Sensthetics: a crossmodal approach to the perception, and conception, of our environments

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Title: Sensthetics: a crossmodal approach to the perception, and conception, of our environments
Author: Nanda, Upali
Abstract: This dissertation counters the visual bias , and the simplistic approach to the senses , in architectural thought , by investigating the connections among different sense modalities (sight , sound , smell , taste and touch ) . Literature from the cognitive sciences shows that sensory modalities are connected perceptually ; what we see affects what we hear , what we smell affects what we taste , and so on . This has a direct impact on the perceptual choices we make in our day -to -day lives . A case study conducted in an urban plaza investigates the perceptual choices people make (or what they attend to ) as they explore their physical environment . Results show that people construct subjective and embodied mental maps of their environments where sensory impressions are integrated with cognitive concepts such as emotions or object recognition . Furthermore , when one sense is muted (such as closing the eyes ) other senses are prioritized . A theoretical framework termed as the "Sensthetic Model" is developed illustrating the interdependence of sensory , kinesthetic and cognitive factors , and the hierarchical and lateral relationship between sense -modalities . The latter is the focus of studies with architecture students in abstract thinking exercises : a ) Hierarchical : Students perceive a hierarchy of senses (sensory order ) when they think about different places . Vision is primary , but not always . Touch , classically relegated to the bottom of the hierarchy , is often higher in the hierarchy and coupled with sound . b ) Lateral : Students associate colors with different sounds , smells , textures , temperatures , emotions and objects and cross over modalities conceptually , with a degree of consistency . There are more associations with emotions and objects (which are not constrained to a single sense -modality ) , than with purely sensory images . Finally , the theoretical model is further developed as a tool to think "across" modalities (crossmodally ) based on the identification of sensory orders and sensory correspondences . By focusing on the sensory modalities (nodes ) and the relationships among them (connections ) , the model serves as a conceptual tool for professionals to create sensory environments . This dissertation is an initial step beyond the aesthetics of appearance , towards the Sensthetics of experience .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /3215
Date: 2006-04-12

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Sensthetics: a crossmodal approach to the perception, and conception, of our environments. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /3215 .

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