Author (Your Name)

Skyler Place, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Psychology Dept.


Clare Bates Congdon

Second Advisor

Joseph Atkins


The goal of this project was to utilize the tools of machine learning to evaluate the data obtained through experiments in psychology. Advanced pattern finding algorithms are an effective approach to analyzing large sets of data, from any domain of science. Consequently, we have a psychological question and hypothesis, and a separate machine learning technique to assess these claims. The realm of psychology that I focused on is visual cognition, and how an individual's knowledge affects how they see the world. This alteration of visual data is a part of perception -when the brain enhances the data coming in from the eyes. We devised an experiment that exploits these knowledge-based changes, and allows trials of a task for visual acuity. Incorrect answers can then be judged to see if the participant's knowledge of the stimuli appeared to have affected their ability to answer correctly. These answers are combined with other traits of the stimulus to create a dataset that was analyzed by machine learning tools.


Machine learning, Cognition, Psychology -- Research -- Methodology, Psychology -- Research -- Statistical methods