Do BPS guidelines make a difference to the results of experiments?

The British Psychological society put many guidelines in place when experiments are taking place.  These guidelines are to protect participants and guide research with help from the code of ethics and conduct.

How different would the outcome of research and experiments be if the BPS had never been founded in 1901 and set up it’s guidelines and ethics for researchers in the future.

Milgram’s work on conformity and obedience is a very well known study.  The BPS was in it’s early years when Milgram did his experiment in   It shows the influence an authoritative figure has on a person who is taking the orders.

Some of the strengths of experimental studies of obedience are that it gives psychologists a better understanding of the human behavior.  Although Stanley Milgrams experiments of conformity and obedience came in for considerable criticism with some saying its claims are wildly overblown.  Would this experiment be allowed to take place in society today?

In 1971 Zimbardo conducted a prison experiment where he recruted volunteers to act as either prisoners or prison gaurds.  12 were  chosen to play prisoners the other 12 were chosen to play the prison gurads.  This experiment had taken place to study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or a prison guards and was funded by the US offfice of navel research.

However the experiment only lasted 6 days as the prisoners were becoming stressed and abused as the acting prison gaurds started to take their role much to seriously.  The experiment was initially cleared by the American Psychological Society, but was later criticized for being unethical.  This research would not be allowed to be carried out today as it would violate the ethics code of both America and UK.

These results from these studies show that YES the BPS guidelines DO make a differnece to the results of experiments.

Experiments have been changed or not even happened in the past as they were seen as unethical.  Some experiments and research has not been allowed to take place which means we will never be able to find out the answers to some questions.  FOr example if we were to remake Milgram’s experiment today to see if authority has changed in society over the past few years.  We will never know the answer as it would be classed as unethical to conduct this study again.

Do we inherit cues of depth perception?

In this blog I am going to focus on cues.  Making it follow on from my previous blog but adding more detail into the cues that we use when we perceive things.

The cues that we use we use when we perceive things are called binocular and monocular, these help use to determine the distance.   The binocular cues that we have determine the depth cues.  Both eyes are needed to see binocular cues.  Convergence and retinal disparity are the two most important binocular cues.  Monocular cues came be see by using only one eye.  for example overlap, texture, shading, size.

In 1960 Eleanor J, Gibson and R.D. Walk conducted a piece of research called ‘the visual cliff’. The purpose of this piece of research was to investigate depth perception in humans and animals.  The research was tried out on babies, rats, kitten and tortoises.

The visual cliff was where a clear piece of plastic was placed over a drop.  Giving the appearance of a cliff but not an actual cliff as the plastic was level with the first surface.  The baby would crawl on the flat surface and reach the cliff.  The test was to see if the baby would crawl over the cliff or not.

If the child or the animal had developed depth perception then they would not go over the cliff.

This piece of research suggests that we do not inherit cues of depth perception and we are not born with them, but in fact we learn them from our every day experiences.  As a baby or an animal moves around in the first few weeks/months of life then they learn that things are at different heights.  They learn to see the world in 3d rather than 2d.

Here are some extra links for more information and some great videos from you tube.

Is perception in the eye of the beholder?

Perception is the process of interpreting and understanding sensory information. It is an act of sensing that information then interpreting it. One of the cue’s in the environment that aid perception are affordances. These are clues in the environment such as optic flow, relative brightness, texture and size and they help to process what we see.

Gibson argues that Gregory’s use of visual illusions to prove his top- down theory are artificial as they are not images found in our normal visual environments. Perception is direct and we can make sense of the world with the information that we already have. This is widely argued because many illusions are encountered in the environment, for example when looking at a waterfall for a long time, then moving the eyes to a stationary objects, the stationary object seems to move in the opposite direction.

Optical illusions come in different forms, from seeing moving things in a still picture, seeing two different objects within the same picture to magic eyes.

Some optical illusions come from chalk drawings in the street, these are visible though our perception which makes the drawing seem 3D.

google images – optical illusion chalk drawings.

Here are some other illusions to try for yourself. Aswell as some web links. Thanks for reading…Have fun