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Create an Empirical Report Collect and Analyse Data On The Topic Of Change Blindness

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Added on: 2022-12-22 05:43:46
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Student notes

One of the core themes of Block 2 is how attention and perception interact in everyday life. This TMA gives you the opportunity to further investigate the issues raised by the module materials on this topic. As you learned in Week 14, professional psychologists produce reports of their work for publication in peer-reviewed journals. This allows for the dissemination of research findings which, in turn, encourages researchers to identify further areas for investigation while also building a body of knowledge about a particular research area. For this reason, it is important that psychology students learn the skills required for both data collection and producing reports of this type, and that is why this assessment has been included.

There are three stages to this TMA: data collection, data analysis, and report writing. In the following sections you will find guidance on how to complete each of these stages. Make sure that you read all of this guidance before beginning your assignment.

Relevant materials

The following resources will be useful in completing your report:

  • Book 2, Chapter 3 and the Week 13 activities provide a useful background on research into change blindness.
  • Book 2, Chapter 2may also be useful, particularly the discussion on different models of attention.
  • For guidance on ANOVA look at the material in the Week 11 methods and skills For SPSS there is a video and a single PDF guidewhich provides a step-by-step guide to carrying out the analysis.
  • In terms of methods, the Week 14 activitiesprovide clear guidance on report writing.
  • You will need to identify a minimum of two relevant peer-reviewed psychology journal articlesthat you have found through an independent literature search. You have already been provided with guidance and advice on searching for relevant literature, which you can revisit in the Week 2 section ‘Asking questions about the literature’, but you will need to think carefully about the search terms that you use.
  • In the following notes, you will find a guide from the module team as to what topic-based information you could include in your Introduction.


Stage 1: Data collection

The Experiment

The experiment is designed to explore the phenomenon of change blindness, using the flicker paradigm (which you read about in Book 2, Chapter 3). The experiment is identical to the one you took part in during Week 10 and is designed to investigate whether the type of change made to a scene influences how quickly the change is detected. You can access the experiment here.

Participants will view sixteen everyday scenes. Each scene represents an experimental trial. In each trial, two almost identical images appear one after the other, with an intervening blank screen. The images and the blank screen appear for 0.25 seconds each, providing the experience of the screen ‘flickering’ (you learnt about the flicker method in the Week 13 attentional blink activity). Participants must view the images presented and try to detect whether any change has occurred in the scene. If they believe they have seen a change, they should use the mouse to click on the image to indicate that they have seen it. When a participant clicks the mouse their reaction time is automatically recorded.

The aim of this experiment is to explore if change blindness varies according to the type of change that is made to a scene. To test this, three different change types have been made to the stimuli. Only one change is made per trial, and each type of change appears four times. The possible changes present in the trials fall into three different categories:

  • Within-category change:an object is replaced with another that belongs to the same category (for example, in a kitchen scene, a wooden chopping board might change to a plastic chopping board).
  • Congruent change:an object is replaced with another that is in keeping with the scene (that is, you would expect to see it in that context), but does not belong to the same category as the original object (for example, a hole punch in an office scene might change to a stapler).
  • Incongruent change:an object is replaced with an unexpected item (for example, in a dining room scene, a plate might change to a watering can).

The order of presentation of these trials is randomised for each participant and all participants view and respond to the same clips. The reaction times for responses are recorded to enable comparison of mean reaction time across the different types of change.

To make sure that participants are completing the task correctly and not simply claiming to detect changes in all of the images presented, a safeguard (or control) has been built into the experiment. While three-quarters of the trials have a change occurring in them, a quarter of them do not. Although you do not need this ‘no change’ data for analysis, the module team will use this information to identify any data that is likely to be unreliable: the data from participants who consistently (and incorrectly) ‘identified’ changes in these ‘no change’ trials will be removed by the module team from the data set, so that you can be confident that your data is accurate and reliable.

Ethical considerations

Prior to collecting your data, you need to ensure that you are aware of the ethics of this study. You can do this by looking back at resources you have already encountered. For example, you learned about the need for informed consent and clear debriefing in DE100 and you can revisit those resources here: Online Activity 8.1: Research ethics; Online Activity 15.4: DE100 project – Ethics. Specifically, it is important that participants are made aware of the purpose of the study, understand what they are being asked to do, and are aware that they can withdraw from the experiment at any point. After completing the study, it is important that participants are told what the experiment was seeking to investigate and how their data will be used. You should also give them an opportunity to ask any questions they may have. These, and the other ethical considerations you have previously learned about, are important safeguards to protect individuals participating in research. You may also wish to consult the British Psychological Society’s Code of Human Research Ethics – which all psychologists need to follow – for further information. As this study has already obtained clearance from the ethics committee, there is no need for you to request clearance again.

