he perceived the world slowly changed as he slowly lost his eyesight. He said ""You create your own reality, and you believe it. I believed mine until it broke apart. The deterioration of my eyes shattered the illusion." This shows us that sight is just one way and sense we use to shape our reality. We use our experiences and our biases to create our own reality. Lidsky then goes on and explain how when he lost his eyessight his illusion and his reality was distorted. He explains how we found out that he would be blind that his life would be over and that he would "live an unremarkable life, small and sad, and likely alone." This fear of being alone and sad distorted his reality. Lidsky basically now perceived his world as being over as he imagine his situation in the worst way possible, this is known as awfulizing. Him believing that he would be lonely and sad was just created by fear and this obviously changed his reality. Lidsky then goes and explains how if he did not confront his reality that was created by fear he would for a fact have lived alone. He believes that one should live life with open eyes, but he himself states that it is difficult to do so. Lidsky believes that we are our own critic, therefore it's important that we hold ourselves accountable for every moment. We need to be able to look beyond our fears, our critics, and anything that can distort our reality. This elective reading taught me that sense perception can be easily altered by our biases, experiences, and fears. This is when need to self-aware of when we let these distortions affect our reality. Once we grasp and understand the idea that we create our reality and because of that at times it's unreliable, we will then be able to distinguish between what's real and what's not.

The Science of Touching and Feeling | David Linden

"The sense of touch is intrinsically emotional."

This TED talk is based on the sense touch. David Linden provides the reader with three important thoughts regarding touch. When Linden started discussing about orphanages and how they were effected by the lack of touch as an infant I thought that it was extremely interesting. He discusses how if one is born with a sense of touch, but they lack or do not receive touch during their infancy, this could lead to serious problems that could unfold throughout their lives. He gave an example how during the Ceausescu regime orphans did not receive any sign of affection like a hug, which caused the, to develop attachment disorders and self-soothing rocking motions. This topic to me was extremely interesting and I think it emphasize the importance of touch in ones life and how if one lacked touch it could possibly lead to internal implications. Another thing that he brought up is how touch is not a unified sensation but it's "created by many different specialized sensors working in parallel." He believed that under our skin there are different nerve endings that are specialized for a touch. He then describes how a Merkel ending which is the "best ending for detecting fine tactile." One of the points that stood out to me is that Linden said "that there is no sensation without emotion." This idea is based on the two systems found in our brain. Whenever one receives information, which in this case could be from our sensors, for example our Merkel endings, this information is divided into our two systems: discriminative system and emotional touch system. The discriminative system basically allows to sense and localize touch, while the emotional touch system basically controls what particular tone goes with each touch. I found it extremely interesting how we can only expericene both sensation and emotion if the two systems are active simultaneously. The last point he discussed, in which I found extremely confusing is that we can only feel sensation when it is experienced by an outside force. Therefore one cannot feel sensation when it is performed/oreiginated from our own emotions. Linden gave an example of how when one tickles themselves we don't feel pay attention to sensation compared to when one tickles us.


Question: How does the structure and arrangement of human sense organs determine what we know as reality?

In the passage it describes the formation of a whales structure starting from it's head to it's eyes and ears. Whales have a very large head with eyes located on the side which would basically be where the ears of a human are located. This makes it impossible for them to see forwards. Now as a human our eyes are not found in the front of out head forming one large image instead of two. We perceive our reality to being one big picture, therefore having two different images seems to be unrealistic to us. One question that was studied in the passage is, does the inability of seeing forwards make the whale less intelligent then a human, or does it make it more intelligent due to the fact that a human cannot focus on two things at a time while the whale can. One thing in which I personally thought of as I was reading this passage is that as human beings we see the world in color, therefore our reality for example could be completely different to a dog's due to the fact that they see in black and white. We don't even have to compare our eyesight to a dog's, we can easily compare it to someone who is color blind. For example one with normal eyesight would see a red apple, but one who is color blind would believe that the red apple is green. Therefore the person who is color blind would believe that the apple being green is their reality, while the person with normal vision would think otherwise. In the passage it also describes the size of the whales ears as "into the hole itself you can hardly insert a quill" meaning that the ear is minuscule. "But if his eyes were broad as the lens of Herschel's great telescope; and his ears capacious as the porches of cathedrals; would that make him any longer of sight, or sharper of hearing?" The answer to that is no, but the perception of man finds it abnormal for an animal that large to have such small features and in their mind having these small features creates a belief that whales don't have a great hearing or vision. I truly believe that the position of our organs and their structure does take a toll on the way in which we perceive the world. Our reality could indeed differ from the reality of a whale.

