Planning the next 4 weeks

Despite reading various articles and seeing various videos, I am still slightly unsure about which path I want to take – whether I want to focus my research on using color as therapy for illnesses or further investigating synesthests’ experiences in daily life. Both topics are fascinating.

Over the next four weeks, I will continue to look for articles and videos that relate to my topic and hopefully narrow down my research topic.

In the mean time, I have compiled  a list of people I can interview to gain more information about the subject matter:

  • Talking to Reshma Stafford, a psychologist based in New Jersey – I could ask her what she knows about psychology of color & if she has ever dealt with patients who have synesthesia. While synesthesia is not a disorder by itself, perhaps people have felt shunned from society for being different
  • Design some sort of experiment where I can observe people’s subconscious reactions to different colors
  • Talk to design professionals (here at The New School as well as my high school art teachers) about color psychology & art therapy
  • Joanne Pereira – my high school art teacher based in Dubai. She currently works with Jam Jar, a creative space that provides free canvases and paints for the public. It makes art accessibly to all by creating a platform for dialogue and interaction to an array of individuals. Pereira could perhaps throw light on how the public interacts with art, and whether she has observed a change in children’s behaviour (the primary clients)
  • Try and find people who have synesthesia, in order to understand their experience better. Through word of mouth, I hope to find at least a few people in New York City who come forth to be interviewed
  • Pooja Varier – Pooja is a high school friend of mine who is soon obtaining her undergraduate degree in Psychology this June. I will email her and ask her if she has come across any readings on this topic, or if she has heard of interesting scenarios that may help my research
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Reading between the colors [02/15 – 02/22]

Below are 3 readings which I think will be beneficial to my research. The two books are ones I found online. While I haven’t read the entire books, the several pages I read were informative.

Dayton , Lily. “The blended senses of synesthesia.” Los Angeles Times

The Blended senses of Synesthesia

The newspaper article discusses the experiences of synesthetes as they taste numbers, feel colors or have other sensations triggered by sensations. On a more interesting note, it states that scientists today are studying the brains of synesthetes, whose condition may provide clues for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia. Like synesthesia, many neurological disorders have been linked to abnormal communication between brain regions; scientists are trying to understand “how a different activity pattern in (the) brain can change the way (one) perceives reality.”

Kargare, Audrey. Color & Personality

In this book, Dr. Audrey Kargere deals with the various psychological aspects of color, its effects on personality, relationship to music as well as practical applications in fashion, art and outdoor and indoor decoration. Dr. Kargere goes on to explain how color may even positively or negatively affect illnesses as sever as cancer. She outlines ways to use color as a value adjunct to fuller living

Malchiodi, Cathy A. Breaking the silence: art therapy with children from violent homes

In her book, Cathy Malchiodi recognizes the role of art and play as critical tools that facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of various disorders amongst children. Her book is a useful tool for both trained and untrained professionals who seek to assists children in crisis, especially those who come from violent homes and/or who live in homeless shelters.

Videos on synesthesia [viewed between 02/15 – 02/22

Over the 1 week, I came across various videos about synesthesia & color therapy on YouTube & Ted Talks…Below are 3 videos on synesthesia that interested me.

This documentary about synesthesia is directed by Jonathan Fowler. Various synesthetes of different ages have been interviewed, and each states their experiences.

In Terri Timely’s short film, two Asian boys are portrayed with a different kind of synesthesia. The young boy sitting on the floor perceives smells as colors – as he smells each record, he states what color it smells like. The other boy perceives taste a sound – he ‘listens’ to the different foods he interacts with. The items that come out of the large speakers indicate how sound can be perceived as different colors, shapes or textures.

Ted Ideas Worth Spreading: All kinds of minds

In this TED Talk, Daniel Tammet, a lingual, numerical and visual synesthete shares his art and passion for languages into his beautiful mind. He talks and displays his perception of words, numbers and colors to the audience, helping them understand the way a synesthete perceives the world.

Initial doodles

Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Do you see the color purple when you read the number 3? Can you feel voices in your head?

Color is a powerful communication tool, and can evoke moods and feelings. The psychological power of color is fascinating, and is something I wish to further investigate. Color and art is further being used as a form of therapy to treat patients with disorders, and help children and adults cope with trauma.

During my research, I stumbled upon the term “synesthesia” – Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more senses. Another form of synesthesia joins objects such as shapes, letters, numbers, or people’s names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavour. It is a joined perception.

I am still slightly unsure as to how I want to narrow my research topic into…All are fascinating topics, but unfortunately time is against me! As I dwell over which path I want to take, some of the questions I may consider include (but aren’t limited to) :

  • Why is color such a powerful force in our lives?
  • What effects can it have on our bodies and minds?
  • How can we change our interior decorations to invoke a certain mood?
  • How can I use art to release stress?
  • Is my hearing of a sound accentuated with a visual?