In Living Color

“We live in a rainbow of chaos” – artist Paul Cezanne

One of the foremost elements coming in through our sense of sight is COLOR.

TWITTER warm up: using the hashtag #tokcolor tweet about your favorite colors and why, the colors that are the most soothing to you, the colors you work best in , the colors you like to wear, the colors that irritate you, and the colors that spark certain emotions or memories.

How do we explain the varying ways people see colors and use language to describe them? What is the history of human color vision? Why do we have such different reactions to colors than animals? How does culture affect our perception of color and its meanings?






The next video is about perspectives. How can graphic designers, etc. get inside the eyes of someone who is colorblind, in order to avoid creating confusing products. To find out more about how people with “color deficiencies” see the world, CLICK HERE


EXPLANATION OF “COLOR-BLINDNESS” and the different types

What is YOUR favorite color? Find out what people say HERE: 

Why does COLOR MATTER? This site explores color symbolism, culture and culture, color and gender, color theory, color history, color and science, color marketing, and colro fun!

Start by taking the GLOBAL COLOR SURVEY and checking out the results.





CRAYOLA COLORS – Why was “Flesh” renamed “Peach” and what was the previously controversial name of “Chestnut”? What color is “Fuzzy Wuzzy”, exactly? Who knew they made “Manatee” and “Beaver”? This Wiki page lists all the colors and dates and explains when / why they were renamed.


“WHAT WE USED TO DO FOR COLOR” – find out about the toxic history of colors

Below is a fascinating Animated Infographic highlighting the effect of colors in advertising (starts about 2:15…or right at 2:50) – also about perception/emotion and marketing:


THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOR IN DESIGN (more pics and examples)

Color Symbolism in ADVERTISING

Now Introducing 2012 COLORS OF THE YEAR: vote now!

ANIMATED VIDEO: Why Pink should be called “MINUS GREEN”

Cool things with color:


Check out this Cathedral Art Installation in Belgium

Check out this new all-color look at the Amazonian Rainforest:




Synesthesia is from the Greek “Syn“, meaning “together” and “aisthesis“, meaning “to perceive“. It’s a mingling of the senses and commonly defined as:

1. The production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body

2. The poetic description of a sense impression in terms of another sense, as in “loud perfume”

Synesthesia Explained by Dr. Ramachandran (famed neuroscientist and TED speaker…includes video!) VIDEO HERE (starts at 17:48)

***it is 8 times more common among creative people!




Which shape is KIKI and which is BOUBA? READ MORE HERE


Wolfgang Köhler studied that the large proportion of people have the same answer. why? Is there a relation here to that of abstract imagery to sounds? do people expect a certain shape to a sound.  Is this to do with synaesthesia or merely contextual association?

(Köhler’s results deemed 94% of people thought Kiki was on the left.)

GAME: COLOR OF MY SOUND – choose a color for the sound given and vote…we’ll do this in class and share

Related Web Resources:

The Synesthetic Experience (from M.I.T.)

Take the Synnie Test! (10 min)

What color is Monday? VIDEO: Funny British show on Synesthesia

VIDEO: 60 Minutes on Synesthesia (really 2 min)

Kid’s Neuroscience Site (with Syn experiment)

Hypertextopia’s “The Synesthete”, a tool to test what color you’d make the alphabet

The Synesthesia Battery (test)

“Synesthesia, Migraines, and Creativity” article

Visual Music – a collection of samples of music and the visual arts

Collection of sites on Synesthesia

VIDEO: short art film called “Synesthesia”

Belgian Synthesthesia Association’s collection of links

Seeing Color – and Hearing and Smelling It (how Graphic Designers use Synesthesia)

Rainbow Coalition of the Brain – WIRED article

Literature involving Synesthesia

Achieving Synesthesia Through Technology

Savant Daniel Tamnet has linguistic, numerical, and visual synesthesia…he explains it in his TEDtalk “Different Ways of Knowing”:


and here on ABC’s 20/20




This will be a creative project attempting to integrate one of your DP COURSES with our studies of COLOR and/or SYNESTHESIA (as a Perceptual Way of Knowing in TOK). It will alos help prep you for the Presentation Assessment task, as you will be making connections to the WOK and to other AOK.

1. Review your DP courses (such as Psychology, Art, Music, Biology, Chemistry, Language A and the like)…which one do you think could tie in best to our explorations of color and/or synesthesia?

2. Propose a project. This needs only to be a simple paragraph explanation with list of resources you might need and a basic plan. You are encouraged to do something that might prove useful for the other class.

2. After getting approval, proceed with your project and be ready to share in class and post on your blog.

***these should be fun but somewhat challenging and relevant, as well as cross-disciplinary.

Ideas: (just to get you started, but this list is by no means exhaustive)

* Music students: compose a piece of music based on a color, or an artwork, or a scent; OR record yourself singing a mash-up of various songs related to color (such as “blue”); research and present how certain composers have used their synesthesia in their work.

* Drama students: Write a scene or short script based on a color, or even through the eyes of someone with Synesthesia- (perform live or film); Use color symbolism in a dramatisation or personify the colors with their symbolism attached to action; research and present how color symbolism has been used in famous films, or how synesthesia has been used (such as in Disney’s Fantasia)

* Psychology Students: research and present how certain psychedelic drugs produce synesthesia, and their effects; create a documentary of mash-ups from various resources to explain the phenomenon of synesthesia; research the psychology of colors and color symbolism and make a film, infographic, or other sort of presentation – or design an experiment that involves testing subjects’ reactions to colors.

