Imagine having cerebral palsy, being limited to spending a majority of the day in a motorized wheel chair and suffering from an accident. When the ambulance reaches you at the location that the accident occurred, you come to find out that the expensive and heavy chair will not make it to the hospital with you because there is nowhere to put it. This is a well-defined problem because the clear goal of this situation is the need to find an alternative form of transportation to transport the motorized chair to the hospital. Imagine all of the people in the world that have motorized wheelchairs and all of the problematic situations that they could encounter. How do these types of people get onto buses? How do they reach an upper level of a restaurant with only a stair case? How do they fit in a small section of a subway train cart that’s only made for standing room? These are just some of the instances that people who drive motorized wheelchairs could encounter in their daily activities.
One woman, Martha Mendez, 57 years of age who is restricted to driving a motorized wheelchair and suffers from cerebral palsy since she was a child, experienced a problem that she was able to identify a need to solve it. While exiting a public transportation bus, she and her motorized wheelchair crashed into a glass bus shelter. When the ambulance came around, they were unable to transport her chair to the hospital because there was no room to fit it onto the ambulance. Ms. Mendez understood the well-defined problem and wrote a letter to the Mayor’s office in her town in New York. By addressing the problem head on, she made the office aware of it and they were able to purchase $2,000 worth of trailers with ramps that can be affixed to the rear of the ambulances in the city. This response from the mayor’s office was a solution to the well-defined problem of being able to accommodate a disabled person’s wheelchair in the event of an accident. There can be several problems going on in the world at one time. Even though these problems we all face can present obstacles whether physical or mental, by using our understanding of the problem or that of others, we can create the necessary solutions to those problems. Ms. Mendez’s courage to voice the problem by writing a letter to the Mayor’s office is one example of exploring a well-defined problem. Once the problem was brought forth to those in charge of city regulations and operations, they were able to generate a solution to test to see if the trailer ramps will work. This is a way that the city can justify whether or not they plan to continue purchasing trailer ramps for the ambulances or if they need to come up with separate personnel who is in charge of keeping the trailer ramps up to city code regulations. Whatever becomes of this situation, it is nice to know that not all well-defined problems go untouched and the city was able to use problem-solving ideas to assist with the community.
So, I’m cruising down the aisles at the local market, looking at all of the brand selections for my next week’s dinner compilation when I think to myself how vivid all of the imagery on the packaging of the branded items is. Have you ever noticed how strikingly lucid some of the packages are or noticed how the shapes just draw your eyeballs to them? Well, this is no magical act, the packaging of an item and the shape are made that way on purpose, so your object-based attention is activated while you are shopping for these items.
In reading an article by Elias Cohen and Frank Tong, they made it very clear what “neural mechanisms of Object-Based attention” affect our human behaviors. In their research, they used fMRI and multivariate analysis. After using these technologies to study the effects of object-based attention, they found “superior knowledge of upright objects led to improved attentional selection in early areas.” In other words, people’s attention got better as they looked at objects and if the objects were familiar to them from seeing the shapes previously. So, as I’m still shopping at the market, I come to the dairy section and what grabs my eyes right away? The 3D triangular sized cheese product that looks like the cheese you would see back in the cartoons you watched as a child. Why did this cheese stand out to me more than the others? It was because I was familiar with its shape from my previous experience with watching a triangle shaped piece of cheese in cartoons growing up. According to our textbook Goldstein, B. (2011), “attention can be based…on where a person is looking on a specific object (object based attention.” So, it was pretty clever that the manufacturer of the cheese product decided to shape the cheese into a 3D object so as to grab a consumer’s attention right away, giving them an advantage over all the other cheese brands.
This leads me back to Cohen and Tong’s argument. They cited a simple idea from another researcher Duncan 1984, who said “according to prominent theories of object-based attention, the attentional system is predisposed to select entire visual objects during top-down enhancement.” We as humans will turn our attention straight to something that is of a shape form right away because we are just built that way. Most of the companies in today’s day and age are constantly trying to grab the consumer in different ways of advertisement and will have a leg up in the race when they choose to add a 3D dimensional shape to their product. This is what we know from Goldstein B. (2011) as the feature integration theory “when we look at an object, we see the whole object, not an object that has been divided into its individual features.” This process is occurring before we ever even know it is happening just because we as humans will analyze everything about an object since it is in our physiological nature.
In essence, objects will grab our eyes. Once we engage our attention to the object we will begin the process of what we will choose to do with that visual stimulation.
Cohen, Elias H. & Tong, Frank “Neural Mechanisms of Object-Based Attention” 2015-03-06
Goldstein, B. (2011). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience (3rd ed.). Wadsworth, Inc.
New research is suggesting that it could be possible that humans might perceive variations in color based on change of the season in the environment. Can this be possible? That it can depend on the season of the year and that we can perceive the colors of that particular season in a different way. According to Lauren Welbourne, psychology doctoral candidate studying at the University of England, in an article from Live Science published on Yahoo news, there is a suggestion that this could be so.
This idea of how we see and perceive colors during the seasons can’t be that different from how we adjust the color of when we are watching a program on the television to fit the way we feel it should, makes a lot of sense. As the researchers of this color study (as cited in the article by Tia Ghose) explained, “The team said it suspects this type of color shifting — essentially like tuning the color balance on a television — may be a way for the human visual system to compensate for differences in the environment. (1)”
In my understanding of the definition of perception as defined by our course textbook, perception is “experiences resulting from stimulation of the senses. (2)” So, if I have been depressed for the past three months and I take a look outside during the summer, this research is suggesting that my perception of the color of the day would be based on several things going on, one of which would be that my senses would be affected by my depression of how I perceive the color of the day and in turn would make my perception of the color as being more gray. This research coincides with other studies from researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany (as cited in the article) that “people with depression have difficulty detecting black-and-white contrast differences. (3)” There are also physiological differences going on at the same time, when we are making that detection of the color of the day during summer. These differences could be that there is a problem in a person’s retina, the eye could have suffered from damage or the eye could be that of an elderly person with Alzheimer’s. One informational website dedicated to providing elderly care states, “They appear to have the greatest difficulty differentiating colors in the blue-violet spectrum. Red appears to be the easiest color for people with Alzheimer’s disease to perceive. (4)”
So the next time you ask someone ‘how does it look outside’, during a bright sunny day in June, and they answer ‘looks gray’, you might want to take into consideration that person could be depressed, suffering from possible Alzheimer’s disease, or even suffered from eye damage. Not everyone sees the world from your point of view. In other words, not everyone has the same perception of color and their view of the world could be completely different than how you may shape your view of the world because there is much more going on psychologically and physiologically in others senses than that of yours.
- People’s Color Perceptions by Tia Ghose, Live Science, published in Yahoo news http://news.yahoo.com/peoples-color-perception-changes-seasons-145946779.html;_ylt=A0SO8zFgqPVVzeUAv.lXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyMWhwOTEzBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQTAxMDVfMQRzZWMDc2M-
- Goldstein, B. (2011). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience (3rd ed.). Wadsworth, Inc. Pg.49
- Live Science website article: livescience.com/9965-depressed-people-gray-world.html
- Elder Care Team website: http://www.eldercareteam.com/public/677.cfm