Physical Science 33

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Sound and Light III

This topic diverges from the examination of light and sound as a natural science. Here, light and sound are examined through a “social science” lens.

How might “light pollution” impact people living in large cities? How do light and sound affect our emotions and well-being?

Have you ever considered there are lighting professionals that make use of light theory and “visual dynamics” ideas? How about in sales and marketing? How might a marketing pro use light, color, sound and music to do their job?


Day 1 – Introduction
Day 2 – Virtual Textbook


4:00 Does Color Really Affect How You Act?

3:30 Hearing Colors, Seeing Sounds: Synesthesia

4:11 How Do Colors Affect Purchases? Color and Marketing | Infographic


Some topics (Sound and Light, in particular) apply to multiple disciplines. The study of sound and light have been studied part of physics in the previous two topics.

But sound and light are crucial to other natural sciences as well. For example, sound is helpful to biologists and medical professionals in generating ultrasonic images. Geologists and geophysicists use sound waves and their reflections to identify layers of earth deep beneath the surface.

Perhaps it is obvious – but sound and light are also crucial to disciplines outside of the natural sciences. For example, sound is the primary medium for musicians. Color and light are important aspects of visual art. Social sciences including psychology and sociology study the impacts and influences of sound and light on individuals and communities. Marketing professionals make use of sound and light to invoke emotional responses from their customers.

  • Position A: Physical science students should be concerned only with sound and light as these subjects relate to physics and the natural sciences.
  • Position B: Physical science students should identify disciplines concerned with sound and light beyond just the applications in physics and natural science.

Instructor Resources

Standard Daily Material
  • Day 1 – Standard material – introduction day
  • Day 2 – Standard material – reading day
  • Day 3 – Standard material – make a presentation
  • Day 4 – Standard material – give a presentation
  • Extra! – Enrichment and remediation options
Other Topic Specific Resources

Special Notes and Notices

Instructor Emphasis:

  • Science & Engineering Practice: Plan and conduct investigations.
  • Cross-Cutting Concept: Systems and System Models.

Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of sound perception and audiology. More specifically, it is the branch of science studying the psychological and physiological responses associated with sound (including noise, speech and music).

This can be further categorized as a branch of psychophysics. Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Color influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food. Colors can also enhance the effectiveness of placebos. For example, red or orange pills are generally used as stimulants. Color can indeed influence a person; however, it is important to remember that these effects differ between people. Factors such as gender, age, and culture can influence how an individual perceives color.