External Proposal

"when you feed people misinformation about some experience that they may have had, you can distort or contaminate or change their memory. Well out there in the real world, misinformation is everywhere."

Give reasons for adding it to the existing elective reading list.

I have always been extremely infatuated with memory and how it works so the fact that it intertwined with sense perception interested me even more. Elizabeth Loftus is a physiological scientist that studies memory. She first started talking about an eye witness testimony regarding Titus, a restaurant manager, who was mistakenly classified as a rapist. Titus' car was similar to the one of the rapist, therefor the police took a picture of Titus and put it in a photo lineup. This was showed to the victim, and she pointed to Titus' photo saying that "that one's the closest." He was then convicted for rape and taken to jail. Later on Loftus then goes and says how Titus was later pleaded not guilty due to the finding of the actual perpetartor and then released out of jail. Although this video does not completely focus on sense perception it still shows how memory and sense perception overlap each other. In day to day trials, the jury tend to belive that eyewitness testimony is extremely reliable and this evidence can help plead one guilty or innocent. However, it is said that there have been hundreds of cases in which people have been accused of being guilty, when in reality they have been proven to being innocent. Therefore it has been proven that the eye is not just a camera and that one can't just simply replay their visual memory. In reality people have found out that one's memory does not work like a video recorder (in the sense that it records events and then on cue, replays them), on the contrarty they are reconstructed rather than played back. Our memory is basically a puzzle (this idea is explained in the link below)

Furthermore this 'reconstruction' of our memory then creates a sense of doubt as fragments of the memory can be inaccurate as it’s not 'replayed' or inaccurately 'replayed'. This is known as false memories. False memories can be caused when people are feed misinformation about an experience. Therefore we could possible give an inaccurate record of what we have seen. As stated before the reliability of eye-witness testimony is mixture of memory and sense perception.

Exploring Selective Perception

Our perception is selective, therefore one should not completely rely on our sense. We are never consciously aware of everything. As a result we notice somethings and then completely ignore others. When one is in a situation we tend to focus our attention entirely on specify things usually the ones that stand out the most to us. This is based on the figure and ground idea, which is "our natural tendency to focus on certain aspects of what we perceive and treat the rest as background." What we tend notice in an environment is easily impacted/influenced by your interests, emotions, and culture. One of the main subtopics in this section regarding selective perception is change blindness. To me change blindness is extremely interesting. Its the idea that we do not notice obvious changes in our surroundings. In the TOK textbook there is an article that is recommended. I took the time to read it.

An example of change blindness is shown in the article above. Harrison Carlin, a cyclist, was thrown of his bike and killed as he was directly in the path of driver, Daniel Kirk, who was accelerating in a 60 mph zone. This is a clear example of change blindness as Kirk was unaware of the cyclist until it was too late, in others he did not notice an obvious change in his surroundings. He said that he did not notice the boy due to the fact that he was looking in his mirror. This situation suggest that our perception is indeed unreliable due to the fact that it is selective.



Created with images by Kate~2112 - "The Doors of Perception" • GEGENWAeRTs - "acorns" • Christian Cable - "Autumn Leaf at Lancaster Castle" • CarbonNYC [in SF!] - "Leaves Do Cartwheels" • barbbarbbarb - "chirping birds"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.