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authors Liu, Y.T.
year 1994
title Some Phenomena of seeing shapes in design
source Design Studies, v 16, n 3, pp. 367-385
summary This paper is a look at some of the pyschological results that suggest how shape emergence manifest itself in the human mind. The first interesting result goes back to top down expectation guiding recognition. Some experimental suggest that it is easier (quicker) to recognize shapes which we have some alternate mental familiarity. (I.E. verbal, structural descriptions). So if we can easily say a shape then we can easily discern it as an emergent shape. The paper then goes on to discuss the definition of emergent subshapes and gives various authors definitions of what makes up and emergent shape. One interesting classification is the difference between explicit and implicit emergent shapes made by Mitchell. This difference amounts to a fine line between imagination and emergence. The results of an experiment between experienced and in-experienced designers is discussed. The results suggest that experienced designers are able to find more emergent shape than non experienced designers. From these results and from the opinions of others, the author goes on to specify 3 phenomena related to emergent recognition. The first is as above that it is easier to see shapes with which we are familiar. Second from this, the harder shapes are found after the initial period. Third, from the first two, time is required to find more subshapes. The author then searches for an explanation of this phenomena. He suggests that the underlying cause is related to an experience person having a lower threshold of what it is to be a member of a shape. When seeing an L shape the experienced design is likely to consider it also a square, because his requirement for the set of features which must be present for some object to be a considered a square is a smaller set than the inexperienced. While the author suggests that this is a phenomena it is actually an hypothesis. An alternate hypothesis may be that top down inhibitions effect the bottom up performance of the inexperienced design more because of different representation.
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