The “Smirk seen ’round the world”

sandmannInteresting situation from a TOK perspective. Below is a collection of articles about the topic. They raise a lot of interesting questions about how we acquire knowledge and the relationships among the various ways of knowing. It also lends itself to ask about the primacy of some WOKs over others.

 

Download Lesson plan on “the smirk”

Download smirk articles handout

TOK Day 31 (daily student worksheet)

What’s also interesting is how impactful the image was. The image seemed to be a perfect representation of how many people view the current moment in the United States. It fit perfectly into prior assumptions about the world and spoke to a deeper truth. Interpreting and explaining this image!and fitting it into preexisting mental schema seemed pretty easy.

Once more and more videos started to emerge and the greater context became known, there were some interesting developments. Some people Continue reading “The “Smirk seen ’round the world””

Using virtual reality to promote empathy

This article brings together many concepts from TOK including the role of sense perception and its connection to our emotions as well as the role of perspective in acquiring knowledge and the power of shifting perspectives.

“This article, by leading social entrepreneur Dr Alexandra Ivanovitch, explores how VR works in practice, the cognitive and psychological mechanisms underlying VR, and its potential application in the field of peacebuilding and conflict resolution. She reviews cutting-edge scientific research on how VR creates a “body ownership illusion” and “embodied cognition”, which help us transcend neurophysiological limitations inherent to our own point of view, and to adopt the perspective of another human being. The article also discusses experiments that show VR can reduce biases, build empathy and encourage prosocial behavior. Dr Ivanovitch calls for collaboration between technology, science and art to identify ways that immersive technology can be used to strengthen peace.”

http://www.centerforempathy.org/virtual-reality-the-frontier-of-peacemaking/

The Fallen of World War II

A really interesting video giving visual representations of the deaths during World War II. Watching this raises many interesting questions.

How do these visual representations give us a different sense of the war than history books would or simply looking at numbers on a page?

How can we accurately communicate truth?

What does it mean that after a certain point, numbers get so large that that we lose any sense of reality with them?

What is also interesting is that our sense of World War II is painted by our involvement in the war but when you look at the number of people killed, the United States was far from the worst off nation. Because the Soviet Union became our enemy after the war was over, we never really learn about (or care about) how disastrous the war was for them or how much they lost during the war.

How does our historical perspective distort our sense of accuracy and historical truth? What role do our emotions play when it comes to topics like this?

Mood And The Visual System – Optimists Literally See Better

“Seeing the world through ‘rose-colored glasses’  may be more biological reality than metaphor, according to a University of Toronto study that provides the first direct evidence that our mood literally changes the way our visual system filters our perceptual experience.”

http://www.science20.com/news_articles/mood_and_visual_system_optimists_literally_see_better

How we feel affects what we see

“Thus, positive moods enhanced peripheral vision and increased the extent to which the brain encoded information in those parts of the visual field, to which the participants did not pay attention. Conversely, negative moods decreased the encoding of peripheral information. But does the enhanced peripheral vision that occurs because of positive mood induction come at the expense of central (or “foveal”) vision? Schmitz and his colleagues compared FFA activity in the positive and negative mood induction trials, but found no difference. The enhanced peripheral vision following positive mood induction does not, therefore, occur as a result of a trade-off with central vision.”

http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2009/06/08/how-we-feel-affects-what-we-see/

Quiz: Can you read people’s emotions?

“If you are among those people who are mystified by moods, new research offers hope. A new study shows that certain types of reading can actually help us improve our sensitivity IQ. To find out how well you read the emotions of others, take the Well quiz, which is based on an assessment tool developed by University of Cambridge professor Simon Baron-Cohen.”

Here is a handout I made based on the quiz

can you read people_s emotions

Click below for the full quiz

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/well-quiz-the-mind-behind-the-eyes/