The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether color conditioning
affected taste perception of seventh grade students.
I became interested in this idea when I was researching on the computer
encyclopedia and "psychological conditioning" showed up. I read about it
and became interested in it. I decided to do a science project about it.
I also wanted to know if students had been conditioned to expect certain
colors to be certain flavors. I also wanted to know if I removed the color,
would students still be able to accurately name the flavor.
The information gained from this experiment will benefit juice and other
food manufacturers when they have to choose what color to color their flavors
with. It also points out to parents and adults how children are learning
to perceive color and taste from an early age.
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My hypothesis is that seventh grade students will be able to identify
the flavor faster and more accurately when the soda has color in it compared
to the soda with no color.
I base my hypothesis on observations on my family and what they say,
before they drink the juice, 'This is Grape, isn't it?" when offered a
purple colored drink. I also drank a clear Italian Soda and had difficulty
finding out what flavor it was compared to ed sodas.
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The constants of this study were:
The manipulated variable was the different color in each cup of soda.
The number of students
The amount of juice given to each student
The different colors and flavors in each group of colors and flavors
The same phrases were used for each student
The responding variable was the amount of time it took for each student
to identify the flavor. This indicated whether color effects the ability
to identify the flavor faster.
To measure the responding variable, I timed each student with a stopwatch
to see how long it takes for each student identify the flavor.
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||Bottles of clear one liter sugar free, sodium free, caffeine free flavored
soda flavored: lime, tangerine, cherry, and grape
||liquid vegetable food colorings colored: green, blue, red, and yellow
||clear disposable Dixie cups
||seventh grade students
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1. Gather materials
2. In one of the liter bottles of clear lime soda, put six drops of
liquid green food coloring. Leave the other bottle of lime soda clear.
3. In one of the liter bottles of clear cherry soda, put 20 drops of
liquid red food coloring. Leave the other bottle of cherry soda clear.
4. In one of the liter bottles of clear tangerine soda, put six drops
of liquid yellow food coloring and three drops of liquid red food coloring.
This should make orange.
5. In one of the liter bottles of clear grape soda, put six drops of
liquid red food coloring and three drops of liquid blue food coloring.
6. Label the clear lime soda "A". For the colored one, label it "B".
7. Label the clear cherry soda "C". For the colored one, label it "D".
8. Label the clear tangerine soda "E". For the colored one. label it
9. Label the clear grape soda "G". For the colored one, label it "H".
10. Make sure the soda labels are off the bottles when serving the
11. Gather one student, who has a permission slip signed and turned
in, and take them somewhere where it is quiet and can cooperate, such as
the Team 7 Science Lab.
12. In one of the medicine cups, fill with clear grape soda. Pour into
clear disposable Dixie cup.
13. GIve Dixie cup to student. BE SURE NOT TO give hints with facial
expressions or body gestures about the accuracy of the student's answer
or the flavor of the sodas.
14. Once the student puts the soda in their mouth, start the time on
the stopwatch and stop when the student identifies and says the flavor
of the soda.
15. Give he sodas in this order: HEDAFGBC
16. Provide each student with a Dixie cup full of sterile drinking
water to rinse his or her mouth out or a napkin in-between each taste trial.
is okay if a student says "orange" for "tangerine".
17. Repeat #11-#16 for each student and flavor or color of the soda.
18. Record the answers on a separate piece of paper for each student.
Find the averages of all the times of the students and the number of students
that got the answer right.
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The original purpose of this experiment was to determine if color-condtioning
affects taste perception of seventh grade students.
The results of this experiment were that seventh graders were faster
in time and gave more accurate answers when the soda had coloring in it
compared to the soda without coloring.
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My hypothesis was that seventh grade students would be able to identify
the flavor faster and more accurately when the soda had color in it compared
to the soda without color.
The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted because
seventh graders were faster in time and gave more accurate answers when
the soda had color in it compared to the soda with no color. Therefore,
we could say that seventh graders, when presented with a flavored soda
that is colored its "expected" color, have been "conditioned" to believe
orange will be orange. WHen the color is gone, they do not share this conditioned
information and it is more difficult for them to perceive the taste quickly
Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if younger or older
people would have different results. I wonder if boys or girls will have
a faster and accurate answer. I also question how many other things in
life we have been conditioned to believe or expect.
If I were to conduct this project again, I would try to do my experiment
a little faster. I would get as many people done as I can during the times
I can do my science experiment. I would try to get more people to take
part in the study.
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This is a research report about conditioning,
perception, and taste. Conditioning is a type of learning that happens
when a stimulus is paired with a reward or reinforcement. When the stimulus
and reward is presented numerous times, a person starts to expect that
same result whenever that particular stimulus is present. Perception skills
give our brain added information and so does our sensory systems such as
taste. We use all of this learning to make sense out of our lives.
Operant conditioning is defined as a
type of training or learning in which certain behaviors or activities are
reinforced or rewarded. This happens in one's environment. For example,
a child that whines for candy and gets some, can over time, learn to whine
whenever he wants candy. Most behaviorist explain most everyday learning
in terms of operant conditioning. The main difference between classical
conditioning and operant conditioning if that classical conditioning applies
on reflexes, while operant conditioning (a.k.a instrumental conditioning)
applies to what is usually called voluntary behavior.
