Dissertation Research Proposal – Process & Development

Process and Development

My process for this project has been a simple one. I am enthusiastic and interested in the topics I have brought up in my dissertation research proposal, I can’t be considered to have much expertise in any of the relevant topics, I am simply a curious lay person. What I was immediately drawn to doing was drawing from my own knowledge gained through reading articles from publications such as the New Scientist and National Geographic magazines for which my brother has subscriptions. I simply borrow them and skim the articles I find most intriguing.

It is in the nature of these topics that they should hold a human-interest element. After all, they are entirely intertwined with the human experience. Why wouldn’t we want to know more about ourselves? The entirety of scientific endeavour is centred on the motivation to come to understand more about ourselves and our place in the Universe. Now, for this research proposal I stand, almost entirely on the shoulders of scientific visionaries who first determined the nature of aspect of human perception and understanding. What I aim for is simply a glimpse into the world in which they work.

Rather than bury myself in academic literature in order to find a worthy topic of study to focus on. I have begun my search by drawing from incomplete knowledge and factoids collected over the years that have stuck with me due to their fascinating nature. Pop science, as it is called, has allowed me to get my foot in the door with many of these topics. This, then, is my basis for study. The things I have gleamed from shows such as QI, that is where I first came to know about the Rorschach ink blot test for example.

What I found most effective in developing my essay, was to search literature, be that academic articles, books or web pages, that featured they key words I knew of but did not have the full grasp of. I then took it upon myself to delve deeply into these areas of thought and learn from previous works and derive from them a basis for my dissertation research proposal.

This was my rationale for studying Pareidolia in my original essay. The phenomenon is but one of many, but it is so tangible to any person, regardless of their education in the relevant field. If a person was to pause and look around, they are likely to see that at least one object in their field of view, could, no matter how abstract the form, find a pattern within it that could be construed as a face. Not only this, but it is likely that they could describe the expression of the face, it could look haggard and old or friendly and open. These side effects of our evolution are fascinating to me as they show how much of our day to day lives are ruled by unconscious decision making.

This essay, of course, is simply a signal of intention and to some extent a scaffolding which provides the skeleton of my dissertation, so alterations may occur by the time it reaches its final incarnation. It does not define my future work, it simply informs the direction of my inquiry.

Although I have not specifically addressed and researched thoroughly the ideas of the unconscious mind. I would like to delve deeper into the idea that our minds are changed before we even realise it. There are numerous scientific theories and experiments that suggest that we are not in control of our own actions. That, in fact, our minds are made up before we consciously make a decision. Although we do not realise it, the cards are already dealt. To understand further, the way in which our minds work, and this phenomenon operates would be fascinating to me.

I have to admit, the reason I chose this topic, was less to do with its value to my practice, originally, but more of a fascinating topic to me personally. I find it very difficult to write extensively on a topic that does not hold my attention. Happily, however, the topic of human perception and psychology is incredibly broad and its value and relation to the day to day world and more specifically, graphic communication, is very clear.

I doubt there are many people who, when shown a phenomenon such as the Rorschach ink blot test or the various incarnations of the grid illusion, would not recognise them, as they have permeated popular culture quite significantly, or at the very least, to see and comprehend the illusion or the furtherance of perception that they cause in them. That is their value to me as subjects of study and as references supporting my ideas. They are not complex at their core. The explanations as to why they cause us to see what is not necessarily there, or more fully explainable as, why they alter our perception, is more complex. But I aim to draw people into the study of these phenomena slowly, without bombarding them with jargon and overly complex ideas.

One issue I have found while researching this board subject, have been to find scholarly, peer reviewed articles that appear in reputable journals. That is not say that they are not there to find. But often they are so focused and in-depth and shed light on only a very specific set of ideas, that they are little use to me in writing this essay. They are also often so specialised and complex in their proposals, that I almost feel that I cannot justify using them as I do not have a firm grasp on the ideas proposed.

Development of my dissertation research proposal has been hugely informative to me, I have come to learn much and I hope that this accumulated knowledge will serve me well in writing my dissertation.




Constellation : The Meshwork of Objects •1•

Having found out that my topic for Level 5 constellation would be the Meshwork of Objects, today was the first lecture. In the lecture we explored the concepts of things and object and how we interact with the world around us. The work was very philosophical in nature and so explaining the concepts discussed may be slightly beyond me. I feel that my Constellation posts will steadily become more and more detailed as I progress through the course and come to understand in more depth.

The gist of the work we did was in looking at how we project on to the objects around us as we move through the world, as well as the effect they have on us. This was a tough concept to get my head around but we were given a practical demonstration using clay. We were asked to take the clay and form it into the tallest, most slender human figure we could manage.

As we constructed our figures many of us, including me, had a great deal of trouble. Clay, being so malleable, is easy to shape, but also not the best at load bearing, so many of our creations either fell apart of slowly sagged over time. As they did so, we balled the clay again and started fresh. As this continued the clay became dryer, less easy to shape and harder to stick together. It was a challenge that just kept getting more difficult.

Jacqui, our lecturer, explained that this was in order to demonstrate her philosophical question. Because it was evident that we were acting upon the clay, manipulating it, as it was simply an inert object. But what she wanted us to understand that, as we affected the clay, the clay changed and refused to to be worked. The clay changed its properties and stopped many of us from creating what had been asked of us.

From this, I learned that objects may appear inert and unchanging. But as we move through the world and interact with them, our experience of them is what makes them real to us. A car for example, is simply a part of modern life. It is a thing we use to commute. But when a car breaks down, it has affected us, we aren’t going anywhere. And that’s when we truly notice it. In short, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.