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Visual Symbols and the Blind

Part 1 From a number of recent studies, it has become clear that blind people can appreciate the use of outlines and perspectives to describe the arrangement of objects and other surfaces in space. But pictures are more than literal representations. This fact was drawn to my attention dramatically when a blind woman in one of my investigations decided on her own initiative to draw a wheel as it was spinning. To show this motion, she traced a curve inside the circle (Fig. 1 . ! was ta"en abac". #ines of motion, such as the one she used, are a very recent invention in the history of illustration. !ndeed, as art scholar $avid %un&le notes, 'ilhelm Busch, a trend(setting nineteenth(century cartoonist, used virtually no motion lines in his popular figures until about 1)**. 'hen ! as"ed several other blind study subjects to draw a spinning wheel, one particularly clever rendition appeared repeatedly+ several subjects showed the wheel,s spo"es as curved lines. 'hen as"ed about these curves, they all described them as metaphorical ways of suggesting motion. -ajority rule would argue that this device somehow indicated motion very well. But was it a better indicator than, say, bro"en or wavy lines ( or any other "ind of line, for that matter. The answer was not clear. /o ! decided to test whether various lines of motion were apt ways of showing movement or if they were merely idiosyncratic mar"s. -oreover, ! wanted to discover whether there were differences in how the blind and the sighted interpreted lines of motion. To search out these answers, ! created raised(line drawings of five different wheels, depicting spo"es with lines that curved, bent, waved, dashed and

Biểu tượng hình ảnh và Người mù. Ph0n 1 T1 r2t nhi3u c4c c5ng tr6nh nghi7n c8u g0n 9:y, r; r<ng r=ng ng>?i m@ cA thB 94nh gi4 viCc sD dEng nhFng 9>?ng b7n ngo<i v< phGi cHnh 9B m5 tH sI sJp KLp c4c 9M vNt v< nhFng b3 mOt "h4c trong "h5ng gian. Ph>ng c4c b8c tranh n<y cA Q nghRa hSn so vTi sI thB hiCn nghRa 9en cUa chVng. ThIc tL n<y 9W g:y chV Q 9Gi vTi t5i r2t mXnh mY "hi mZt ng>?i phE nF m@ thuZc mZt trong nhFng cuZc 9i3u tra cUa t5i 9W tI ra [uyLt 9\nh v3 s4ng "iLn cUa m6nh "hi vY mZt chiLc b4nh Ke "hi nA 9ang [uay. ]B minh hoX cho chuyBn 9Zng n<y, b< ta 9W vY mZt 9>?ng cong b7n trong h6nh tr^n (_6nh sG 1 . T5i giNt m6nh sDng sGt. `4c 9>?ng chuyBn 9Zng, nh> 9>?ng b< ta 9W sD dEng l< mZt ph4t minh r2t mTi (g0n 9:y trong l\ch sD minh hoX. ThIc ra, "hi hac giH nghC thuNt $avid %un&le l>u Q, 'ilhelm Busch, mZt ng>?i vY tranh biLm hoX gXo cZi thL "b 1c, 9W h0u nh> "h5ng sD dEng 9>dc mZt 9>?ng chuyBn 9Zng n<o trong nhFng nh:n vNt y7u chuZng cUa 5ng mWi cho 9Ln nem 1)**. %hi t5i y7u c0u mZt v<i 9Gi t>dng nghi7n c8u b\ m@ "h4c vY mZt chiLc b4nh Ke 9ang [uay, mZt sI thB hiCn 9Oc biCt th5ng minh Ku2t hiCn nhi3u l0n+ mZt sG vNt thB hiCn nhFng chiLc nan hoa nh> nhFng 9>?ng cong. %hi 9>dc hfi v3 nhFng 9>?ng cong n<y, ha 93u m5 tH nhFng 9>?ng cong nh> nhFng 9>?ng gn dE cho nhFng chuyBn 9Zng ha nghR ra. huy luNt cS bHn sY lNp luNn r=ng nhFng thiLt b\ n<y trong mZt ch1ng mIc n<o 9A chi ra nhFng chuyBn 9Zng r2t tGt. Ph>ng liCu 9:y cA phHi l< tjn hiCu tGt hSn, giH sD r=ng, nhFng 9>?ng 98t 9oXn hoOc gdn sAng ( hoOc b2t c8 loXi 9>?ng n<o "h4c, cho v2n 93 n<y "h5ng. `:u trH l?i "h5ng r; r<ng. k6 thL tGi 9W [uyLt 9\nh "iBm tra liCu nhi3u 9>?ng chuyBn 9Zng cA l< nhFng c4ch th8c thjch hdp trong viCc m5 tH chuyBn 9Zng hoOc nLu chVng chi l< nhFng d2u hiCu c4 biCt. _Sn thL, t5i muGn ph4t hiCn ra liCu cA sI "h4c biCt n<o trong viCc l<m thL n<o ng>?i m@ v< ng>?i "hiLm th\ hiBu c4c 9>?ng chuyBn 9Zng n<y nh> thL n<o. ]B t6m ra nhFng c:u trH l?i, t5i 9W tXo ra nhFng 9>?ng vY 9Jp nli cUa nem b4nh Ke "h4c nhau, m5 tH nhFng nan hoa vTi nhFng 9>?ng h6nh cong, h6nh Gng, gdn sAng, thmng v< v>dt ra "hfi chu vi b4nh Ke. /au 9A t5i y7u c0u 1) t6nh nguyCn vi7n m@ cHm nhNn v3 nhFng chiLc b4nh Ke v< g4n mZt trong nhFng chuyBn 9Zng sau cho mni chiLc b4nh+ rung lJc, [uay nhanh, [uay ln 9\nh, giNt cEc hoOc phanh. PhAm "iBm tra cUa t5i bao gMm 1) sinh vi7n "hiLm th\ ch>a tGt nghiCp t1 tr>?ng 9Xi hac Toronto. T2t cH tr1 mZt trong nhFng 9Gi t>dng

