This assignment requires reading the Snowden (2002) article
answering five questions about the chosen article, and then designing your own a follow-up experiment (question 6).
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Submissions should be typed and double-spaced (12-pt font, 1-inch margins).
Questions 1-5: should be numbered and written in short answer form (complete sentences).
Question 6: should be written on a separate page in multi-paragraph form (method, expected findings, implications).
** DO NOT use non-behavioral (i.e. physiological or neuroimaging methods) in the design of your experiment!!!
*** MUST USE psychophysical methods to design to describe a tight experimental design for a psychophysics experiment
Thinking critically about the study you read and the study you design, and making a very careful effort to be clear and coherent in your articulation of your design.
– IMPORTANT: correctness, critical thinking, clear demonstration of understanding, and also for the quality of the study you design – the manipulation you describe should logically target the perceptual processes or phenomena you intend to target, and the conclusions you intend to draw should be logical ones supposing the predicted results were obtained. Especially in describing your proposed experiment, make sure what you mean is clear to someone other than yourself (someone who does not already know what it is that you are trying to convey).
Snowden, R. J. (2002). Visual attention to color: Parvocellular guidance of attentional resources? Psychological Science, 13 (2), 180-184.
Name the independent and dependent variables used; include all the levels of each variable (maximum 2 sentences; 1 point)
Are there any methodological flaws or limitations in the experimental design? If so, explain them. If there are no methodological flaws, justify that answer. Critical thinking is important here – points will not be awarded for “low hanging fruit” responses like “small sample size” or “lack of diversity of subjects”. Responses should reveal the flaws and limitations that are unique to this particular experiment, and which do not apply broadly to much or most psychological studies. Note also that visual perception, unlike many other areas of psychology, varies relatively little from one individual to another and that sample sizes of 3+ subjects are common and justifiable in many psychophysical experiments. (maximum 3 sentences; 2 points)
How did the experimenters control for possible confounding variables? Explain. (maximum 3 sentences; 2 points)
Explain the role of the magnocellular and parvocellular streams (from what you learned from lecture or from your textbook). Explain what functions of the streams the researchers seek to test. (maximum 5 sentences, 4 points)
What did the authors find (that is, what were the important results), and what are the implications of those findings? That is, what do the findings mean in terms of how they inform our understanding of how this particular perceptual process works? Be careful not to conflate results and implications – they are two separate things; one is a factual result of a pattern in the data, the other is an interpretation of that result. (maximum 5 sentences, 3 points)
Design an experiment to test whether the parvocellular stream is sensitive to motion processing (maximum 1 page, 7 points as details below)
Describe your method and manipulation – stimulus, task, etc. – whatever is necessary to convey the logic and rationale of your design. Be clear and concise while conveying the critical details. You are welcome to include a small figure to illustrate your intended stimulus. Do not waste space with details that are unimportant to understanding the logic and rationale – we do not need to know about your participant characteristics, for example; this is not an APA format write-up. (3 points)
What do you expect to find? That is, what are the predicted important results? (2 points) 3) What would be the implications of your findings? That is, what do your results mean in terms of how they add to or change our understanding of the topic you are studying? (2 points)