knowl124: November 2011 Archives

Psychology and Architecture

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I entered the U last year as a pre-graphic design major and took a class called Introduction to Design Thinking. It was an awesome class that really changed the way I think about much of the world around me. Now, I'm a public relations major but also pursuing a minor in design because I believe design these days is very thoroughly integrated and important in our lives.
One thing we discussed in class is how design can make you feel. I found this article on wired.com and was intrigued. It lists numerous studies that show that design of rooms can influence the way we think. I always think discoveries like this are pretty nuts. I mean, imagine if we could make people more productive or better at certain tasks just by putting them in different environments. I work for the U's School of Nursing as a Communications and New Media intern and they actually had published an article in last semester's newsletter about hospital architecture and its effects on patient healing. Unfortunately I couldn't find the article online but there are many very similar to it. The neat thing about the SON article though was that apparently there's a set of classes they have set up for students in the health field to take pertaining to this subject. I really love seeing so many subjects of my interest become intertwined- psychology, design and bettering the world.

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Like many of my peers, I enjoy tuning into the Public Radio International program, This American Life hosted by Ira Glass. Last week's episode was focused on the Middle School Experience, largely reflected on as one of the most brutal parts of a person's life. Middle school is prime time for much of the learning and development we've been discussing in lecture and recitation so it was a bit shocking (and yet hysterical) when the first person interviewed, actually a producer on the show who had taught previously taught in a middle school, says, "I don't know that they actually learn anything..." His stance is that so much mentally (Erikson's "identity crisis" for example), physically and socially is going on that facts and figures simply don't stick. Another interviewee, a middle school principal disagrees and believes that middle school is a very important environment because it's largely where kids are learning how to properly socialize and become adults. She seems to take an approach I believe in, that it's how the parents, teachers and other adults in middle schoolers' lives react to the kids' thoughts and feelings and changes their going through, because "We can't help what's biologically going on with them." Nurture, rather than nature. Each act depicts trials and triumphs of middle school life with the final act containing an unexpected twist- the power of peer pressure for good; a teacher using her students' newly developing empathy to assist a classmate with anger issues by talking through his problems and finding solutions rather than bickering back and forth.
The episode was awesome because of how easy it is to relate to it. I don't know that I know of anyone who claims that middle school was an enjoyable experience; however, looking back and especially with further knowledge on adolescent development, I find it hard to not appreciate middle school for the experience.
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This page is an archive of recent entries written by knowl124 in November 2011.

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