The occurrence of operant behavior is influenced
by events in the environment. Any condition that makes learning occur is
said to reinforce, or reward, the learning.
A type of experimental learning in which two
stimuli are used at the same time to get a response. After time, only one
of the stimulus can lead to the behavior. Classical conditioning is based
on stimulus- response relationships. A stimulus usually makes a person
respond in a certain way. Psychologists say that in this instance, the
stimulus draws forth the response.
In classical conditioning, learning occurs
when a new stimulus begins to elicit, or draw forth, behavior similar to
that originally produced by an old stimulus
The classical conditioning process is particularly
important in understanding how people learn emotion behavior. When we develop
a new fear, for example, we learn to fear a stimulus that has been combined
with some other frightening stimulus. For another example, if someone were
to clap and scream "spider!" to make a person jump, the person, over time,
may begin jump with just a clap even when no one screams "spider!"
Studies of classical conditioning are based
on experiments in the early 1900's by the Russian physiologist, Ivan P.
Pavlov. He called a learned response a conditioned response because it
depended on the conditions of the stimulus.
Burrhus Frederic (B.F.) Skinner
Burrhus Frederic (1904-1990) studied and majored
in literature at the Hamilton College in New York. He went and lived in
New York City in the late 1920's to become a writer. He was not very successful.
"I had nothing important to say," he later explained. So he decided to
go back to school, and went to Harvard to study psychology, since he had
always enjoyed observing animal and human behavior. The psychology department
was immersed in introspective psychology, and Skinner found himself more
and more a behaviorist. He worked in a lab of an experimental biologist,
and developed behavioral studies of rats. He loved to experiment with building,
and loved building contraptions as a kid. He put that skill to use by designing
boxes to automatically reward behavior, such as a depressing lever, pushing
a button, and much more. His devices were such an improvement on the existing
equipment; they've come to be known as the Skinner boxes. He conducted
many experiments using conditioning.
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was born in Ryazan,
Russia. He was educated in Russia and Germany. He became a Russian physiologist.
He won the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine for his research on digestion.
He showed how the vagus nerve controls the flow of digestive juices of
the stomach and pancreas. For the next thirty years, Pavlov studied brain
functions. He found that, by repeated association, an artificial stimulus
could be substituted for a natural stimulus to cause physiological reaction.
This, as he called it, is a conditioned reflex. Pavlov believed that all
acquired habits, and even higher mental activity, depend on the chains
of conditioned reflexes.
The process of perception does not reveal objects
and events of the world. People see light and color, but there is no light
and color in waves that stimulate the eye. In the same way, there is no
music or noise in the vibrations that stimulate the ear.
Perception has three levels of complexity.
They are: detection, recognition, and discrimination. Detection refers
to whether people can sense that they are being stimulated by some form
of energy. Recognition means being able to identify as well as detect a
particular pattern of stimulation. Discrimination means being able to perceive
patterns of stimulation as different
Taste is an important sense in people
and most animals. The taste of foods helps determine what and how much
people eat. The sense of flavor is affected by how things smell. When people
have a cold, or a stuffy nose, food may taste alike. Food must be moist
or containing fats to be tasted.
Most people believe that there are four kinds
of taste - salt, sour, bitter, and sweet. The cells that make up the taste
buds do not have structural or functional differences that correspond to
these tastes or flavors. The idea of the four tastes seem to be something
that is learned. These taste categories may only be easily distinguished
characteristics for taste..
Taste buds are grouped on the tongue into
small mounds called papillae. Each taste bud contains a number of receptor
cells. The papillae of the front of the tongue have have their receptor
cells connected to one nerve. The papillae on the edges of the tongue,
about halfway between the front and back, and those at the back of the
tongue are connected to a second nerve. People also have taste buds on
the soft palate, witch is the back of the roof of the mouth.
When people take food into their mouths, the
exposed ends of the taste bud receptor cells contact molecules from the
food. The receptor cells transmit information about the chemicals in the
food to nerves. Different taste nerves may respond differently to the same
chemicals. Also, small amounts of some chemicals are more easily tasted
on the back or sides of the tongue.
The nerves from the taste buds come together
sat back part of the brain stem. The receptor cells in the taste buds are
continually being replaced. These cells develop only from skin cells that
surround the taste buds.
People respond and learn from events and/or
stimulus in their environment. Psychologists have studied this learning
and have tried to figure out how and why people respond and learn the way
they do. B.F. Skinner and Ivan Pavlov are two psychologists that studied
these behaviors, and called it conditioning. People also get information
from their perceptions and sensory systems. When learning and responding
to different tastes, a person could use their taste buds, their perception
skills, and conditioning.
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Arnheim, Rudolf, et al., Psychology Today, Del Mar, California,
CRM Books, 1972
Chance, Paul, Learning and Behavior, Belmont, California, Wadsworth
Publishing Company, 1988
"Conditioning," Encarta Encyclopedia, 1999
Davis, Audrey B., "Ivan Petrovich Pavlov," The World Book Encyclopedia,
vol. 15, 1999
Halpern, Bruce P., "Taste," The World Book Encyclopedia, 1999
Horowitz, Leonard M., "Learning," The World Book Encyclopedia,
"Taste," Encarta Encyclopedia, 1999
Weyant, Robert G., "B.F. Skinner," The World Book Encyclopedia,
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