-y control group consisted of eighteen sighted undergraduates from the pniversity of Toronto. r. g4n {Ka| l< h6nh vu5ng . 9W ghi 9>dc sG 9iBm r2t tGt. -Zt ng>?i 9<n 5ng. nhiCm vE m< t5i trao cho ha cA li7n [uan tTi mZt sG c4ch giHi [uyLt v2n 93. une blind woman drew a picture of a child inside a heart ( choosing that symbol. thuNt ngF n<o cA li7n [uan tGt nh2t tTi h6nh tr^n v< thuNt ngF n<o cA li7n [uan tTi h6nh vu5ng. /ubjects assumed that spo"es eKtending beyond the wheel. spinning fast. -Zt ng>?i phE nF m@ 9W vY ra mZt b8c tranh cUa mZt 98a trx b7n trong mZt tr4i tim ( lIa chan biBu t>dng 9A. to show that love surrounded the child. a doctoral student from `hina. ng>?i m@ "h5ng chi 9o4n Q nghRa cUa mni 9>?ng chuyBn 9Zng m< "hi (th<nh mZt nhAm nh6nh chung ha cA thB bJt "\p c@ng Q nghRa chj jt c@ng t0n su2t nh> nhFng 9Gi t>dng ng>?i m@ 9W thIc hiCn. Ph0n t `hVng t5i ph4t hiCn ra r=ng ng>?i m@ hiBu nhFng loXi h6nh gn dE h6nh Hnh nFa. PhFng 9Gi t>dng n<y giH sD r=ng nhFng chiLc nan hoa v>dc ra "hfi chu vi cUa b4nh Ke biBu th\ r=ng b4nh Ke cA phanh gJn tr7n 9A v< nhFng chiLc nan hoa thmng chi cho th2y r=ng chiLc b4nh Ke n<y 9ang [uay r2t nhanh. ch\ nAi. t5i bJt 90u "h4m ph4 ng>?i m@ hiBu tGt nh> thL n<o v3 biBu t>dng 9=ng sau nhFng h6nh dXng nh> nhFng tr4i tim. qll but one of the blind subjects assigned distinctive motions to each wheel.eKtended beyond the perimeter of the wheel. _6nh dXng n<o 9i vTi 9Z c8ng. the favoured description for the sighted was the favoured description for the blind in every instance. ng>?i b\ m@ bgm sinh. they thought. %hi chVng t5i thD nghiCm } t6nh nguyCn vi7n m@ sD dEng c@ng mZt danh s4ch. Bwi v6 nhFng thiLt b\ chuyBn 9Zng l< "h5ng biLt 9Ln vTi ng>?i m@. ! have begun eKploring how well blind people understand the symbolism behind shapes such as hearts that do not directly represent their meaning. _0u hLt 93u 9o4n r=ng nhFng nan hoa 9>?ng cong n<y chi cho th2y r=ng chiLc b4nh Ke 9ang [uay nhanh mZt c4ch ln 9\nhr nhFng nan hoa h6nh gdn sAng. chVng t5i ph4t hiCn nhFng lIa chan cUa ha r2t giGng nhFng nhFng lIa chan cUa nhFng ng>?i "hiLm th\. kTi tr>?ng hdp `hang _ong #iu. she said. 'e gave a list of twenty pairs of words to sighted subjects and as"ed them to ng>?i m@ 9W g4n nhFng chuyBn 9Zng "h4c nhau cho mni b4nh Ke. qnh ta chi gh•p "h4c mZt thuNt ngF so vTi {sI 9Mng thuNn|. r<ng. _Sn thL nFa. m< biBu t>dng n<y "h5ng trIc tiLp thB hiCn Q nghRa cUa chVng. svidently. cho th2y chiLc b4nh Ke n<y 9ang rung lJcr nhFng nan hoa h6nh Gng 9W 9>dc sD dEng tjn hiCu (cA nghRa r=ng b4nh Ke 9A 9ang giNt cEc. mZt sinh vi7n y "hoa 9Ln t1 Trung huGc. ! then as"ed eighteen blind volunteers to feel the wheels and assign one of the following motions to each wheel+ wobbling. Tuy nhi7n. PhFng nhFng cOp "h4c thB hiCn jt sI 9Mng thuNn hSn+ *c~ gh•p nhanh vTi chNm v< yLu vTi "hox. suggested that the wheel was wobblingr and the bent spo"es were ta"en as a sign that the wheel was jer"ing. the tas" ! gave them involved some problem solving. /G liCu 90y 9U c}~ g4n hXnh phVc vTi h6nh tr^n thay v6 buMn. t5i 9W 9>a ra mZt danh mEc tz cOp t1 cho c4c 9Gi t>dng ng>?i "hiLm th\ v< y7u c0u ha lIa chan mni cOp. -Zt h6nh tr^n hay mZt h6nh vu5ng. Part t 'e have found that the blind understand other "inds of visual metaphors as well. 'hat is more. T2t cH nhFng 9Gi t>dng cUa chVng ta t>wng r=ng m3m l< h6nh tr^n v< rJn l< h6nh vu5ng. 'ith `hang _ong #iu. -ost guessed that the curved spo"es indicated that the wheel was spinning steadilyr the wavy spo"es. Pgo<i ra. but as a group they generally came up with the same meaning at least as fre[uently as did sighted subjects.s perimeter signified that the wheel had its bra"es on and that dashed spo"es indicated the wheel was spinning [uic"ly. !n addition. however. ha cho r=ng. l0n l>dt t>Sng 8ng (h6nh tr^n v< vu5ng . sI nh2t trj trong nhFng ng>?i "hiLm th\ chi cao hSn mZt chVt so vTi ng>?i m@. (•em h6nh sG t . sI m5 tH >a chuZng 9Gi vTi ng>?i "hiLm th\ cvng l< sI m5 tH m< ng>?i m@ >a chuZng trong mai tr>?ng hdp. the blind not only figured out meanings for each line of motion. k< chi cA €1~ gJn s:u vTi h6nh tr^n v< n5ng vTi h6nh vu5ng. jer"ing or bra"ing. 9B minh hoX r=ng t6nh y7u v:y [uanh 98a trx. kj dE nh> chVng t5i 9W hfi+ `4i g6 9i vTi {m3m|. spinoning steadily. Because motion devices are unfamiliar to the blind. the consensus among the sighted was barely higher than that among the blind.

