Friday, 4 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
I attended the STAG (Scottish Textiles Academic Group) fashion show on the 5th November in Mansfield Traquair Centre on Mansfield Place in Edinburgh. I have been meaning to tell you all about my experience of it for a while now but never got round to it so here it goes! This was my first ever proper fashion show and I can safely say I wasn't let down, the level of professionalism was impressive. It displayed the work of recent graduates from 13 colleges and universities across scotland which offer textile related courses and Duncan of Jordanstone was one. I was highly impressed by all the garments and can safely say that the textile industry is safe in the hands of scottish textile designers!
Social behaviour is often something which is very influential on environment, circumstances and the company you are surrounded by. It can vary from culture to culture and is without question a vastly disperse topic. Within social behaviour you have the issue of communication. How people communicate is different for each individual and is something which can be extremely complex to research and can be very intriguing. For my previous assignment, I researched into the subject of how social behaviour relates to crime. I brainstormed ideas and ways to combat this through futuristic design projections. This has led me to research in greater depth the subject matter of how crime can be combatted but first I need to grasp the core roots associated with social behaviour. In order to do so I am going to use resources sourced from my bibliography from assignment three.
My first text I am going to use is "The definitive book of body language" by Allan and Barbara Pease. In this book, the authors looks into the nature of the human body and how to read body language. My thinking behind choosing this book was that if security teams had better training in specialised areas such as reading body language or devices they could wear which could specialize in reading body language, they could aid combatting crime. Therefore, they could read situations more easily and stop fights and crime related issues before they began due to having previous warning through reading signals. Throughout the book, the idea that body language is a key source of communication is broadly addressed, as is the idea that reading body language is about “ matching what you see and hear in the environment in which it all happens” (Pease;2005,p2). You have to take into account all the key elements and factors before making a choice or decision. Concerning this statement, yes, it is true that it is vital to consider these factor, but it could also be very risky and create multiple problems. It seems that a lot of the information is based on findings rather than solid facts. This in turn, conjures up the thought that the authors are very much taking for granted their findings which poses the question, is it really reliable? Will this book benefit the reader at all? For example, throughout this book there are numerous examples of certain movements, actions or situations which could have multiple meanings; therefore making the judgement not always 100% accurate. In my opinion, the book as been written from a relatively open minded, non bias point of view as it contains plenty of key secondary and primary sources which back up a lot of findings and statements throughout this book.
Within the chapter, ‘Understanding the Basics’ the three main rules of reading body language are covered; rule 1-read gestures in clusters, rule 2-look for congruence and rule 3-in context. The book itself is designed to educate the reader to gain a deeper understanding of other people, as once we grasp this “understanding how something works make living with it easier whereas ignorance and lack of understanding promote fear and superstition” (2005,p6). Research used for the book is very much science based and was extracted from new scientific disciplines such as evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology and also through research into MRI scans (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the brain’s activities. As I have previously mentioned, body language is a form of muted communication and has been recognized as a substitute for verbal messages. Albert Mehrabain, a leading researcher in the 1950’s found that the total impact of a message is around “7% verbal, 38% vocal and 55% non-verbal” (2005,p9). Also, anthropologist Ray Birdwhistell conducted a study on ‘kinesics’, the original study of verbal communication and he found that the average person throughout the course of a day would only speak for 10-11 minutes with the average sentence generally taking only 2.5 seconds. (2005,p9). Both of these findings support Allan and Barbara Pease’s recognition of how significant this muted communication really is in comparison to spoken communication. Relating what I have read in this book with what I was thinking about combatting crime, I feel that Pease has provided me with a small glimpse of how it could benefit this issue. I have also had my eyes truly opened to how complex and vast the topic really is.
Concerning cultural differences interlinking with this topic, body language gestures and movements will still emit a valuable key to evaluating ones emotions, however, it could also cause a high percentage of confusion and so would need to be taken into high consideration. The contention of crime related body language is touched upon when it is noted that the nostrils and teeth play key roles in this area and provide key indications. We learn that, “nostril flaring allows more air to oxygenate the body in preparation for a fight or flight and, in the primate world, it tells others that back-up support is needed to deal with an imminent threat” (2005,p19-20). Through acquiring knowledge such as this, our thinking and actions towards social behaviour could potentially increase.
