PSYC54: Cognition and Representation
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PSYC54 Simon Hayhoe in Axel and Levent, on HISTORY: Condensed NOTES

"The Development of Research into the Psychology of Visual Impairment in the Visual Arts." Pages 84--95In sum: Very critical start! Sets limits on progress so far. Aims high at end.

  1. Alas, mostly to do with perception, in clinics. Not in subject’s settings, on their art, nonintrusively. In the field, just about communication.
  2. Parts: 1= Perception. 2= Education in visual arts. 3=On communication
  3. Perception: On Molyneux’s question (1690): new vision can tell cube from sphere? Berkeley: No, distance not seen at first. Many accepted this.
  4. Overthrowing Berkeley’s NO: To Von Senden TOUCH has no clear distance percept! Revesz: Yes, blind do have spatial percepts. But no "beauty" or "artistic images," no "diversity of nature…rich and various appearances of objects." No "new forms of expression," and no "free fantasy arising from the symbolic comprehension of nature." Von Senden studied recovery of sight from surgery on cornea.
  5. Advance: Gregory and Wallace: regaining sight, SB drew (despite being "doubtful of his ability to draw") and saw distances albeit mistaking far things as nearby. But saw no depth in perspective drawings. Gregory theorized cross modal "transfer" occurred. (Like Sack’s case, with similar operation, vision proved distracting and depressing.)
  6. ART: In Austria, Lowenfeld taught Camilla (blind and deaf) to sculpt. Touch arm, touch modeled clay, touch arm, touch modeled clay….response "Eeee!"= insight that A resembles AND represents B, i.e. with intention?
  7. Helen Keller: touch is "potent," has "delights" and ministers to growth, strength and balance.
  8. Benson: hundreds of words depend on touch: hot, cold, sharp, smooth, soft, rough
  9. COMMUNICATION: Ordinary words are often about nonvisual things (eg buzz). Technology can reduce or eliminate differences, and allow full participation in work and daily life, and in integrated schools.
  10. Project Zero deems the arts cognitive (seeking equivalents for ideas and experiences, inventive, insightful, attention demanding, symbolic). Kennedy tested communication via tactile drawings, and found outline apt. See also Hinton, Pring and Heller. They move to practicality. But are obsessed with touch. The research could move into creativity, motivation, inclusion, greater contexts, way beyond this "good start."
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