This colour changing card trick shows us something astounding about our sense perception. In TOK sense perception is one of the four ‘knowledge tools’ or ‘ways of knowing’ alongside language, emotion and reason. The film is intended to make you think about the knowledge you gain though your sense of sight. Watch the following film and pick out any colour changes that you notice.
How many colour changes did you notice? The fact that there are 4 colour changes in this film is something that many people surprisingly fail to notice: our brains fail to recognise details that are deemed to be irrelevant. It is astounding that many of us fail to notice that there are 4 other colour changes that occurred without us noticing because our attention was focused on the cards and not the other details of the film:
1. His T shirt – changes from brown to black
2. Her jumper – changes from black to green
3. The table- changes from black to beige
4. The background colour – changes from black to red
Perhaps you might consider the implications of this film for TOK. You might identify a number of knowledge issues that arise. A knowledge issue is any question to do with knowledge where there are at least two plausible alternatives. Here are some examples:
1. If our brain filters out ‘irrelevant’ information, how might our expectations of a real life situation influence what we come to know about it?
2. How might our paradigms shape what our brain interprets as important?
3. If what we know is dependent on context, what implications does that have for our knowledge?