For my second source I have used another published book rather than a journal as I was finding it difficult to get a journal particularly relevant to this subject matter and I felt I would have been limiting my resources had I stuck solely to journals. The book I have chosen is “The Social Context of Nonverbal Behaviour” edited by Pierre Philippot, Robert S.Feldman and Erik J.Coats. This publication has many highly respected contributors from all over the world for each different chapter and is primarily sourced from research and discussions held in Belgium and the United States over many years. Due to this I feel that the research, evidence and findings will be from an unbiased background possibly making this text more reliable. The chief aim of the book is, “to provide an extensive review of the most contemporary theories and bodies of empirical research in this growing area”(Philippot, Feldman and Coats, 1977,p3). Where they say, ‘in this growing area’ they mean looking within social context and interaction the prime role nonverbal communication plays. The book is spilt up into four parts, each addressing a different complexity of the aroused issue but yet all maintain a strong link concerning the key element at scrutiny, nonverbal behaviour.
From reading this book one is made aware of the different communicative factors which are involved in the process. “Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour” by Arvid Kappas (1997) provides a “modified Brunswikian lens model to identify the different factors involved in the communicative process” (Philippot, Feldman, Coats ,1977,p4). The “Brunswikian lens model was developed for the study of visual perception” (Brunswik,1956). Basically, it talks about three main issues we need to consider when researching this area which are “situational context, social relationships and cultural conventions” (Philippot, Feldman, Coats, 1977, p4). I think for my research for this assignment looking into the cultural slant is very important and highly intriguing. Chapter 2 of this book is bursting full of facts from theories and studies conducted on this subject. One preposed question which caught my attention was “How and why does Culture Affect Emotion?” (1977,p33). If we can gain even the smallest grasp of an answer or research into this I feel that it would further our knowledge and understanding within nonverbal behaviour in society today as it is so culturally diverse. The author talks about the importance of taking into consideration ingroups and outgroups. Ingroups being described as “relationships characterized by some degree of familiarity, intimacy, and trust” (Matsumoto, 1996, p159) and outgroups being the opposite. Another key area of study contained in this book is as stated previously, context. It is said that the context “becomes the explanatory variable of the relation between feeling state and nonverbal display” (Philippot, Feldman, Coats, 1977, p8). It is clear from reading other chapters and sections also from this book that many researchers believe that context is one of the major deciding factors and can be extremely influential. This in return should challenge us all to think twice about the social contexts we put ourselves into and the dominating effects they could potentially have.
After studying in depth "The definitive book of body language" by Allan and Barbara Pease and “The Social Context of Nonverbal Behaviour” edited by Pierre Philippot, Robert S.Feldman and Erik J.Coats I feel I have learnt a great deal on social behaviour as a whole. Both publications look into the nature of the human body and how communication can be muted or nonverbal which to me was something I’d not really thought about or considered much before carrying out this research but now realise is a hugely important part of our behaviour as everyday beings. Each source emphasizes the importance of taking into account every factor in order for the decision to be fair and unbiased. This is stated in my first source when the authors state; “It’s about matching what you see and hear in the environment in which it all happens and drawing probable conclusions” (Pease,2005,p2). Then following on in the second source we are informed to take into account “situational context, social relationships and cultural conventions” (Philippot, Feldman, Coats, 1977, p4). These would both suggest that the environment in which you are is very persuasive on your social behaviour. A further comparison on the elected texts is that they are both based on scientific related experiments, findings and studies as they are both to do with psychology and our thoughts and actions are dependable on the individual and their emotive state. There cannot be clear facts, it is mostly primary sources from which they are written. This brings me onto my next point. Each book places high significance on the fact that our social behaviour, nonverbal actions, i.e. our body language is very much linked on our emotive states as human beings. “Each gesture and movement can be a valuable key to an emotion a person may be feeling at the time” (Pease, 2005, p11). A further topical issue they both place significant emphasis on is how cultural differences prove to be a hugely influential factor. For instance, “The Social Context of Nonverbal Behaviour” has a whole chapter focusing on the “cultural influences on nonverbal expressions of emotion” (Kupperbusch, Matsumoto, Kooken, Loewinger, Uchida, Wilson-Cohn, Yrizarry, 1999, p17) and in "The definitive book of body language" Allan and Barbara Pease state how they feel that within many cultures the basic body language signals would be be same (2005, p18). Evaluating now both texts side by side it is clear that the first was more focused on teaching the reader how to read body language and understand the basics of this acquired skill whereas my second text had more of an aim to help the reader understand the psychology behind our nonverbal behaviour, it was more theory based. In conclusion to these summaries and comparison I feel that my understanding of the human being as a communicator has been vastly broadened. I believe that my research was extremely useful and relevant with regards to my initial assignments, design thoughts and projections.
