Inkblot Tests (Jan.31-Feb.8 2017) WOK Sense Perception By: Keely Ash, Nina Rao, & Rhea Sachdeva

Original Question: How does shared knowledge affect a person’s interpretation?

Revised Question (on Tok Badge Doc): To what degree are our sense perceptions shaped by expectations?

Inkblot Testing & Results

We used this inkblot test for our "experiment." We made it from hand in the first floor art room during a free period. During one of the lunches we asked a handful of students what they saw. We split them into two groups one was the control group and the other was the experimental. In the control group we asked what they saw in the inkblot, nothing more nothing less. In the experimental group, before we showed them the image we said that there was a old man with a moustache in the inkblot. We then revealed the inkblot and asked them if they could see it. Almost everyone in the experimental group said that they could also see the man and they didn't offer any other thoughts on what was contained in the inkblot. However, the students in the control group offered a range of different answers from horses fighter to seals on a rock. This confirmed our thoughts that once given an expectation of what was in the inkblot the experimental group would notice the man more times than in the control group.

Control Group:

Experiemental Group:

Journalling - Keely


Today we read the Sense-Perception chapter in the Theory of Knowledge textbook. In this chapter it talked about what sense-perception is and how it can affect our day-to-day life. An interesting thing that I learned today was that there is a condition called Synaesthesia. This condition causes the blending of senses in someone, for instance, you can see sound or taste words. This was really confusing and intriguing to me as it is such a strange concept. For next class I need to remember to bring my Theory of Knowledge textbook.


So far today, we took a quiz on sense perception so we could start our sense perception project to get our badge. I thought I would have to retake the quiz but thankfully I didn’t have to. I got an 8/10. I got stuck on a question that was about optical illusions one of the possible answers was visual agnosia, which I’ve never heard of before. After the quiz, I searched it up and apparently it is a condition in which a person can see but cannot recognize or interpret visual information. We haven’t yet decided on what to do for our project. We are kind of confused on what type of project we are expected to do, but we’ll figure it out. However, I think we’ll narrow down an idea.


We sort of know what we are doing now. We have decided that we want to explore optical illusions and how people perceive them. We need to figure out what kind of format we are going to do. For instance, we have been discussing about making some kind of inkblot/optical illusions to show people and ask them what they see. However, need to figure out how to present it. Other than that, we all strengthened our knowledge on sense perception. Our group looked over different perspectives, such as common-sense perception and phenomenalism.


Today I learnt various ways to make inkblots. Today we planned on what questions we would ask the participants, we also planned on what our inkblot will look like. For instance, we figured out that we wanted it to look sort of science fiction-y like an alien. We planned on separating the participants into two groups the control group and the experimental group. In the control group we won’t tell/ask them anything other than what do you see? For the experimental group we will tell the what the inkblot looks like. Doing this will answer our question of to what degree are our sense perceptions shaped by expectations? We need to finish making our inkblots and interviewing the participants. During lunch today, I will make about two inkblot tests and we will use the better looking test. I will let it dry and tomorrow we will start asking the questions.

2/6/17 (Required/Elective Readings)

I have watched to "How Can Going Blind Give You Vision?" by Isaac Lidsky, which was a TED talk. Before reading this I read the Theory of Knowledge chapter five. The chapter I read from the ToK texbook really framed what I was watching from the TED talk. The ToK chapter talked about Sense Perception and how that was one of the ways of knowing. I found the TED talk was really interesting. Lidsky lost his sight in his mid- twenties. He talks about how people think they're "right", even if they're not, and how others are "wrong", even if they're not. I found it really interesting to hear his perspective on how others see the world. The next perscribed reading I read was the radio lab, Why Isn't the Sky Blue?. To be honest, at first I thought it was really boring because they started talking about some guy who was really into Homer. However, it started getting really interesting when they started talking about how the Odessy uses colour. Apparently, "black" appeared about 170 times in the books, and white appeared about 100 times. Red appeared about 13 times. Yellow appeared under 10 times. Green also under 10. And blue appeared no where! Homer doesn't use blue in any of his books. Gladstone, the weird guy, thought Homer was color blind and the rest of the greeks were color blind. Since, all of the greek books had strange uses of color (eg. violet hair). Gladstone had a theory that all greeks were blind with a touch of red. He thought that each generation going on gained more sense of color. Anyways, I found it really interesting and I'll definitely research a bit more on this topic in my own time.


I think our presentation went quite well. Everyone seemed interested, at least I hope they were. I really liked the “Young Lambs” presentation, theirs was about taste and how expectations interfere with our sense perceptions. They did this by making three different coloured pancakes and telling the participants that each of them tasted differently. It was really intriguing because they put up a table of how the participants said they tasted differently and you can view how people’s senses, mainly taste, is affected by expectations. The other one I liked was Ayman’s group’s presentations. Theirs had to do with race, and identifying people from other races and how police line-ups aren’t always accurate. This experiment was interesting to me because you can use it for the world and how people view others.


Throughout the course of this project I have ran into many knowledge questions, how can we know if our senses are reliable, what is the role of expectation in sense perception, and to what extent do you agree with "all knowledge begins with sense perception"? However, only one was really vital to our presentation. What is the role of expectation in sense perception? This ended up being our main question that was the drive for our project. We came up with an answer that expectation plays a vital role in sense perception. That once given an expectation of soemthing people ended up becoming much more narrow minded.

Extension Proposal:

This past weekend I have been looking up articles and videos on Sense Perception as one of the ways of knowing. I found an article Expectation Both Helps and Hinders Object Perception. This directly connected towards our experiment on how previous expectations affect peoples perception (when looking at inkblots). It was really interesting and I think this article should really be included in the elective titles. It gives an exxplanation for both sides of the coin, and gives you the opportunity to truly think and make up your own idea upon your thoughts.

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Keely ASH

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