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Medical Wandering Dot Experiment

  1. May 15, 2010 #1
    I have tried looking this up on the net without success.

    This is a (I think) classic psychology experiment in which subjects are asked to describe the movement of a small black stationary dot painted on a white wall. Some perceive the dot as stationary and others perceive that the dot moves around. I don't recall what suggestions are give to the subjects, if any.

    Can anyone provide a cite for this experiment? I think it's from the '50s.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 16, 2010 #2
    As best I recall, subjects were seated across the room from the wall. They were told that the dot might or might not move. After a few minutes they were asked about the movement of the dot. I don't think I can remember any more details. Judging from the absence of answers it was not as well-known as I thought. Still would appreciate a cite. Thanks.
  4. May 30, 2010 #3
    Hey daniel6874! This was done by Sherif in 1936. I remember this from intro to psych. The dot does not move at all, but the test subjects perceived it as moving. They were asked how much it moves one a scale of something to something.


    Hope I'm not too late if you were writing a paper ...
  5. May 30, 2010 #4
    Ah! There is no paper due but I read the study quite a few years back and never heard about it again. When I didn't find it online I began to wonder whether I remembered the details properly. Thank you for the reference!
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