Lecture for Introduction to Media Design Class at Keio University, Graduate School of Media Design. About the importance of visual thinking, flexible thinking, ambidextrous thinking for creativity in design and all professions.
The last two examples required moving a single configuration in space. Motion in visual spatial operations is likely affected by kinesthetic (muscle) imagery. Imagery in three -dimensional motion is important to visual thinking in many fields.Pulleys
Visual ThinkingApril 2013 Spring KMD Introduction to Media Design Adrian David Cheok
What is Thinking?• Thinking: – Pervasive - most of waking and sleeping time – Physiologist - muscle tone plays important part in mental functioning – Neurologist - entire nervous system (not just brain) is involved in thinking – Thoughts are directed by emotions and motivations – Vitality of your thinking is intimately related to the state of your physical health
Vehicles of Thought• Talk to yourself, with inner speech• Mentally pictured an image• Draw a diagram• These are “Vehicle of Thoughts”• A vehicle is a representation of thought - a result of thought
Operation• Remove extraneous details• Simplify essential elements• Reformulated essential elements• We think by performing a number of active mental operations
Levels• Operations are usually chosen and performed below the level of consciousness• Levels: some of our thinking occurs above, and most below, the level of consciousness
Three conditions• Three conditions that promote effective thinking:• Challenge (Deeply desire to change)• Information• Flexibility
Flexibility1. Easy access to subconscious as well as conscious levels of thinking (think when you take a walk, in the shower, sleep, etc.)2. The flexible visual thinker should be proficient in a variety of mental operations and be able to move freely from one operation to another (analysis, synthesis, induction, deductive)3. Free choice of vehicles, move flexible from one thinking vehicle to another (language, mathematics, sensory images, feelings)
• Thinking Visually: A Strategy Manual for Problem Solving• By Robert McKim• Published by Dale Seymour Publications, 1980• ISBN 0866514236, 9780866514231
Quick Poll• Are you from visual profession background? (e.g. design, architecture, mechanical engineering, artist)• Are you from non-visual professional background?
Thinking Visually• Usefulness to everyone• Designers and engineers• Potent utility for problem solvers in fields such as law, psychology, business, or education, where thinking is often unduly constrained by the limits of language.
See/Imagine/Draw• Visual thinking carried on by three kinds of visual imagery – images we see (not the things themselves we are seeing); – images we imagine (and dream); – images we draw• Visual thinkers use all three kinds of imagery: interactive imagery
Interactive Imagery• Visual thinking is experienced to the fullest when seeing, imagining, and drawing merge into active interplay – See a problem from several angles – Imagine alternate solutions – Draw sketches – Cycle between perceptual, inner, and graphic images until the problem is solved.
Seeing and Thinking• Visual thinking is obviously central to architecture, design, and visual arts. But it is important to other disciplines such as science, technology, management, business.
Seeing and Thinking• Discoveries in the direct context of seeing – Sir Alexander Fleming turned a laboratory accident into the discovery of penicillin by his thinking about what he observed. – Fleming noticed in a routine laboratory experiment that some plate cultures of staphylococci had apparently become contaminated and died. – This observation had most likely been made by others who knew that some bacteria can interfere with the growth of others, but Fleming saw it in a way that eventually led to the discovery of penicillin.
Seeing and Thinking• Nobel laureate James D. Watson (1968) also attributes his discovery of the construction of the DNA molecule to the use of a three-dimensional physical model.
Imagining and Thinking• Nikola Tesla, the technological genius whose list of inventions includes the fluorescent light and the A-C generator, ‘could project before his eyes a picture, complete in every detail, of every part of the machine. These pictures were more vivid than any blueprint.’• Tesla’s inner imagery was so like perceptual imagery that he was able to build his complex inventions without drawings.• Further, he claimed to be able to test his devices in his mind’s eye ‘by having them run for weeks – after which time he would examine them thoroughly for wear.
Imagining and Thinking• Chemist Kekule came upon one of the most important discoveries of organic chemistry, the structure of the benzene ring in a dream. – "I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. .. long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis.”
Drawing and Thinking• Drawing and thinking are simultaneous and an organic extension of the mental process.• Drawing: helps bring vague inner images into focus, record of advancing thought stream, memory
Idea-sketches from notebook of John Houbolt• Conceived lunar landing – Rough – Graphic "talking to oneself”• Graphic ideation precedes graphic communication, helps develop visual ideas
Left and Right• Right hemisphere of brain serves as neurological center for feeling and imagining• Left hemisphere serves as center for verbal reasoning and mathematical description
Dominant Eye• Stretch your arm out directly in front of you. With both eyes open point to a distant object• Close your left eye. If your finger continues to point to the object, the eye you are looking through, your right eye, is dominant.• If your finger appears to shift away from the object your left eye is dominant
Hemispheric Preferences• If you saw a duck, exhibiting left-hemisphere preference• Rabbit, you preferred to process the image initially with your right hemisphere.• Brain can only process one meaning at a time, hemispheric preferences made the first choice• You can learn to move your thinking from one hemisphere to another at will. Train your thinking to be ambidextrous.
