COM 2033 Study Guide [Exam 1]
The Visual and the Psyche
● Sigmund Freud (18561939)
● We can represent the psyche as an iceberg, with the conscious part of it being the 10% of ice that you see above the surface of the water, and conscious being the 90% you don’t see underneath the waves.
● Divided the Psyche into Id, Ego, and Superego.
○ Id (drives, impulses, sexual desire)
■ If the Id is too dominant in people, they have lots of energy but that energy lacks focus and they go from one thing to another quickly to satisfy their impulses.
○ Ego (balances id/superego, uses defense mechanisms, knowledge of reality)
○ Superego (conscience, guilt, aspirations, focus and direction)
■ If the superego is too dominant in people, they lack focus and
energy and are consumed by guilt.
● Carl Jung (18751961)
○ The psyche is divided into shadow and the ego. The shadow contains positive traits such as creativity, and the ego contains negative traits such as destructive attitudes.
○ Jungians believe the men have feminine qualities (anima) and women have masculine qualities (animus)
○ “Jung adds that the unconscious is the repository of things that we have seen, things that have happened to us, and ideas we have forgotten about” (5).
● Imagination exists in the mind, while the image for our purposes is tangible and visible. But the image is often a product of imagination, which means that the visible image is strongly connected to the mental one.
Ways to Understand Images
1. Literal: What we see in the image
2. Textual: Where the image fits in the text
3. Intertextual: Similar images called to mind from other texts
Don't forget about the age old question of jeremiah hower fiu
4. Mythic: Relation to myths and legends.
The Functions of Art
1. Substitute imagery
a. In cases where the appearance of something needed to be preserved for one reason or another, art made pictures that could be substituted for the actual thing.
a. Art made images or shapes (including photographs) that could be used in whole or part to tell stories or record events vividly.
a. Art made images which by association of shapes with ideas set forth the fundamental convictions or realized ideals of societies.
a. Art beautified the world by pleasing the eye or gratifying the mind; what particular combination of forms, arrangements, colors, proportions or ornament accomplished this end in any given society depended on what kinds of illustration or conviction or persuasion a society required its arts to provide. We also discuss several other topics like What is a hydrogen bonding?
● Maimonides (11351204) Medieval Jewish philosopher. Compares concept of image with that of likeness and of form in order to understand the meaning of the phrase in Genesis, “Let us make man in our image.”
○ Defined God’s “image” as having intellectual apprehension, not shape and configuration. “Image” does not refer to the physical form of God.
■ Here, we see that image can be defined in two ways: likeness and form, where likeness is physical appearance and form is the
● Sigmund Freud (18561939) Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis.
● Carl Jung (18751961) A Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology.
● Alan Gowans Theorizes the Functions of Art.
● M.M. Bakhtin Russian media theorist, talks about intertextuality (see his quote on page 9).
● Marcel Dansei Semiotician who also writes about intertextuality (see his quote on page 9).
● Tony Schwartz Author of the book, The Responsive Chord.
○ According to Schwartz, what communication does is not transfer information from a sender to a receiver but strike a responsive chord in people using information already stored in the mind of the receiver. If you want to learn more check out psyc 305 concordia
● Images A representation of the external form of a person or thing in art. ● Psyche The totality of the human mind, the conscious and unconscious. Divided into three parts known as the Id, Ego, and Superego.
● Id Represents drives, impulses, and sexual desire.
● Ego Mediates between the two forces and involves the way individuals relate to their environment.
○ *The ego has various defense mechanisms to balance the Id and Superego.
■ Sublimation The redirection of id energy from sexual matters to other areas, such as artistic expression.
● Superego Embodies moral beliefs (conscience) and ideal aspirations. ● Intertextuality The “borrowing” by the creators of texts from previous texts. In many cases it is done unconsciously.
● Responsive Chord Theory Argues the communication process relies, to a great degree, on information people already know.