* Bio Students: research varying levels of color perception in the animal kingdom and create a documentary film or other sort of presentation; furhter investigate the neuroscience behind synesthesia and create a presentation rich with visuals; do a lab related to color and demonstrate the results

* Art Students: create a photo book based on colors or a photo shoot related to color symbolism; listen to various music and create art while doing so …see what you get; using the psychology of color infographic or color symbolism site, create graphic design elemments or an interior design or advertising portfolio.

* History Students: Research the historical acquisition AND use of color and color symbolism… explore similarities and differences in cultures, then create a digital timeline using capzles or timeglider. Research how color has played a part in nation-building, or how it is symbolic in times of war (good time to investigate the various “Color Revolutions”), then create a documentary film, Prezi, or Vuvox. Take a series of events in History and get Synesthetic- that is, assign them colors (for a reason) and create an infographic.

* Language A Students: Explore the fascinating world of naming colors and present your research in an equally fascinaitng way; curate poems or other literature related to specific color, or analyze how color is used as symbolism in literature ( a multimedia artpiece using words and images would be nice with this).

Starry Night (interactive animation) from Petros Vrellis on Vimeo.


TOK Iron Chef! (a sensory experiment)

As we conclude our exploration of the various senses and Sense Perception as a Way of Knowing, let’s experiment and celebrate with an “Iron Chef” type of activity!


Class Period 1:

1. In partner groups, brainstorm a list of 2 “Savory” ingredients and 2 “Sweet” ingredients and write them on the Google Spreadsheet here:

CLICK HERE FOR THE SPREADSHEET (be sure you’re logged in to your mail) 

Afterwards, we’ll draw names out of a hat. When you are chosen, you will get to choose your ingredients – ANY TWO INGREDIENTS FROM ANY CATEGORY (that’s correct, you can have 2 sweet or 2 savory or 1 each, but your dish has to include BOTH so be sure to think about that)

2. Partner groups devise a LIST OF JUDGING CRITERIA. You will either get “Aesthetics”, “Taste”, “Texture”, “Smell”, or “Sound” (this would include reference to the name of the dish, or even the sound it makes as it is eaten)

We will spend some time in class sharing and editing the criteria so we can all agree.

At Home:

1. Now that you have your 2 ingredients, start researching recipes. Have fun figuring out how to create something unique, tasty, and aesthetically pleasing and smelling.

2. You will need to prepare the dish, name it, and bring everything necessary to plate it and serve it.

3. Your dish will be “tasted” not devoured, so it does not need to feed the entire class. 

4. IDEA: you might want to practice making and plating it at home so you have everything you need. Then try taking a photograph!

Due Date (Class Period 2):

1. On the date due (see below), you will need to bring everything needed to plate and serve your dish. You will also need to provide a card with the name of your dish and the 2 ingredients used. You are welcome to use the fridge in the Science Lab..I will arrange with Mr. Morrison. I don’t have a microwave, so if you need to heat something please arrange it with a teacher who has one ahead of time. As chef, you will be totally responsible.

2. Mrs. B will provide the criteria marking sheets, napkins, silverware, and drinks (and maybe some crackers to clean our palettes between tasting).

3. We will have fun tasting (in teams) the Savory and Sweet dishes, and judging them using the criteria you created. I might also film it! Then we’ll debrief using some TOK -related questions.


1. Choose 2 ingredients and incorporate both into dish

2. Practice making and plating dish

3. Name dish and create card for display

4. Bring everything you need on the date due

Due Dates:


TOK 3: TUES., FEB. 7


Resources to Help:

Describing Food and Wine (blocked at school)

Sensory Vocabulary Infographic

Over 101 Words to Describe Food

Dialogue describing food – what is “More-ish”?

Assessing Food Texture

IRON CHEF theme Ingredients List (in alpha order)

Science of the Kitchen : TEXTURE






Breaking Down the Senses


A. After watching and discussing these videos in class, CHOOSE to either write a paragraph or produce a vlog journal (video) describing your personal thoughts on what you have learned from them, and questions you may have. ***You may wish to divide your responses by “sense category” into 5 sections. Responses should be thorough and thoughtful. 

B. Create at least 1 question per sense to be used in our Socratic Seminar. All questions should be open-ended and open to various perspectives.


(Interview realted to above video)

Science of Attraction










Why PLACEBOS WORK – How perceptions of price affect the Placebo Effect

BBC Series Touch and Vision: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3   Part 4



This video also introduces the “Secret Senses”!







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Miracle Berries!


Chocolate Tasting Tips – The only thing that melts at body temperature! More about using other senses to TEST BAD OR GOOD CHOCOLATE



EXPOSED! How Expectations Bias Wine Taste


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BBC Smell and Taste Series : Part 1    Part 2    Part 3   Part 4













Internet Censorship: SOPA and PIPA

Between Tuesday, Jan. 17 and Wed., Jan.18 may web sites, including Wikipedia, plan to “blackout” in protest of 2 impending bills in the House (SOPA) and Senate (PIPA). On NOv. 16, Tumblr did a test blackout to promote the cause and encourage people to write or call their Congressman.


Google will also use its homepage to protest (READ HERE)

These Websites are going dark!

BREAKING BBC article (Wed.)

Here’s a web site that explains the difference between the 2 bills.


Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley: Why SOPA/PIPA matters

Here’s an infographic:


And a Documentary:

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.



Here’s a call to action and more videos:

Another great article, with plenty of links:

OUR OWN CODY took the liberty of creating his own post. He points to a site showing where the money trail leads.

For a more in depth look at the debate, watch this:


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


 Where do the Congressmen stand? See this LINK

To find out more about WHO OPPOSES and WHO SUPPORTS these bills, scroll down to the bottom of this article

Was the author of SOPA himself a copyright violator?


So….are you more informed than the average U.S. citizen?