Week Five: Initial Discovery of Thinking


From each chapter advised to read I have pin pointed a specific area I want to briefly discuss, to try keep my blog entries more short, but efficient for my findings and further research.

Chapter One:
This chapter introduces the mind and the context used within it, but I believe it’s very hard, if not impossible for us to understand the human mind. It’s a forever adapting and changing organ, one that we haven’t fully discovered and I’m not sure if we ever will.

Within this chapter it discusses behaviourism and Pavlov’s famous dog experiment, resulting in what we know today as Classical Conditioning. My question is, as designers do we create work in a behaviouristic approach for the public mind to follow? To produce a creative formula for minds to follow and consider? As Lockton states the overall theoretical goal as the behaviourist views it is the prediction and control of behaviour. (Lockton, 2011) As designers our job is technically to control behaviour of the consumers, to persuade and convince. We predit behaviour through market research, trends, upcoming inventions. We use psychology techniques such as colour theory, hierarchy and so on to persuade consumers to act in one way or another. Whether this be involving themselves in an experience, purchasing a product and much more. From a personal perceptive I believe as designers our work steams from the behaviourism theory in regards to how we persuade, however it could be argued that the humanistic approach is still evident, do we simply provide an option to the consumer of which they decide what they do with this information?

Below is some pages from a book that has helped me throughout my teaching so much, but I feel it can still be relevant when considering behaviorism within design, just switch out ‘learner’ for ‘consumer’.

Chapter Three:
This chapter discusses perception; ‘the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. A way of regarding, understanding , or interpreting something; a mental impression.’ (Azarbeygui, 2016) The key aspect taken from this chapter is how no two people’s perceptions are exactly the same and all too often as designers, there is the battle to ensure the message you are communicating is perceived consistently throughout a range of people. This can be taken further into the design practice in terms of how communication can be perceived between clients or coworkers, bringing us back to the globalisation concept of digital communication and how crossed wires are a common occurrence due to misunderstanding through individual perception, again, this can develop further when . considering cultural impacts related with perception and communication. (Ulijn, J. and K. St. Amant. 2000)

The original study of perception in graphic design was introduced in the 1920’s by the Gestalt Theory. (The Interaction Design Foundation, 2016) This theory is regularly used today, mostly unknown by designers, but natural ‘tricky to the eye’, through the brains natural process of grouping, simplifying and recognising.

Antiuk, N. (2017).

This brings me on to Chapter Ten, of which discusses visual imagery, but more specifically the link between visual imagery and visual perception – are they the same? That doesn’t seem to be officially answered, as of yet. However it does beg the question of is visual perception a stronger concept than verbal perception, after all a picture is worth a thousand words.

Visual imagery naturally has a strong link to graphic design, it’s what makes up the majority of design pieces and as designers it needs to be considered how ‘our brains need to find meaningful patterns in our visual environment in order to make decisions about what to do and how to respond’ (Bradley, S. 2011), that allows us to create the behaviourist persuasive nature as mentioned earlier. The use of imagery can improve memory in a variety of ways, which the book converses works along side the whole perception aspect too when faced with new images or situations.

The chapter does state there is phycological evidence between the difference of imagery and perception, in that different areas of the brain are activated. But, as Ian McGilchrist mentions in his video, imagination and reason need both sides of the brain to function, arguably reason is needed for both visual imagery and perception, potentially imagination as a further reaction to both considerations. Scientifically, I can regard the differences between imagery and perception – but also feel the need to consider input from last week’s investigation into one’s self and how this would penetrate the perception workings of the brain in an individual manner and thought process.

To showcase a more personal approach to the visual perception argument, the creation of optical illusions are another aspect that challenge our visual perception, again, enhancing that it can be a very personal aspect, with many influential factors, such as; age, culture, individual brain processes and many more. Why do people see different elements or outcomes? Individual visual perception.

Chapter Twelve:
This chapter discusses how creative problem solving is consistent of divergent thinking, including being open minded and producing a large number of potential solutions.

The below video from RSA explains how divergent thinking is the aspect of thinking of many options, which, as a lecturer of design myself I regularly use in my own practice, as I teach every set of students this concept of ‘no idea is a bad idea’ (thanks Richard Branson). All ideas formulate to one final refined idea, through the design process, which is discussed in Susanna’s lecture (other blog post). In what way my students gather these many ideas up to them, whether it be brainstorming, starring, scamps, thumbnail sketches – if it works for them, I believe they are solving the problem through an individual process on a common technique. And as stated in the book by Linus Pauling ‘if you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas. Most of them will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away’ – sometimes students find difficulty in letting go of an idea, and now I’m starting to think is there a psychological link to this? A more in depth, emotional, maturity reason perhaps?

Further on in the chapter is the discussion of how too many ideas can be a bad thing, with closing of open mindedness, and in turn how preconceptions can inhibit creativity. This linked to the resource video ‘Thinking too much and thinking too little’ that in relation to graphic design or the creative arts, it states too many ideas may be impressive, but doesn’t allow room for growth and apparently, this is know as too many ideas syndrome. Who knew. However, the video does also state that we seem to be scared of our own thoughts – what would we uncover or what would it allow? To reiterate what I mentioned at the beginning of this entry; arguably there’s still much to discover and lots to understand about our mind, how it works and why it works the way it does.

Antiuk, N. (2017). Designing With Gestalt Principles. [online] DesignContest. Available at: https://www.designcontest.com/blog/designing-with-gestalt-principles/ [Accessed 24 Feb. 2019].

Azarbeygui, D. (2016). Perception in Design. [online] Linkedin.com. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/perception-design-davar-azarbeygui/ [Accessed 24 Feb. 2019].

Bradley, S. (2011). What Designers Should Know About Visual Perception and Memory – Vanseo Design. [online] Vanseo Design. Available at: https://vanseodesign.com/web-design/visual-perception-memory/ [Accessed 24 Feb. 2019].

Lockton, D. (2011). Design and behaviourism: a brief review. [online] Research Gate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260752148_Design_and_behaviourism_a_brief_review [Accessed 24 Feb. 2019].

The Interaction Design Foundation. (2016). What are Gestalt Principles?. [online] Available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/gestalt-principles [Accessed 24 Feb. 2019].

Ulijn, J. and K. St. Amant (2000), Mutual intercultural perception: How does it affect technical communication, some data from China, The Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy. Technical Communication, 47(2), 220-237.


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