scored eKtremely well.near. only a small majority of sighted subjects ( €‚~ ( had paired far and near to the opposite partners. But other pairs revealed less agreement+ *c~ matched fast to slow and wea" to strong.pic" from each pair the term that best related to a circle and the term that best related to a s[uare. we concluded that the blind interpret abstract shapes as sighted people do. _e made only one match differing from the consensus. t. 'hen we tested four totally blind volunteers using the same list. . Thus. to circle. v< {g0n| l< h6nh tr^n.far. 'hich shape goes with hard. assigning . qnd only €1~ lin"ed deep to circle and shallow to s[uare. we found that their choices closely resembled those made by the sighted subjects. q full c}~ ascribed happy to the circle. respectively. we as"ed+ 'hat goes with soft. who had been blind since birth. q circle or a s[uare. For eKample. qll our subjects deemed the circle soft and the s[uare hard. (/ee Fig. Tr7n thIc tL. chi [u4 nDa mZt chVt trong sG nhFng 9Gi t>dng "hiLm th\ ( €‚~ ( 9W gh•p c4c cOp Ka v< g0n tr4i ng>dc vTi c4c th<nh vi7n "h4c. chjnh v6 thL chVng t5i "Lt luNn r=ng ng>?i m@ hiBu nhFng h6nh dXng tr1u t>dng cvng nh> nhFng ng>?i "hiLm th\ hiBu. instead of sad. une man. !n fact. to s[uare and .

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