Category Archives: Visual Thinking

Cyber-Physical World

Analyzing using Argument Maps

Source: Princeton Alumni Weekly, Jan 2015

Human Four-Dimensional Spatial Intuition in Virtual Reality

Source: Questia, Oct 2009

we show evidence that people with basic geometric knowledge can learn to make spatial judgments on the length of, and angle between, line segments embedded in four-dimensional space viewed in virtual reality with minimal exposure to the task and no feedback to their responses. Their judgments incorporated information from both the three-dimensional (3-D) projection and the fourth dimension, and the underlying representations were not algebraic in nature but based on visual imagery, although primitive and short lived. These results suggest that human spatial representations are not completely constrained by our evolution and development in a 3-D world.

Much effort has been made to challenge this cognitive limitation and to develop human four-dimensional (4-D) intuitions (Davis, Hersh, & Marchisotto, 1995; Gardner, 1969; Rucker, 1984; Seyranian, 2001; Weeks, 1985). Two basic techniques were proposed to help people obtain an intuition of 4-D space.

The first is by analogy to 3-D space. This technique has been widely used. For example, Berger (1965; Abbott, 1991) explained how a 4-D creature can enter a 3-D locked closet from the fourth dimension by describing how a 3-D creature enters a two-dimensional (2-D) enclosure from above without touching its walls.

The second technique is to lift an observer into the higher dimensional space, so that he or she can directly experience it perceptually (Abbott, 1991; Berger, 1965; Rucker, 1984; Seyranian, 2001). For example, Abbott suggested that a 2-D creature can obtain 3-D intuition when it is taken into the 3-D space and views its world from above. Although this approach is hypothesized to be the most powerful means of acquiring 4-D intuition, it was not possible to implement the technique until virtual reality was available (D’Zmura, Colantoni, & Seyranian, 2000; Francis, 2005).

Our Brains Process Visuals 60,000X Faster than Text

Understanding Visual Language

Source: Fast Company, Jun 2015

Symbolic icons tend to last.

A question designers may ask linguists has to do with how language changes over time. If language constantly changes because people and their culture evolve, why should the more visual aspects of language not follow suit, including the language of man-made objects?

Language is not just verbal or written. Speech as a means of communication cannot strictly be separated from the whole of human communicative activity, which also includes the visual. The word “imagination” definitely suggests that we can also think in images.

Visual language is defined as a system of communication using visual elements.The term visual language in relation to vision describes the perception, comprehension, and production of visible signs. Just as people can verbalize their thinking, they can visualize it.

A diagram, a map, and a painting are all examples of uses of visual language. Its structural units include line, shape, color, form, motion, texture, pattern, direction, orientation, scale, angle, space, and proportion. The elements in an image represent concepts in a spatial context, rather than the time-based linear progression used in talking and reading. Speech and visual communication are parallel and often interdependent means by which humans exchange information.



Dan Roam’s Visuals

Source: Unfolding the Napkin, 2009

Dan Roam Visual Figures 001For more tools, see HERE.

How Visual Thinking Improves Writing

Source: KQED Mindshift, Nov 2013

writing without fear of consequences is key to developing a writer’s voice.

it’s important for students to have a space to express themselves without specific writing assignments or limitations. They write and draw what matters in their own lives and in the process develop their voice, humor, and point of view. They get to play with language and break out of cookie cutter forms of writing like the persuasive essay.