A Knower's Perception of Color By Navi chawla, Duc Minh, Patrick Smith, and Thomas Vincent

Navi Chawla

Duc, Tom, and Patrick

1-30-17 to 2-9-17

WOK Badge: Sense Perception.

A Knower's Perception of Color

Progress Journal: 1-30-17: The class went over sense perception and how the different sense affect our perception or view of the world. The most interesting thing that we learned was how profound of an effect language had on our perceptions. My group was interested in how since many ancient cultures didn’t have a word for blue, they didn’t perceive it. For example, the Iliad describes the sky as “wine-dark” because they didn’t have the color blue so they perceived it as a shade of red. My group plans on focusing on the effects of language on our perception and sense because it would interesting to further research about it and relate it back to TOK.

2-1-17:The group has decided to do a project on our perception of sight and how it relates to whether our sense are reliable? We will mention on how indigenous tribes see color differently due to differences in their dialects and culture as well as how ancient people did not see the color blue till very late in their development. We will do a powerpoint presentation and have the class take tests relating to colors and how their eyes perceive color. We will include various optical illusions (maybe) to reinforce our main points and to answer our essential question. "To what extent is our sense perception affected by culture?" Because color only exists as it is perceived by an individual, it becomes hard to definitively say what the ancient civilizations did or did not see. Were they really colorblind to it entirely? Or did they merely lack the vocabulary to articulate what it was they were seeing? Or did their brain not bother to view blue as distinct from other colors due to it not being in their language? Researchers are unable to be certain about these questions but they can interview/test indigenous isolated tribes who’ve had virtually no outside interference to test their theories. I found it really interesting that ancient people might not have seen the color blue because of their language/culture not having a word or place for it; I never though that these factors would have such a tremendous influence on one’s sight and color perception.

2-3-17: For my group’s project, we have to make the powerpoint as well as design a few tests that prove/demonstrate our main idea. We have the majority of the research done; therefore, it will be fairly easy to finish in this class period. My group finished all of our planning for our project and what our presentation will contain. We just need to finish everything over the weekend. We’ve got our essential question that we need to answer so the rest of the work should not be hard. Patrick and I will focus on the powerpoint itself while Duc and Tom will do the experiment aspect of it.

2-7-17: My personal goal for today is to learn more about sense perception from the presentations of my fellow classmates. I also hope that my groups presentation will teach my classmates about color and sense perception as well as having them contemplate upon whether color is an illusion.My group wasn’t able to present; however, we still learned a lot such as how the eyewitness testimony can never be true and therefore one can not know anything if one has an empiricistic view of the world. Also, the McGurk effect showed how one cannot be certain that what you sense is correct and therefore how can one be certain about anything in the world.

2-9-17: My group has finished presenting our project and I think that my understanding of the subject has vastly increased from both teaching the information as well as the questions that my fellow classmates asked.

Knowledge Questions: To what extent do our senses give us knowledge of the world as it really is?: To a limited extent, our senses provide us knowledge of the world as it really is. Senses give us knowledge of the world and with this way of knowing, we are able to learn and interpret what is around us. Our senses provide us with only a mental impression that something exists. Our sensations end at the part of the brain where the mental impression and perception becomes the physical reality known by our mind. Senses help us to understand what is going on around us in the present time. Every human receives the same signals from the outside world; what differs is how we interpret this knowledge. Often our interpretations are not correct; therefore the knowledge we gain of the world may also not be entirely true.

Given the somewhat subjective nature of sense perception, how can different knowers ever agree on what is perceived?: No one can be certain that what he/she sees, hears, tastes, and feels is the same as what others do. At some point person questions himself is he seeing it “the right way”. The feeling that the perception is not trustworthy comes from the need to describe the world to others. Communications reveals many weak sides of our ability to fully describe what we experience with our senses. For example, our eyes give us the greatest amount of information about the world, but we hardly can make another person see what we did only by describing the experience. However, many people can agree on certain aspects of the world by getting different perspectives from a multitude of people.

Do people with different cultural or linguistic backgrounds due to their differences in perception live in “different worlds”?: I believe that this is a true to a certain extent. Yes, because we all still live within the same world that, for example, has animals, plants, water, fire, air, etc; we also all receieve the same sensory signals from the outside world. However, we can say that people are living in different worlds as we have different perceptions, opinions, experiences, and so on; therefore, we have a private and unique perspective of our own worlds. People in different cultures may think that certain traditions from other cultural backgrounds are absurd, but the same traditions are commonplace to the other individual.

Elective Reading: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - Annie Dillard: This novel really emphasizes the idea that one's perception of the world ca be significantly different from another's; in the novel, Dillard notices the world in much greater detail and notices seemingly unimportant things that a normal person would gloss over. Similiarly in our project, culture and language makes an individual either not be able to differentiate between certain colors or they give the ability to differentiate between different shades of the same color. Dillard is not in another world. She just is able to notice minute details that most people would not deem important.

Documentation:

Results of Experiment:

Extension Proposal: https://thedoctorweighsin.com/evolution-of-the-color-blue/

This resource is similar to the podcast that Mr. Morrison has given to us to use but it has more information and definitive answers to why ancient civilizations perceived the color blue. Also, it mentions other colors as well which gives it a more well rounded perspective of the phenomenon rather than just focusing on the color blue. It goes more in depth compared to the podcast and therefore I think it will be a useful resource to use to understand sense perception.

An essential question(s) that should be added is "What possibilities for knowledge are opened to us by our senses as they are? What are its limitations?": This is a two part question that is extremely important and should be considered by any student who is learning about sense perception. The primary reason for learning about sense perception is about how it affects our ability to gain knowledge. This question allows us, the students, to contemplate how our senses allow us to obtain new knowledge and reexamine old knowledge. Also, we should ponder upon the limitations of our sense and how it might prevents us from either gain certain types of knowledge or from gaining knowledge that is true. We learned in our presentations that our sense perceptions can often be tricked and there are a multitude of examples where our sense perceptions have changed over time. Furthermore, one's sense perception can be vastly different from another based on culture, prior knowledge, expectations, etc. The limitations of sense perception should be thought about to fully understand how it can be a tool for us to gain knowledge.

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