How do people translate immediate sensory inputs and use the result to mentally construct an environment around them?
In this iteration, I will start engaging with my subjects in a common area, blindfold them and bring them into a room, have them wear earplugs and conduct the following experiment. After the experiment, I will first interview my subjects. I will then ask them to take on my role of performing the same experiment, with the next subject.
- The subject will be brought into a room and stand on a slightly elevated platform, small so they can feel the edges easily and should not leave the platform.
- I will instruct them to use their sense of touch, then have them wear earplugs for the duration of the experiment.
- They will be entrapped on 3 or more sides by cardboard, which is cladded with various materials.
- As they touch each wall, I will use various instruments to hit the surfaces around them to create senses of vibration through the connected surfaces.
- A structure that encapsulates the subject on at least three sides (cardboard w/ dowels)
- Textures: felt, reflective paper, cardboard, mirror;
- Props: bouncy ball, wool roll, duct tape,
- The subjects find it harder to visualize the objects from their sound, than the other way around--looking at an object and trying to imagine the sound it makes.
- I put too much emphasis on the guided blind-tour before the actual exercise. However it did provide a good segway for people to transition mentally into an unfamiliar space.
- The subjects did not establish any kind of correlation between the textures they touch and the sound they hear. They sometimes would take the sound as instruction or encouragement for them to continue to move.
- The various sounds do inspire people to visualize objects in their head, which are often inaccurate.
- People tend to understand enclosure better as they sense a familiar form (for example a cubicle).
In the next prototype, I would like to create a environment that has disorienting visual clues that are constantly changing and/or responsive. This could be in a VR space or a physical space where the subject's vision and movement are limited.