Once you are clear on the experimental procedure and have the link to the experiment, you are ready to collect data from one participant, following the guidance provided below.

  • First recruit a participant; someone over the age of 18, except another DE200 student. For example, they could be a friend, relative or colleague. You should gain informed consent from them, using the form You should also have the debriefing materialavailable for the participant to see once they have completed the experiment.
  • The experiment has already been built for you, enabling you to easily collect data from your participant. Instructions for participants are included in the experiment, but you will also need to explain the procedure to your participant before the experiment begins and answer any questions they may have.
  • You need to understand the rationale behind the experiment and the choice of variables, so that you can answer any questions your participant might have, both before and after they have taken part in the experiment. This information will also be needed in your final report, so it is important that you are aware of these fine details at the data collection stage.
  • Participant data will be automatically saved and added to the existing data set. The data collected this year will be used by DE200 students completing this assignment next year.

Stage 2: Data analysis

You will be analysing data for this experiment that was collected by last year’s DE200 students. The module team have screened the data and divided the overall data set into multiple subsets of data. Every student is allocated a unique data set to analyse. Each data set contains data from 250 participants who completed the experiment and is provided in a pre-formatted SPSS data file (note: you need to have SPSS installed on your computer to open this file).

Different students will receive different subsets of data, so don’t panic if your data set looks different from someone else’s. You must use your specific data set to carry out your analysis.

Earlier this year, your data set was emailed to your Open University (@ou.ac.uk) email address. To download your data set, search your email for a message with the subject line ‘DE200 TMA02 Data Set’ and download the attached file. Instructions for downloading the attached file can be found in the email. Remember to save the file in an easily accessible place. For further guidance on downloading your data set, see the guide available under the Assessment tab. If for any reason you cannot find the email or think you have not received it, your tutor has also been sent a copy of your data set, so you can ask them to send it to you.

You can download your data at any time once you receive it, but we recommend you wait until Week 10 of the module presentation, after you have participated in the experiment that is used for TMA 02.

Next, decide which analysis is most appropriate for your data set. If you are unsure about which test to use, then look back at the guidance you were given last week as well as the statistical decision tree. Remember to consider:

  • how many independent variables (IVs) you have
  • how many levels your IV(s) have
  • whether all participants completed all conditions or whether there were different groups of participants.

Once you have decided on the relevant statistical test, carry out your analysis. If you need to revise how to do this analysis in SPSS, go back to the tutorial entitled ‘How to run the test in SPSS’ in study week 11 for a step-by-step guide. Once you have completed your analysis, make sure you save both the data file and the output file. You will need to submit your output file along with your completed report.

Next, you need to interpret your SPSS output. For guidance on how to do this, look back to the tutorial in study week 11, and the section entitled ‘What does it tell you?’ which explains which parts of the output are important for interpreting your data.

Once you have identified the relevant output from your analysis you can think about putting together the results section of your report. Again, go back to the study week 11 section entitled ‘How do we write it up?’ for guidance on how to report your findings. Remember also to look back to the Week 14 materials and activities that guide you through writing up your results section. Before writing your report, it would also be worthwhile to note down:

  • your IV(s), with levels
  • your DV
  • your hypothesis.

You can then note down the relevant statistics from your SPSS output. By putting these details together now, you will have a clear reminder of what you are investigating and what your results are prior to formally writing them up. Remember to also note down the demographic information on the participants in your unique data set (that is, gender, age, and so on).

Stage 3: Writing your Report

When writing your report, you may find it easier to write the sections in a different order from how they will be finally presented. For example, you may wish to write your Methods section first, followed by the Results, before writing the Introduction and Discussion and finishing with the Abstract. By breaking the report down in this way, you may find the task more manageable, and it will ensure you focus on the specific details required for each section.

In Week 14, Section 3, you completed activities on the different sections required for a report. Make sure you revisit those resources prior to writing up your report, as they offer clear guidance on what information is required in each section of a report.

For further examples of published articles on change blindness, see the following links. Note that these papers are included simply to demonstrate how real-world research is presented in peer-reviewed journals – you do not have to include reference to them in your report. Remember, however, that you need to include information from two independently sourced, peer reviewed papers.

Simons and Levin (1998)

Herbranson (2015)

Writing your Abstract

An abstract presents a short summary of your completed research. There is some material to help you with writing abstracts in Week 14. Some guidance on how to write abstracts is given in the revisiting your abstract section. Remember to include all relevant information but also to keep your abstract succinct and stick to the suggested word limit (between 100–150 words).