○ What communication does, in effect, is to strike responsive chords using the material stored in our minds. Don't forget about the age old question of umass geo
● Psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud) Aims to treat mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind by techniques such as dream interpretation and free association.
● Analytical Psychology (Carl Jung) A school of psychology that emphasizes the importance of the individual psyche and the personal quest for wholeness.
● The retina is composed of three main parts: the fovea, the macula, and your peripheral vision.
● Adults typically spend 8.5 hours a day looking at screens.
● A typical American is exposed to 61 minutes of television commercials and promotions every day.
● We all have the same eyes, but what we see, or perhaps what we focus on, differs from culture to culture.
● E.H. Gombrich
○ Perception “is always an active process, conditioned by our expectations and adapted to situations. Instead of talking about seeing and knowing, we might do a little better to talk about seeing and noticing. We also discuss several other topics like western civilization exam 1
○ We have to look for something in order to see it.
● Correspondence Theory of Truth the notion that there is a correspondence between what we believe and what is true about the “real world.”
○ However, with modern photo and video editing, much of what we see isn’t really. Much of what we see in the media, we can no longer believe.
The Social Aspects of the Visual
● We gain a great deal of information about others (and provide a great deal of information about ourselves) on the basis of visual perceptions.
○ Applies to fashion, cars, houses, attractiveness, etc. Don't forget about the age old question of bsci login
● Our identities are to a great degree fashioned by what have been called “significant others” via the feedback they give us about ourselves.
The Visual and Personal Identity
● It might be argued that what we are or become is affected to a considerable extent by what we look like.
● Ferdinand de Saussure
○ The relation between the signifier, or marker (what he called a sound or object), and it’s signified, or meaning is arbitrary and based on convention. ● Semiotics
○ We are always sending messages to others about ourselves based on matters such as our hairstyles, our body decorations, our clothes, our shoes, our use of language, our body language and our props.
○ Our hair is one of the first things people notice about us and one of the primary ways we declare our identity to them.
● “So, our identities are a combination of our personalities, our characters (including national character), our occupations, our genders, our races, our ages, our religions, and any number of other phenomena many of which are communicated visually to others by our hairstyles, our clothes, our facial expressions, our accents, our possessions, and various other means.” (25).
Social Identity and the Image
● Herbert Gans a sociologist, theorizes the five taste cultures in the United States.
● Taste Cultures
○ High (Primitive art, abstract expressionism)
○ Uppermiddle (Bergman films, public television, documentaries) ○ Lowermiddle (Representational art, Norman Rockwell paintings ○ Low Culture (Religious art, paintings with vivid colors)
○ Quasifolk (Comic book, graffiti)
● The dominant taste culture in the United States is lowermiddle. ○ Which taste culture are you?
● Gans suggests that our education, occupation, and income level shapes our notions of what is beautiful and affects the way we respond to images.
● Sigmund Freud
○ Dreams are the “royal road” to the unconscious.
○ The Interpretation of Dreams
Hemispheres of the Brain
● Brain divided into Right and Left hemispheres
○ Left hemisphere involved with analytic, logical thinking, especially in verbal and mathematical functions. Its mode of operation is primarily linear.
○ Right hemisphere specialized for holistic mentation. This hemisphere is primarily responsible for our orientation in space, artistic endeavor, crafts, body image, recognition of faces.
■ Narcotization when the right side doesn't call on the left side, a sense of monotony or boredom.
● In the world of aesthetics, we start with the effect we want and work backward, using whatever we can to obtain that desired effect.
Theories of Art
a. Art is functional, has a purpose
a. Art creates a world.
a. Art generates sensations, emotional reactions.
a. Art mirrors or reflects reality.
Aristotle on Imitation
● Aristotle (384 B.C. 322 B.C.)
○ Father of mimetic theories of art, which argues that art mirrors reality. ○ Argues in his book, Poetics, that all art is based on imitation.
