I have chosen to analyze the scenario about Sensation and Perception, ‘Want to stand out in a crowd? Wear red!” The scenario mainly talked about how a research study proved that the color red is really perceived faster by humans.
The first error that I spotted in the reading is the definition of the Trichromatic Theory. According to the reading, the Trichromatic Theory proposes that our eyes are sensitive to three colors: red, green, and yellow. However, this is incorrect. In page 143 of the textbook, Trichromatic Theory states that we base our color vision on three primary colors – blue, green, and red (Lilienfeld et al., 2014). The third primary color, according to the Trichromatic Theory, is blue not yellow. According to the Trichromatic Theory, the retina has three receptors which are sensitive to the three primary colors – green, blue, and red. Then, these colors can be combined to form the other colors in the spectrum.
The second mistake in the reading is the statement about the location of the rods and cones. According to the reading, the rods and cones are located around the pupil of the eye. However, it is clearly stated in page 141 of the textbook that the rods and cones are located in the retina (Lilienfeld et al., 2014). Rods and cones are photoreceptors in the outermost layer of the retina.
The third mistake is in the reading is the definition for the rods and cones. According to the reading, the rods are responsible for our ability to sense colors while the cones are responsible to seeing at night. The definitions for the rods and cones have been interchanged. In page 141 of the textbook, the rods are defined as the cells which enable us to see in low levels of light (Lilienfeld et al., 2014). It takes approximately 30 minutes for the rods to adapt to the change in light intensity. The rods are long and narrow and more numerous compared to cones. Rods allow us to see basic shapes and forms and allow us to adapt to dark environments. Cones are less in number and are shaped like small cones. The cones are responsible for perceiving color (Lilienfeld et al., 2014). The cones are more sensitive to details and needs more light to function.
Scientific Principle and Pseudoscience Claim
The reading did a good job of following the scientific principle correlation versus causation. Correlation versus causation is basically a principle that states that correlation does not always equate to causation. The fact that two variables, A and B, correlate does not imply a cause and effect relationship. The correlation between A and B can be because A causes B or B causes A or another variable, C, causes A and B. Thus, researchers should be careful in making conclusions about correlated variables. The study described in the reading wanted to determine whether some de-saturated colors can be easily identified when presented with other colors. The participants of the study had to find a specific de-saturated color among other colors on a tablet. The reaction times of the participants were measured by the tablet. The results of the study showed that the reaction times of the participants were fastest for de-saturated red and slowest for de-saturated purple. Now, red and purple are located at the opposite ends of the visible light spectrum. Red has the longest wavelength and violet has the shortest. It is good that the researchers did not conclude that red was easily recognized by the participants because red has the longest wavelength. Instead, the researchers acknowledged that more studies are needed to understand how we perceive colors. The only claim that they made was that red, whether saturated or de-saturated, is indeed more noticeable compared to other colors.
The reading also relied too much on anecdotes. In the last part of the reading, two testimonials were mentioned in relation to the study. Two individuals were asked about their reaction about the results of the study. One individual completely agreed with the results of the study and even shared how wearing red in picture got a lot of positive feedback. The other individual stated that other colors were also effective. It is good that these testimonials were mentioned at the end and it did not affect the results and conclusions of the study. However, the testimonials were still included to influence the readers about the validity of the results of the experiment. If testimonials which are not backed by scientific knowledge are used in research then the results would be biased and hard to verify.
One aspect of the research method that was weak was that the participants were an unrepresentative sample of the population. In the experiment, sample size of the participants was very low. Only twelve participants, who are right handed and are aged 19 to 22, were used in the study. The very low number of participants is not a representative sample of the population. This situation creates bias in the conclusion. Thus, one cannot conclude from the study that the color red is more easily sensed and perceived by everyone. The conclusion can only be like this, the color red is more easily sensed and perceived by individuals aged 19 to 22. The researchers need to increase to sample size by including more participants from different age groups and different backgrounds to make the results of their research more substantial.
Another aspect of the research method that was weak is the validity of the measurements. The researchers failed to discuss if their measuring device is reliable. They did not mention how the tablets were calibrated and how the baseline was established. The participants had to select specific colors and their reaction time was measured. It is possible that some participants can adapt faster than other participants during the baseline practice so their reaction time during the experiment was faster. This would give the results bias. The researchers should develop a proper way of establishing the baseline so that the results of the experiment would be more credible.
Lilienfeld, S.O., Lynn, S.J., Namy, L.L., Woolf, N.J., Cramer, K.M. & Schmaltz, R. (2014). Psychology: From inquiry to understanding. 2nd Canadian edition. Toronto, ON: Pearson.