Writing your Introduction

As this is the first mini project report on DE200, the module team have provided below a list of topic-based information to include in the Introduction to your report, in the order in which it should appear. Remember, your introduction should be written in prose and serve as a justification for your research (see Week 14  for more information about this). In this case, you should:

  1. It is essentialthat you start by defining change blindness, using Section 3 of Book 2, Chapter 3.
  • What is it?
  • Why is it important?
  • What does it tell us about perception?
  1. Outline key research on change blindness using Sections 3.2 and 3.3 of the chapter and Activity 1 in Week 13. You should draw upon:
  • Rensink et al’s. (1997) Flicker method and the attentional blink. Briefly explain the procedure and their findings. Rensink et al. claim that full attention, and high-level interest, is needed to detect changes. Their findings show differences in reaction times for detection of central and marginal changes.

In addition, you may well wish to draw upon one or more of the following sources. In doing so, you need to balance the essential requirement to provide a background to and rationale for the current experiment, with the need to write concisely and clearly.

  • O’Regan et al’s. (1999) ‘mudsplash’ study. Briefly describe the procedure and findings. Removing the attentional blink meant visual memory was not overwritten, but change blindness still remained. The researchers suggest that the ‘mudsplashes’ made items more salient, therefore capturing attention. As with Rensink et al., central changes were detected faster than marginal changes.
  • Simons and Levin’s (1998) door study. Briefly explain the procedure and findings. What does this tell us about attention and the position of the change in the scene? Here you could also link to the models of attention discussed in Section 3.3 of Chapter 3 and/or Lavie’s (1995) perceptual load theory in Section 2.3.4 of Book 2, Chapter 2.
  • Nisbett (2003) and Miyamoto et al’s. (2006) research on cultural environment and salient or contextual changes to a scene. Briefly explain the procedure and findings. If cultural environment can affect change blindness, what does that tell us about how individuals deploy their attention?

Remember that you also need to include research from at least two independently sourced, peer-reviewed journal articles. These additional articles should ideally be integrated into your Introduction and revisited in the Discussion. It is not conventional to first mention such articles in the Discussion unless they explain an unexpected result.

  1. Explain the particular issue examined in the current study.
  • Previous research has considered the position of the change as well as the impact of individual differences on change detection.
  • This study varies the type of change presented: congruent, incongruent or within category.
  • What can varying the type of change tell us? Think about what previous research has identified regarding salience and context.
  1. Formally state your hypothesis or research question. Importantly, your introduction should finish with a statement of the hypothesis for your study.

Writing your Methods section – a quick note on procedure

As part of TMA 02, you will be given a data set that contains data from 250 participants who completed the experiment you took part in during Week 10. You need to write up your report (including the Methods section) as if you collected all of this data yourself. This means that your Participants section should refer to information about all of the participants in your data set, and not just the participant you recruited as part of the project.

Likewise, your Procedure section should describe what steps all of the participants in your data set went through when completing the study, not just what your particular participant did. Remember, this section should contain enough relevant information to allow other researchers to replicate the study. Week 14  offers a lot of information about how to write up a Methods section of a report, so make sure you revisit this material for guidance. Please make sure that you observe the conventional structure for method sections: design, participants, materials and procedure.

Writing your Results

Before you write up your results you will need to have carried out your Analysis. Details of how to do this in SPSS are given in Week 11, which also discusses how to interpret the results from an ANOVA.

In Week 14, you are given an exercise (in task 4) to try your hand at writing a results section. When you have done so a model answer is revealed. This exercise also provides a model of how to write up your TMA 02 results, indicating how your results section might be structured and what information you need to include.

Writing your Discussion

Some material for writing up your discussion can be found in Week 14. This highlights the purpose of a discussion and emphasises the need for critical evaluation. To recap, your discussion should address the following issues in order:

  1. Provide a summary of your findings, stating the results of the experiment in plain language, without citing the actual statistics.
  2. Provide an explanation for the results and describe how they compare with other research in the field (as laid out in the Introduction).
  3. If applicable, explain how the findings could be applied in the real world.
  4. Critically evaluate the study, pointing out its limitations and strengths. Make suggestions for future research.
  5. Report sections, word count and marking scheme
  6. The table below sets out the various sections that will comprise your completed report. It shows approximately how the available 2000 words would ideally be allocated across the report. The words that you use for your Title, Abstract, List of References and Appendices are not included in the 2000-word count.
  7. The maximum number of marks available for each of these sections is also seen in the table. You will see that tutors are able to award a number of marks for the overall quality of the report, taking the accuracy, brevity, clarity etc. into consideration.
  • Uploaded By : Katthy Wills
  • Posted on : December 22nd, 2022
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