The experiment took place in order to investigate the effects of previous events on perception, in this case it was seeing a picture which was either a group of animals or a group of people and then later when shown a picture participants had to describe what they had perceived. The null hypothesis for this experiment is that there will be no correlation between the pictures that the participants were originally given and the way in which they perceived the second image. The alternative hypothesis however is that there will be a difference depending on which images were seen by the participants. The first is where the perceiver has certain expectations, in this case due to the image already seen and therefore will focus their attention on particular aspects of sensory data. He calls this the selector. The second part is where the perceiver knows how to classify name and interpret certain data and therefore know what to draw from it, he calls this the perceiver.
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Perceptual set theory stresses the idea of perception as an active process involving selection, inference and interpretation. The concept of perceptual set is important to the active process of perception. Allport defined perceptual set as:.
Perceptual set is a tendency to perceive or notice some aspects of the available sensory data and ignore others. According to Vernon, perceptual set works in two ways:.
This she calls an 'Interpreter'. It has been found that a number of variables, or factors, influence perceptual set, and set in turn influences perception. The factors include:. The physical stimulus '13' is the same in each case but is perceived differently because of the influence of the context in which it appears.
For example:. Participants were shown either a series of animal pictures or neutral pictures prior to exposure to the ambiguous picture. They found participants were significantly more likely to perceive the ambiguous picture as a rat if they had had prior exposure to animal pictures. Participants were more likely to interpret the pictures as something to do with food if they had been deprived of food for a longer period of time.
This effect did not occur with non-food pictures. Participants were repeatedly presented with geometric figures, but at levels of exposure too brief to permit recognition. Then, on each of a series of test trials, participants were presented a pair of geometric forms, one of which had previously been presented and one of which was brand new.
For each pair, participants had to answer two questions: a Which of the 2 had previously been presented? A recognition test ; and b Which of the two was most attractive? A feeling test. The hypothesis for this study was based on a well-known finding that the more we are exposed to a stimulus, the more familiar we become with it and the more we like it. Results showed no discrimination on the recognition test - they were completely unable to tell old forms from new ones, but participants could discriminate on the feeling test, as they consistently favored old forms over new ones.
Thus information that is unavailable for conscious recognition seems to be available to an unconscious system that is linked to affect and emotion. Elephant drawing split-view and top-view perspective. The split elephant drawing was generally preferred by African children and adults. His findings suggest that perceiving perspective in drawings is in fact a specific cultural skill, which is learned rather than automatic.
He found people from several cultures prefer drawings which don't show perspective, but instead are split so as to show both sides of an object at the same time. In one study he found a fairly consistent preference among African children and adults for split-type drawings over perspective-drawings. Split type drawings show all the important features of an object which could not normally be seen at once from that perspective.
Perspective drawings give just one view of an object. Deregowski argued that this split-style representation is universal and is found in European children before they are taught differently. Such cues are important because they convey information about the spatial relationships among the objects in pictures.
A person using depth cues will extract a different meaning from a picture than a person not using such cues. Hudson tested pictorial depth perception by showing participants a picture like the one below. A correct interpretation is that the hunter is trying to spear the antelope, which is nearer to him than the elephant.
An incorrect interpretation is that the elephant is nearer and about to be speared. The picture contains two depth cues: overlapping objects and known size of objects. Questions were asked in the participants native language such as:. The results indicted that both children and adults found it difficult to perceive depth in the pictures.
The cross-cultural studies seem to indicate that history and culture play an important part in how we perceive our environment. Perceptual set is concerned with the active nature of perceptual processes and clearly there may be a difference cross-culturally in the kinds of factors that affect perceptual set and the nature of the effect.
Allport, F. Theories of perception and the concept of structure. New York: Wiley. Bruner, J. Perceptual identification and perceptual organisation, Journal of General Psychology Bugelski, B.
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Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied , 2, Vernon, M. The functions of schemata in perceiving. Psychological Review , Vol 62 3.
McLeod, S. Perceptual set. Simply Psychology. Toggle navigation. Information Processing Perceptual Set What do visual illusions teach us? Back to top.