Can our cognition affect our perception?Explain

Question 1

Can our cognition affect our perception? An influential study suggesting just this was performed by Levin and Banaji (2006, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General). Participants saw grey-scale photos of the faces of a Black and a White American male. Both photos were matched for average lightness (cf. A below). For each of the two photos separately, participants adjusted a comparison standard to the same level of lightness as the face, and the chosen value served as the dependent variable. Levin and Banaji found that the Black American face was perceived as darker than the White American face (d = 0.75). They saw this as evidence that race influences the perception of skin lightness.

Another researcher is critical of this interpretation: Sure, the two faces differ in race, but naturally, they also differ in all kind of other ways. (E.g. the face on the left but not the one on the right appears to be illuminated.) Therefore, it might be something other than race that created the observed difference in perceived lightness in Levin and Banaji’s experiment. In order to check this, the researcher runs another study. Here, both faces are presented in their original version (A, above) and in a blurred version (B, above). A pretest confirms that race cannot be identified in the blurred faces (data not shown). In the main study, 20 participants perform a lightness matching task on all four faces, with face order being randomised for each participant. Find part of the fictitious results in the table below. Higher scores indicate greater perceived lightness.
Briefly describe the design of the study. Then analyse the data to address the following questions: Does the study replicate Levin and Banaji’s initial finding? Do the results support the criticism levelled against Levin and Banaji’s interpretation of their finding?
Not blurred Blurred
Participant Black
American White American Black
American White American
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T 172
179
171
173
170
177
169
180
177
167
172
173
177
175
174
187
175
175
175
172
183
179
178
176
171
187
167
165
180
178
175
174
172
184
169
170
176
175
173
183
177
183
178
171
185
176
175
168
179
174
172
178

Question 2

A researcher wants to test if people can drive safely when using a particular drug. In particular, there are concerns that the drug might negatively affect alertness. Thirty volunteers are randomly divided into two groups, receiving either the drug or a placebo. In a driving simulator they then drive on a motorway. With cruise control being activated, all participants drive at the same speed. An unexpected critical incident then requires participants to break as hard as possible. Stopping distance is measured and serves as the dependent variable. Find part of the fictitious data in the data file driving seen.sav. Briefly describe the design of the study. Analyse the data and draw appropriate conclusions. (Let us presume that the procedure and DV are appropriate to measure alertness in drivers.)
Question 3

A researcher assumes that a potential partner’s social status is more important in women’s mate choice than in men’s mate choice. In order to study this hypothesis, she uses a random sample of 200 online-dating profiles (100 from each sex) and has each one rated for desirability on a seven-point scale by 15 participants of the opposite sex; higher scores indicate greater desirability. For each profile, the 15 ratings are averaged and this average serves as a measure of desirability. The presumed social status of the 200 profiles is coded independently on a five-point scale; higher scores indicate higher social status. Find part of the data in dating seen.sav. Briefly describe the design of the study and analyse the data in order to test the researcher’s hypothesis.

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