What else could I research around this issue? Further studies could entail conducting research into some root factors which can fuel crime related incidents and crime as a whole. A key contender for this could be looking deeper into alcohol consumption, the psychology of why people feel the need to drink it in excess and it’s effects. Another possible approach could be to interview bar and club owners as well as the police. The police would be a key contact as they daily see crime in all it’s different shapes and forms and may well have ideas which could play a prime role in this research.
Pease, A and B,(2005), "The definitive book of body language", Manjul Publishing House Pvt Ltd
Philippot, Feldman and Coats, P, R and E, (1999) “The Social Context of Nonverbal Behaviour”, Cambridge, The Press syndicate of the University of Cambridge
Mastsumoto, D, (1996) “The Culture and psychology.” Pacific Grove, CA:Brooks/Cole Publishing Company
Brunswikian Lens Model available:http://emotion-research.net/projects/humaine/ws/wp4/Brunswikian%20Lens%20Model%20-%20Tanja.ppt. 03/12/09
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Last night I went to see Foy Vance play live in glasgow. Over the past year I have become a huge fan of his music. I love his style, how relaxing it is but most of all his lyrics are incredible. This was the second time I have seen him live now and I can safely say he was as amazing last night as the first time I heard him. As he came on to the stage he simply carried his acoustic guitar. I love how simplistic his performances are. He hits different pedals which records different sounds and effects throughout the songs and mixes them creating this mind-blowing performance as well as using his guitar as so much more than just an instrument. He conveys powerful emotion. I enjoyed every moment of it. Towards the end he walked off before playing one of my favourite songs but with an enthusiastic encore he came back and played it. I went to see it thanks to my flat mates as they bought me the ticket for my birthday. They however were not big Foy Vance fans. In saying this though I think they still appreciated the sheer talent he is gifted with.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Booth and Hasking, C and P, (4/5/2009), Social anxiety and alcohol consumption: The role of alcohol expectancies and reward sensitivity, Austrailia, Elsevier Ltd.
I decided I wanted to take my research into the field of alcohol within the social context. This journal focuses on alcohol consumption and abuse. It talks about these subjects in relation to social anxiety and how individuals place themselves in situations to observe the effects of alcohol for the purposes of research in this area which is greatly needed. A survey and questionnaire was carried out and recorded in this journal on 454 young adults accessing this problem.
This book I found in the library in some ways could play a key role concerning my design idea. It is meant to be a manual for clinicians. It explores previous research into alcohol addiction and how social interaction intervenes as well as several treatments. I have included this as part of my research as I feel that a lot of crime and alteration of normal social behaviour is fuelled by alcohol or drug consumption so if we can gain a better understanding on this topic I feel that my designs would be much more diverse and may meet the needs of society much more successfully.
Goman, C K, (11/2009), "The secrets and science of body language at work", Reliable Plant Magazine, Troy Media.
I found this article while doing my research online. I found it really interesting and quite relevant to my research. It is about the language of the body and how to read it. For example by studying the feet you can tell a lot about self confidence. Apparently if you stand with your feet very close together you are timid or hesitant whereas if you have a stance which is more firm and further apart you are more confident. This could be a very interesting topic to study into further as I feel that if security guards studied this in great depth then the social behaviour of people may be more easily read and therefore could possibly combat crime sooner.
Philippot, Feldman and Coats, P, R and E, (1999) “The Social Context of Nonverbal Behaviour”, Cambridge, The Press syndicate of the University of Cambridge.
