ERIC Number: ED389375
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
The Perception of Familiar Objects.
Cavalier, Robert P.; Wesp, Richard K.
To demonstrate a technique used in introductory psychology courses to introduce students to the phenomenon of illusions, workshop attendees at the Conference on Undergraduate Teaching of Psychology were asked to estimate the dimensions of a standard classroom garbage can placed on a table in the front of the room. Participants were asked to estimate the height and diameter of the base of the can in inches and write their estimates on index cards. In a group activity, the median of particpants' estimate of the garbage can's height was determined to be 20 inches, while the median estimate of the diameter of the base was 12 inches. The garbage can was then measured to be 14.5 inches tall and 10 inches in diameter at the base. Participants were then informed that in previous groups similar overestimates of height were also obtained, while estimates of base diameter usually came within an inch of the actual diameter. Groups were then formed among participants to identify at least three explanations for the overestimation. The demonstration offers a useful means of showing students the practical reality of the materials they study in psychology and presents students with a simple line of research that they can pursue without a laboratory or budget. (BCY)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Teaching of Psychology: Ideas and Innovations. Proceedings of the Annual Conference on Undergraduate Teaching of Psychology (9th, Ellenville, NY, March 22-24, 1995); see JC 960 009.