Bridges Within• Maslow (pioneer in humanistic psychology): – Internal transfer from left to right vital to healthy thinking – Most creative thinkers, are those who achieved psychological integration. – “A truly integrated person can be both secondary and primary; both mature and childish. He can regress and then come back to reality, becoming more controlled and critical in his responses.”, Maslow, A. “Emotional Blocks to Creativity”
Visual Thinking• McKim: – “Ambidextrous thinkers, who are capable of drawing on their primary creativity, necessarily make the unconscious, conscious” – “creative thinkers are ambidextrous: they use the … right brain as well as the left. Learning to think visually is vital to this integrated kind of mental activity”
Exercise in Interactive Imagery• You have three openings: a square, a triangle and a circle. The length of the base of the triangle equals the height of the triangle equals the length of the side of the square equals the diameter of the circle.• Describe or draw the shape of a single solid figure that will fit snugly through all three of these openings. It should fit exactly, that is, it could serve to plug up any one of the three holes.
Exercise in Interactive Imagery• See a solution by cutting and trying with cardboard• Close your eyes and imagine solution• Make sketches• (alternate)
Experience using your eyes and mind together• In the row of five cards there is only one card correctly printed, there are mistakes in the other four. How quickly can you find the mistakes? 1 2 3 4 5
Drawing and Thinking• Most visual thinkers clarify and develop their thinking with sketches.• Watson in discovery of DNA structure: – "It came while I was drawing the fused rings of adenine on paper."
Drawing and Thinking• Some problems are most easily solved by graphical means• With one continuous line that does not retrace itself, draw the pattern
Images in Action• The Operations of Visual Thinking: Experience the kind of mental operations that do the active work of visual thinking
Pattern Seeking• Perception is an active pattern-seeking process that is closely aligned to the act of thinking
Closure• Filling in an incomplete pattern• Finding a desired pattern embedded in distracting surroundings
Filling in• So active is the pattern-seeking nature of perception, that these partial images are "closed" into meaningful patterns.
Finding:• Decide whether or not the figure is concealed in any of the four drawings
"perceptual speed”• The quick way involves seeing a pattern as a whole and matching it without hesitation• Long way involves detail by detail comparison (computers may be programmed this way)
Categorizing• We invent our world by this visual spatial operation. We discover all of the objects in our environment by recognizing common features.
Categorizing• Find in each row two figures that are exactly alike.
Categorizing• We literally invent the world by this visual- spatial operation• Discover all objects in our environment by recognizing common features• A child distinguishes cats or dogs• Scientific discovering
Visual Memory• Active visual perception and accurate memory are closely aligned• Inspect the designs for two minutes and then reproduce them, in any order.
Rotations• Rotating Dice• Which pair can the first die be rotated into the position of the second die?
Orthographic Imagination• Ability to imagine how a solid object looks from several directions
From another viewpoint• Dynamic Structures• Which is the same drawing of the sold object on the left?
Dynamic StructuresFolded PatternWhich of the 3d objects is the result of folding?
Knots• Unfolding: Which would form a knot if pulled tight
Kinesthetic Imagery• Motion in visual-spatial operations is effected by kinesthetic (muscle) imagery• Although next problem is mechanical in nature, imagery in three-dimensional thinking is important to visual thinking in many fields.
Pulleys• Which way will pulley X turn (a or b)?
Visual reasoning• Logical reasoning works in much the same way in visual thinking as it does in verbal and mathematical thinking• However, visual deduction is difficult to describe• Painter who realizes and abstract idea in a particular composition thinks deductively
Visual Induction II• The principle that relates the three designs is the sequence: – The entire figure rotates 45 degrees – The two sets of symbols move as sets 90 degrees clockwise and 90 degrees counterclockwise – Inner and outer sets of symbols exchange positions• The related design is therefore (c)
Imagining• Everyone possesses imagination• Educated often to “stop imagining things”• Contemporary imagination neglects inner imagery• Mind’s eye (imagination) can be reopended and revived
Exercising your mind’s eye• Taking your time, translate each of the following descriptions into a mental image.• Sense (see, touch, hear, taste, smell) with your minds eye: – a familiar face – a galloping horse – a rosebud – your bedroom – a changing stoplight – a newspaper headline – the sound of rain on the roof – the voice of a friend – children laughing at play – the feel of soft fur – an itch – a gentle breeze on your face – the muscular feeling of running – of kicking a can – of drawing a circle on paper – the taste of a lemon – of toothpaste – of a potato chip – the smell of bacon frying – of a gardenia – of perspiration – the feeling of hunger – of a cough – of coming awake