○ Anything can be used as a sign, a sign is physical and perceivable. ● Rene Girard
○ French literary theorist, expands upon Aristotle’s ideas.
○ Argues that we desire what others desire and writes about what he calls “mimetic desire.”
■ “Consequently, we see imitation in social life as a force for
gregariousness and bland conformity through the mass
reproduction of a few social models.”
○ Mimetic Desire is implicitly based on visual images. As such, it can been seen as playing a large role in advertising and consumer behavior.
Ethics and The Image
● See ethics checklist on page 40.
○ If your image checks off 4 or more of these, your artwork is probably unethical.
○ There is a difference between being sensational and being ethical, but it’s very contextual and is up to the discretion of the author and the audience. ● Ethics the branch of philosophy dealing with “correct behavior” or what is “right” and what is “wrong.”
● The way people react to images indicates that there are certain hardwired responses that people make to certain kinds of images.
○ What advertisers want us to do is appeal to the id elements in our psyches, to our desire for pleasure and selfgratification and to
phenomena buried in the unconscious part of our psyches.
● Ernest Dichter one of the founding father of motivational research, author of The Strategy of Desire
○ Many of our decisions are governed by motivations over which we have no control and of which we are quite unaware.
Jean Baudrillard on Advertising and Persuasion
● Jean Baudrillard French social scientist, author of The System of Objects ○ Advertising facilitates a kind of collective psychological regression a state in which we are very susceptible to persuasion.
○ The continual impact of all of these kinds of persuasion leads us to regress and succumb to our desires to buy things.
● Signifier (Marker) a sign’s physical form (such as a sound, printed word, or image) as distinct from its meaning.
● Signified (Meaning) the meaning or idea expressed by a sign, as distinct from the physical form in which it is expressed. Arbitrary and based on convention. ● Semiotics the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. ● Aesthetics a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty, especially in art. The branch of philosophy that deals with the principles of beauty and artistic taste.
● Taste Culture This is the term used by psychologist Herbert Gans for his analysis of the cultural levels of the American public. Her argues that there are 5 taste cultures in the United States suited to the intellectual level and needs of its group.
● Unconscious the part of the mind that is inaccessible to the conscious mind but that affects behavior and emotions. Divided into 3 levels (consciousness, preconsciousness, and a part of the psyche we cannot access). Typically represented by an iceberg analogy.
● Saccades a rapid movement of the eye between fixation points, large eye movements. Each saccade lasts approximately 1/20th of a second. ● Mimetic Desire desire that imitates the desires of others
● Ethics deals with proper conduct and moral considerations. There is great debate on how to apply ethics in visual communication.
● Metaphors A figure of speech indicating similarity between 2 things. ○ Ex. “My love is a rose.”
● Metonymies A method of generating meaning through the use of association. ○ Ex. Mansion suggests wealth.
● Direct Eye Gaze A natural response we have to return the gaze of people who are gazing at us.
___________________________________ Chapter 2
Learning to See
● We see an estimated 8 products every second that we’re in the supermarket. ● More than 60% of all supermarket purchases are not planned in advance, which means impulse buying is a major factor in supermarket shopping.
Signs, Symbols, and Semiotics
● Linguists tells us that there is no natural connection between a word and the object it stands for.
○ The relationship between a word and the object it stands for is arbitrary or conventional.
● We make sense of visual phenomena in a number of ways: 1. Resemblance (as in photographs)
2. Cause & Effect / Logic (as in smoke implying a fire)
3. Convention (as in objects that have symbolic value)
4. Signification (as in a smile signifying pleasure)
● Semiotics The science of signs
○ C.S. Peirce an American philosopher who developed the field known as Semiotics.
○ Ferdinand de Saussure developed the field of semiology.
■ Together, these two are known as the Fathers of Semiotics
○ Human beings are signcreating and signinterpreting creatures, and every aspect our lives can be interpreted semiotically.
What Signs Are
● From a semiotic perspective, a sign is anything that stand for something else.
