WOK Badge: Sense Perception Sarah Sharf-Aldin

What is the value in using our senses in unison?

Project Documentation:

Project Background: For our project, we wanted to test how reliable our senses are in unison. We really wanted to explore how much our senses depend on each other. In order to this, we decided to ask students within our school to be blind-folded and try to guess the substance that we decided on, which was chocolate chip cookie dough, using the assigned sense or senses.

Presentation/Findings: When performing our project, we found that the easiest way to present our project is through videoing each subject and creating a collaborative video. Through our experiment, we found that while singular senses can give you context, you aren’t able to see the entire picture without using all of your senses. When you experience multiple sensations, your interpretation is more complex and you are able to filter between various beings and entities. Senses are dependent on each other, they are a network.

Progress Journal:

  • Sarah Sharf-Aldin
  • Cayla Amparan, Jamie Brewton, Antoine Clocher
  • Date: January 30th - February 7th 2017
  • Badge Title: WOK Badge: Sense Perception
  • Dough-n't You Need All Your Senses

1/30/2017: Today, I was able to fully understand the true meaning of sense perception. I learned that sense perception is a way of gaining knowledge of the outside world. I found a concept that I learned to day very interesting. It was thought that perception is gained by the use of out five senses. Little do we realize that our senses must have to have background knowledge in order to work to their fullest ability. Sometimes, our perception supplies the content of our experiences to how perceive the world.

2/01/2017 (Beginning of Class): We came to an agreement fairly quick, as we started with an idea to replicate an ASMR video. We realized that it is a way to appeal to almost all of the five senses and can be easily related to TOK and sense perception. We somewhat have a plan, but it is definitely still developing. We are trying to create a presentation that allows the class to use their five senses to guess an object. We are still working on choosing something to guess, but we seem to be on the right track.

2/01/2017 (End of Class): Today, I learned about ASMR videos. I didn’t know they existed and now I am really into them and learning about them. We had so many ideas jumping around, trying to make this a project that could apply to sense perception. We began by thinking that we should put an egg yolk in a cup and have a blind folded person use their senses one by one and decide what the egg yolk is. Now we have an idea of using raw cookie dough instead of an egg yolk because we would like to have the guesser apply their sense of taste. There are so many paths that this project could take and it been a great pleasure working with the people in my group.

2/03/2017 (Beginning of Class): We pretty much have our idea and our project done. Today, I think that it is very important that we just finalize who is going to do what and who is going to bring what. Also, we must finalize how the experiment is going to run and what we are going to say during our presentation. I think our primary goal for today is to just create a presentation plan.

2/03/2017 (End of Class): We pretty much have our project done. Today, we planned and know what we need to do. We have decided who will speak the script and how we are going to record the video. We also need to go and pick up the ingredients for the cookie dough, like sugar, flour, chocolate chips, and more. We also decided on our recording date and when we are going to perform our experiment to gain our data.Although, we did have times where we wanted to change our project, but we came to agreement that we should just stick with our initial idea. Overall, I think we did a very great job in planning and adding to our Google Doc.

2/07/2017: For today’s expectations of the project, I feel as if they are fairly high. I think that we have had more than enough time to work on these projects and I know that there are so many creative people and minds in my class. I feel as if there are so many ways to express the idea of sense perception and it is so easy to get very creative with it. Our expectations for our presentation are also fairly high. We did majority of our project outside of class, so it is just a matter of explaining it today in class. I think that it will run fairly smoothly as I know we have invested a great amount of time outside of class to prepare for this project. One personal goal for myself today is to compare the ideas of other students to ours. I want to understand their perspective and how they reached the project they did.

Summary and Reflective Journal: Overall, I think that this was a great project that ran pretty smoothly. The project was very beneficial to trying to learn and understand the Way of Knowledge of sense perception. We started off reading a chapter and trying to understand vocabulary terms to ending with a fantastic video that provided a great insight on our knowledge question and the concept of sense perception. At the beginning of this project, there was a lot of independence as one had to read and understand the chapter. Your group members were always there for support or any questions, but I felt as if you got out as much as you put in trying to understand the chapter. After taking the quiz, the project became very revolved around working as a group. After discovering and watching many ASMR videos, I think within my group we had our minds set on what we wanted to do. It became a matter of formulating and editing the experiment to where it provides us with the data that we are looking for. The biggest problem that I think we had was choosing an ingredient that is suitable to be used to test all five senses. Once we made that choice, the project continued to go uphill. I feel as if everyone in the group made a great contribution and that the project was very successful. This project made me realize on how dependent our senses are on each other. When they all come together, they are able to put all the puzzle pieces together and create one magnificent picture. Also, this project also allows one to be grateful for all 5 of their sense. Many people are unfortunately not capable of having one or more of their senses. It allows them to see the picture that they see and understand that having all 5 senses is a blessing. This project was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, not only about sense perception, but also about planning and working within a group.

Elective Readings

Isaac Lidsky lost his sight at age 25 and speaks about how it was a blessing. He mentions that losing his eyesight taught him that he is in control of his own reality. While watching this TED Talk, I realized that our mind shapes and edits our perception based on prior knowledge that it has stored. Sight is an illusion. Your brain creates the experience of sight, our brain references our conceptual knowledge of the world and even our emotions. Lidsky directly quotes, "What you see can impact how you feel, and how you feel can literally impact what you see." Isaac states that what we see is not the universal truth or objective reality, but rather what we see is a unique, personal, virtual reality that is constructed by our brain. We see what we want to see, rather than what we actually see. He specifically states that, "You create your own reality and you believe it." Losing his eyesight, Isaac's brain is unable to impact his reality, Isaac is in charge of his reality based on the use of his other senses. Issac is able to see the world at its actual state without the impact of his brain.

David Linden, who is a a professor in the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, thinks that of the five senses, touch is the most disregarded, but believes that it is the most important for promoting psychological health. To be human is to be emotional and to be able to feel things. Direct scientific proof is not required as this can be noticed through our common expressions that we use everyday: "I feel..." and "I am touched by...". Through this Ted Talk, I was able to understand the necessity of being touched and how it is so important for humans to be touched, especially at a young age. Linden specifically mentioned an example of orphanages in Romania during the Ceausescu regime in the 1970s and 1980s. The orphanages were very understaffed and their was no one to hug or hold the children leading them to develop attachment disorders, cognitive delays, and many more psychological and health disorders. Touch is a major component of full human development, and it is usually overlooked.

Extension Proposals:

I chose this resource as an external resource because I felt as it relative and would be a great source to add to the existing elective reading list. This source was related to one of the essential questions of this way of knowing,"How can we know if our senses are reliable?" Within this TED Talk, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is ... or as we need it to be? He presents to us examples of how our brain constructs our reality for us. This is similar to another elective reading source that we were provided with. Isaac Lidsky also speaks of how our brain does shapes our perception based on prior knowledge that it has stored. I think that this is a more beneficial elective reading as the speaker provides interactive examples and points out how your brain creates its own reality for you. It allows the one who's watching to really notice and explore whether their sense of sight really is reliable or not.

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