Jan 31, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about perception during the last two weeks. This was spurred by the reading assignment, of course, but it has proven to be quite illuminating.

First I started ruminating about people's perceptions of others. There's a man in California who has some sort of weird perception of me, based upon a woman whom I politely refer to as "trailer trash" and the apparent rambling of my dearly loved, maiden aunt (which I don't believe were originally thought by her). NO MATTER.

The point is that, just as our textbook says, changing initial perceptions is an extremely difficult task.

Next, I received the email that was shown in my previous post. This directly relates to the way people visually perceive things when there is no other information. Would either of us be any different? Not knowing that the violin player was someone "important," would we have stopped the progress of our busy lives to stand and listen to this person. We would likely have considered as a more important question, whether or not we had/or wanted to part with the money we would feel obligated to give for staying and listening.

And lastly, I went to the NPR homepage to look for "Wait, Wait,..." and I saw an essay about time perception. http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2010/01/the_doors_of_time_perception.html Here is another whole different type of perception!

So we now have visual, psychological, and time; I imagine there are also auditory and tactile perceptions. Each of them interact with each other. For example, if we succumbed to the alluring violin recital, time would fly, and perhaps the person we were headed to meet would perceive that we were not responsible. Three distinct types of perception that work together to creat our lives.

Very interesting...

Jan 26, 2010

Something that came in my email

We have been reading about perception in our textbook, and when this came in my email I thought it was very appropriate. I checked with Snopes.com, and they confirm it as true. It was part of an experiment

PERCEPTION. . . Something To Think About. . .

Washington, DC
Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and
started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short
while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was
there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:
*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*Do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made. How many other things are we missing?

Jan 13, 2010

Week 1, Jan. 13, 2010

Well, I read chapter 1 last night. It was interesting to me to see the similarities between visual and verbal literacy.

Then, while looking at the quotes from Jerrold Kemp in our textbook (he was my Instructional Technology professor at San Jose State in 1984), I stumbled upon references to choosing fonts for Powerpoint presentations.

This morning, while waiting at a stoplight, I noticed the fonts used on the Walgreens, Historical Society museum, and a local diner. This led to an "aha" moment. The fonts chosen by these businesses subliminally reflected a great deal about their identity. Walgreen's is a friendly, rounded, almost happy looking font, the museum had a font that looked as if it had stepped out of the 1800s, and the diner had a feminine script for the owner's name (Dell) coupled with a regular Times type font saying "Diner."

I have never thought about this before, but I imagine this is what visual literacy is all about.