I have chosen this book as I feel that researching deeper into the actual psychology of our behaviour would be really interesting. This book aims to give the reader an understanding on the subject of nonverbal behaviour in a theoretical manner. It is edited by three professors but throughout the book has numerous contributors who are all highly respected from all over the world. A lot of the information is science based and is written based in conjunction with a variety of theories and studies. I feel this would be a really interesting read and something which would be highly useful as once we can begin to grasp an understanding on the psychological reasons we are half way there as body language and our actions are linked directly to our thoughts and minds.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
So for the next part of design studies we were given the task of brainstorming the design ideas related specifically different aspects in Malcolm Gladwell's 'The Tipping Point.' For this I met up with some of my fellow textile colleagues and we brainstormed as a collective group therefore benefiting from each others ideas and train of thought. We began with a huge blank canvas on which by the end was completely bursting with potential design related ideas and topics. The chosen method to record our thoughts was post it notes. None of us had ever used this method before but since it had been recommended to us we decided to give it a shot and I'm really glad we did. It was quick, simple and really effective as well as allowing us to keep it organised by colour coding the different areas using different colours of post it notes. So to begin with we started with 'The Stickiness Factor' which were recorded on green. To kick start this brainstorm we talked about the Ipod and how it was one of the stickiest pieces of technology any of us could think remember. We spoke about how convenient it was for the consumer i.e. it was lightweight, portable, a single unit, easy to use and most of all affordable. From this we moved on to thinking about advertising and how certain advertising methods where the reason why certain products have become so sticky. For example the colours related to certain companies, cadburys and the colour purple. Also the different types of advertising methods, tv commercials, the internet, magazines, posters and slogans to name a few. A key advert which sprung to our minds was coca cola and how this is always on around the christmas period and has a polar bear or the father christmas figure as well as being associated with the colour red. Examples from the slogan discussion would be the famous nike slogan; the tick and also the catchphrases supermarkets have such as Tescos; 'Every little helps.' This is only touching the surface of what we discussed concerning the stickiness factor.
Moving on now to the next main chapter in 'The Tipping Point' we tackled, the law of the few (pink post it notes.) Within this field of discussion the main three points were Mavens, Salesmen and Connectors. Out of the three areas this was probably the most successful concerning the sheer amount of ideas we were firing out there. We began by posing the question of what relates to salesmen? Key issues and words such as publicity, catalogues, internet and shop layout came up. How the salesmen target their consumers? How they attacked each generation for example offering student discounts or having offers and promotion nights. For the connectors we came up with the idea that they connected people, industries and ideas all around the world. Twitter, facebook,google, call centers and social networking in general was a huge area which our discussion was based upon. We found as we went on further into our discussion ideas from previous areas all connected and this was the useful thing about using post it notes as we were able to move them about easily therefore being able to visually see important links and connections. Finally we spoke about mavens such as watchdog, review websites and price comparison for example compare the meerkats which when we spoke about it had the horrendous sticky tune from the advert in our heads all day!
Lastly we discussed the power of context in relation to design solutions. This area proved to be the most challenging for coming up with ideas for. Crime was one of the main points which we based this section of our brainstorm on. Topics such as the broken window theory which Gladwell spoke about in the book and the prison experiment made us think about the prison system which sparked a lot of potential. From uniforms to community projects aiming to prevent youth crime and advertising
where some of the main points. Another crucial topic was identity and we spoke about how some people would consider this an invasion of privacy and whether finger print checks, eye scanners and id cards are acceptable in society today. Finally the we spoke about the No.150 theory and how it may determine the level of success for a business. If you think about it if a firm or business has only a close knit number of people then it would a more personal and comfortable environment to work in. However on the other hand it could spark big egos or too many different ideas could arise causing conflict and subsequently causing a lower rate of success. I also took part in a documented video of our discussion but unfortunately I have been unable to upload it here but it can be viewed on my colleagues blog using the following link http://helenwhithamtextiles.blogspot.com/
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Flying from Belfast to Dundee is a unique experience as the plane is so tiny as you can imagine. All I could think of as the pilot began to speak to us over the speakers is will this tiny plane be able to cope with the weather conditions. Would it be sturdy enough? As we took off it became evident that it was going to be a bumpy journey. The experience was more pleasant than I had first anticipated although on landing the sensation of the plane swaying up and down and side to side was one which one passenger did not appreciate as on landing she let out a scream. This state of panic rippled down the plane as we all looked at each other, my heart was in my mouth. Now that I am safely back in my flat and looking back at the experience it is incredible to think that technology and design is so far advanced that I was in one country this morning and a few hours later I'm back in Dundee...
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
My project for week 5 was to create 3 A4 compositions using a digital tool. The aim of this project was to help incorporate using digital tools such as photoshop in my visual research process. To begin with we were to use only black and white sources and so I decided to use my black and white mark making drawings I did in week 1. After scanning in these images I began to resize and manipulate them using photoshop. I learnt a number of new techniques and once I got into the swing of things I really enjoyed beginning to see how my original source drawings transformed into exciting unrecognisable compositions. By using different layers and tools my designs really began to come alive especially when I introduced colour into the equation. On completion of this project I am now more confident and eager to use digital tools in the future within my designs and I feel that having topped up my knowledge of how to use digital tools in this manner I feel like the world is my oyster concerning the huge variety of potential it can provide for me as a designer.