Frank Lloyd Wrong (flw) wrote,
Frank Lloyd Wrong

A Science Experiment

I would like to do this somewhat simple science experiment.

Present people with blank cards on an assembly line, and ask them to select the cards that are slightly misshapen in some specific way. About 1 in 50 cards will be misshapen. It will be some obvious thing, like a corner is cut off. Here's the rub... one in ten cards will be a different color. It will be just-noticably different. That's it...

You see that just noticeable difference? The color difference is not what the subject is scanning for. The subject is scanning for say... a punch hole in the middle of the card like this:

And again, only about 1 in 50 cards will have the hole punched in it. The subject will control the rate at which the cards appear. I think this can even be done on computer. So in the experiment there will be basically two factors: how often the "defect" occurs, and how often a different, but non-defective card appears. I want to see what combination of rates, changes the attention of the subject. That's it. I am betting that this or something similar has been done a long, long time ago. My hunch is that if one is looking for a very rare defect (a 1 in 50 defect) and it is in the midst of a common non-defect difference (the slight variation in color of ~ 1 in 10 cards), that the subject will zero in on the non-defect difference, and spend more time and attention on the non-defect difference than the "normal" cards.

Come to think of it, I think it would be better if the non-defective but "different" cards are different because of their shape rather than their color.

I think you can guess what this experiment would "prove."

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