Summer Post #21: The 5 Ways We Know About the World

These are by writer Verlyn Klinkenborg.

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If you are a writer, I encourage you to read more about her thoughts on writing in this Brainpickings post.

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?

 

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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

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EXPLANATION OF “COLOR-BLINDNESS” and the different types

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

Why does COLOR MATTER? http://www.colormatters.com/ 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.

Find out HOW ANIMALS SEE COLOR

 

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See full INFOGRAPHIC HERE

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.

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“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:

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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:

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Check out this Cathedral Art Installation in Belgium

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

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COLOR AND SYNESTHESIA

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!

LIST OF THE VARIOUS TYPES


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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”:

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and here on ABC’s 20/20

 

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PROJECT

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.

How does HOW we know change WHAT we know?

This is just a fun post- with no particular assignment attached. But I thought you’d all be interested in just what is in that droplet of water…

MICROPHOTOGRAPHY: Helping Scientists Know More

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Above is a water flea magnified 100 times.

To view more, click here and roll over each photo for info.

Check out more images from the NIKON SMALL WORLD contest

NEW SCANNER REVOLUTIONIZES THE STUDY OF HISTORICAL DOCS

At Oxford University, the Classics Dept. has a new high-tech scanner that allows them to analyze, restore, and archive ancient documents like never before. The tool also has implications for use in forensics and criminology.

READ ARTICLE

‘We anticipate that using the Oxford scanner will be like moving from using a dark room to using a modern digital camera. We can use it to detect what is currently invisible and make it visible”

ARTIST GOLAN LEVIN MAKES A NEW KIND OF ART INFUSED WITH SOFTWARE AND ROBOTICS

Technology (especially digital) is increasingly changing the arts and what artists can do. Watch this TED talk by Mr. Levin and check out his amazing conceptions.

I particularly enjoyed his questions: “WHAT WOULD ART DO IF IT KNEW WE WERE LOOKING AT IT? AND WHAT WOULD IT DO IF IT COULD LOOK BACK AT US?

 

Belief vs. Knowledge

“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is” – Bhagavad Gita, 500 BCE

          “Common Sense consists of those layers of prejudice laid down before the age of 18” – Einstein

“There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything, or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking” – Alfred Korzybski, 1879-1950

          “A very popular error – having the courage of one’s convictions; rather, it is a matter of having the courage for an attack upon one’s convictions” – Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900

The following textbites are excerpts from Richard von Lagemaat’s course book “Theory of Knowledge” (we follow him on Twitter @TOKtweet):

The most obvious thing that distinguishes knowledge from belief is truth. If you know something, then what you claim to know must be true, but if you merely believe it, then it may be true or it may be false. This is why you cannot know that Rome is the capital of Italy, or that pigs have wings, or that the earth is flat.

…truth is independent of of what anyone happens to believe is true, and that simply believing something is true does not make it true. Indeed, even if everyone believes that something is true, it may turn out to be false…knowledge requires something less than certainty. In practice, when we say something is “true” we usually mean that it is “beyond a reasonable doubt“. 

When you know something then what you claim to know must not only be true but you must believe it to be true…while truth is an objective requirement for knowledge, then belief is a subjective requirement for it.

***If you have no conscious awareness of something, then it makes little sense to say you know it (i.e. books can’t know facts, calculators can’t know 2+2=4)

As technology develops, do you think it will ever make sense to say a computer knows things?

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***note: there will be a separate blog post/activities on A.I.

(But…) rather than thinking of knowledge as being completely different than belief, it may make more sense to think of a belief knowledge continuum.

VAGUE BELIEF: you vaguely believe something, but don’t recall where you came across this idea and readily abandon this belief in light of counter-evidence. (possible but not probable)

WELL-SUPPORTED BELIEF: You believe it, and may be able to give evidence, but are unwilling to say you know for sure (probable but not beyond a reasonable doubt)

BELIEF BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT: you find the evidence to support your belief so convincing and any counter-evidence filmsy that you are willing to say you belief it with no doubt (but still not 100% certain)

(But…) your beliefs must be justified and in the right sort of way. We usually justify beliefs and knowledge claims by appealing to one of the four ways of knowing:

“I saw it!” (perception)

“Someone told me” (language)

“I worked it out” (reason)

“It’s intuitively obvious” (emotion)

(But…) Why are some ways of justification (such as perception), usually considered acceptable, while others (like ESP) are not? It’s all about reliability

Here are some interesting videos regarding the reliability of PERCEPTION:

1. How Your Memories Can be Twisted Under Social Pressure

2. Can You Trust Your Memory? Take These 2 Simple Tests

Of course, nothing is infallible and you can be sceptical about everything, but life is just too short, you have to make a judgement when a doubt is appropriate or not.

EVIDENCE

So, you have a reasonable belief with evidence, now what? Again, from Richard von Lagemaat:

Imagine someone claiming that there are little green men on Mars. When you challenge them to support their belief they say, “Well you can’t prove that there aren’t”.***The fact that you can’t prove that something ISN’T true does nothing to show that it IS true. This fallacy of thinking is called

ARGUMENT AD IGNORANTIUM

Thought Experiment:

1. Which of the following is an example of argument ad ignorantium?

a. Since many people claim to have seen ghosts, it is likely they exist

b. Many members of the Society for the Paranormal believe in ghosts

c. Ghosts must exist because no one has proved they do not.

d. It is true for me that ghosts exist.

2. With a partner, make up 2 examples of argument ad ignorantium and share with the class.

CONFIRMATION BIAS

Psychologists claim that humans have a tendency known as “confirmation bias”, to notice only evidence that supports our beliefs. (e.g. you believe in astrology so tend to notice only when your horoscope proves right and overlook the time it is wrong). ***It is important to look not only for evidence in favor of our beliefs, but also for evidence that would count against them (aka COUNTER-CLAIMS). This interesting blog post discusses how it works- and how it relates to old movies, political pundits, and Amazon wish lists.

For fun try this activity demonstrating c.b.

COHERENCE

Does your belief fit in or “cohere” with our current understanding of the world? Lagemaat asserts that although we should be open to new ideas, we would simply come undone if we cast doubt on all our beliefs at once. ***The more unlikely something is, relative to the current state of knowledge, the stronger the evidence in its favor should be before we can take it seriously. Carl Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” – can you think of an example in History when this held true?

What sorts of extraordinary claims do you personally grapple with and think are less likely to be true?

SO WHAT?

Does it really matter WHAT we believe? If people have crazy ideas, should we just let them- I mean, what’s the harm, right? Lagemaat reminds us that beliefs DO matter, and some are more worthy of respect than others. Beliefs DEFINE who you are as a person. You will end up leading a life that is genuinely not your own unless you periodically examine your beliefs (“An unexamined life is not worth living”- Socrates)

Moreover, beliefs affect one’s ACTIONS, and can literally be a life and death deciding factor. Burning witches? Nazism? Terrorists? Death-wish cults? Voltaire pointed out thatPeople who believe absurdities will commit atrocities“. 


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1. Do you think we should respect the beliefs of a racist or sexist person? Provide reasons. If possible, find a recent article or video that could be used to question this (for example, the July massacre by Norwegian “racist” Anders Breivik.

2. Find some examples of beliefs (modern or throughout History) that you think are both misguided and dangerous.

Sexism

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