An Investigation into Perceptual Set

I carried out an experiment to research the idea of perceptual set which is an aspect of the top down principle of perception. I based mostly this experiment on a similar one conducted by Bruner and Minturn in 1955 who tried to show that instant visible and environmental context can impact notion of an ambiguous determine. Their results proved this to be the case and this experiment is used to help the idea of perceptual set.

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In my model of this experiment, I hoped to produce related outcomes to show that previous environmental stimuli have an affect on the perception of following visible data.

The hypothesis of this experiment was: The quick physical context will immediately affect the finest way by which later data is perceived.

I used an experiment as my research method, as contemplating the subject of this investigation it will be probably the most apt, and would permit me to acquire outcomes easier. There was additionally little means by which I might examine this matter using a case research technique.

I also felt that the matched pairs design would be the most applicable because it prevented extraneous variables turning into an issue, similar to gender and age. I used opportunity sampling as my sampling technique, as it was the quickest and best possibility. The sample used was 20 girls ages 16-17 attending a women grammar college in Bexleyheath.

The outcomes I obtained did not differ tremendously from these collected by Bruner and Minturn, producing a proportion of 85% appropriately predicted solutions. This proves my experimental speculation correct, exhibiting that notion is certainly affected by previously attended to data.

A Study to Prove/Disprove the Theory of Perceptual Set – Introduction

Perceptual set is the Top Down concept stating that the thoughts prepares the individual for what they’re about to see, judged on what has been seen beforehand, e.g. in case you are exposed to a set of animals, your thoughts assumes the next object will also be an animal and so prepares itself to understand it as such. This is part of the top-down method which is a constructivist theory. One research that issues this was conducted by Minturn and Bruner (1951). They used an unbiased design methodology of experimentation. They used an ambiguous determine that could be perceived as either a ‘B’ or a ’13’ and so cut up the participants into two groups, and presented one with the ambiguous figure alongside letters and the opposite with numbers. They group shown numbers perceived the indefinite determine as such, whereas the ‘letter’ group reported it as being a ‘B’.

I wish to conduct a similar experiment in order to check this theory myself.


To show or disprove Gregory’s perceptual set concept utilizing ambiguous letters and associated phrases, via an experiment based mostly on that of Bruner and Milton.


I have chosen to present my hypotheses as one-tailed as a result of though there are two conditions, the dependant variable is singular, i.e. just how the word is perceived, so there won’t be more outcomes from one than the other and so I cannot evaluate circumstances in such a fashion as I would be able to was I testing the amount of words

Experimental Hypothesis – The members will read the ambiguous word as one relating to the set of words read or pictures seen beforehand

Null Hypothesis – The individuals will not learn the ambiguous word as one relating to the set of phrases learn or photos seen beforehand

Method: Design

I have chosen to use an experiment as my analysis methodology for causes I will state in my Abstract. I actually have studied the investigation conducted by Bruner and Minturn and have noted that essentially the most acceptable form of accumulating raw information from this experiment will have to be written rather than conveyed verbally due to the variety of members. I are not trying for them to be influenced by others’ perceptions of the ambiguous word and so will collect their ‘answer’ from them on a piece of paper. I may also conduct the experiment in controlled circumstances to make it replicable. Anonymity is necessary as I really feel it’s necessary to evolve to the ethical issues I will have to contemplate when performing this investigation. It may even assist to eliminate potential bias that may happen if I personally know a few of the participants

Ethical Issues

Confidentiality is on of the ethics I will conform to, to make this experiment a humane one and to make it fair on the participants. It respects their privacy and makes it more probably that they’re giving an sincere answer as there is no fear of a adverse response. To guarantee this is the case, will probably be acknowledged in my standardised instructions not to write their name on the paper issued.

Another moral consideration is that of the proper to withdraw from the experiment. I will in incorporate this into my consent forms and likewise the standardised directions as a method to inform individuals of this, and to ensure that anyone feeling uncomfortable in the course of the investigation is not beneath any obligation to remain part of it.

Briefing and debriefing will also be taken into account, and so they are to be briefed beforehand the place it will be made clear what their task is and what the investigation will contain. Although I won’t be able to totally temporary them with regard to my goal and hypothesis, I will state this in the debriefing that can occur after the experiment is completed.

Consent is a serious issue when discussing ethics, and so I plan to send out consent forms to the head-teacher of the college and to the shape tutor of the members as they’re in loco-parentus, making acquiring permission quicker and easier.

No psychological trauma or bodily harm will occur to the participants and the photographs proven are of a impartial nature with out the risk of causing offence or upset, meaning the individuals will depart the experiment in the same bodily and psychological state they entered it in.

Independent Variable: This is the situation I will be manipulating to find a way to monitor the change in outcomes and on this experiment the independent variable is the subject of the words and photos proven.

Dependant Variable: This is the factor that adjustments due to the manipulation of the impartial variable and it’s what I shall be measuring. In this case it is the definition drawn or written of the ambiguous word.

Extraneous Variables: These are the opposite things that may have an result on the dependant variable apart from the independent variable that must be managed to the most effective of our capacity in order to guarantee a cause-effect relationship and reliable results. They are split in to two teams.

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