○ Icon a sign that looks like or resembles the thing it stands for (photographs)
○ Index a sign that is logically connected to what it represents (smoking = fire, experience)
○ Symbol a sign that has conventional meaning, no logical connection between this meaning and the symbol itself (cross, flags learned) ○ Logos designs that are used to stand up for and help reinforce the identity of a corporation or other entity.
○ Iconoclast a destroyer or breaker of icons. Refers to someone who is unconventional and who goes against the grain as well as someone who destroys sacred icons.
● Clifford Geertz Anthropologist, author of The Interpretation of Cultures ○ Symbols help us make sense of the world and help shape our thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
What Signs Can Do
● Umberto Eco Italian Semiotician, author of A Theory of Semiotics ○ Signs have a double meaning: they can be used to either tell the truth or lie.
● The absence of a sign is also a sign.
● The relationship between signs and what the mean is arbitrary (Ferdinand de Saussure’s perspective), so we need to find ways of making sense of signs through codes.
● What we know as “culture” can be seen as a collection of codes used to makes sense of the world.
○ How codes and signs operate.
○ What we call cultureshock is just a result of finding yourself in a society with different culturecodes from your own.
Clotaire Rapaille on Culture Codes
● Clotaire Rapaille French scholar, author of The Culture Code ○ Every country has distinct culture codes and these codes are imprinted on children by the age of 7.
Metaphors and Metonymies
● Some scholarly thought suggests that metaphor is the basic way we have about knowing about the world and that human thinking is metaphorical by nature. ● George Lakoff & Mark Johnson Authors of Metaphors We Live By ○ “Metaphor is typically viewed as a characteristic of language alone, a matter of words rather than thought or action. [However], we have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but it thought or action.”
■ Metaphors are an essential component of everyday life!
● Image a collection of signs and symbols.
● We can focus on images in the following terms:
○ 1. The artists, who create images.
○ 2. The audience, which receives images.
○ 3. The work of art, which is an image itself and might comprise a number of images.
○ 4. The society in which images are found.
○ 5. The medium, which affects the images.
● Carl Jung on Images:
○ “Symbols, for Jung, are attached to unconscious elements in our psyches and are often subliminally experienced, which helps explain why they are so pervasive in our dreams and why they have the power to move people emotionally.”
Condensation and Displacement
● Condensation the process by which we combine various signs together to form a new composite sign or symbol.
○ Surrealistic styles are example of condensation in action.
● Displacement We transfer meaning from one sign or symbol to another so that, for example, a rifle or plane really stands for a phallus.
Stuart Hall and Presentation
● Stuart Hall British Communication Scholar, author of Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices
○ Culture is concerned with the giving and taking of meaning between members of a society or group.
○ Transmission and creation of meanings.
Optical and Haptical Ways of Seeing
● Alois Rigel Art historian, suggests two opposing ways of seeing things. ○ Optical
■ Surface, scans outline, linear, metaphoric
■ Depth penetration, sees texture & grain, pictorial, metonymic
● Association A mode of communication, such as metonymy and synecdoche (a weaker form of metonymy), in which meaning is generated by using associations, connections people have in their minds between two things.
● Analogies Meaning generated by making comparisons. Metaphors are based on analogies, as are similes, which are weaker forms of analogies. ● Simile Figure of speech using “like” or “as” in which a weak relationship is made.
○ Ex. “My love is like a rose.”
● Condensation The psychological process by which the mind unifies and pulls together disparate images in dreams as to avoid the dream censor. The condensed image generally has a sexual dimension to it, though it is not apparent. We also react to the sexual content of condensed images when we are awake, though we do not create these images.
● Displacement The psychological process by which the mind invests an object or symbol with significance taken from some other object or symbol. Frequently, this significance has a sexual dimension to it, and the displaced objects often are similar (in shape or function) to the object that is displaced.
● Culture The ideas, values, beliefs, patterns of behavior, and ways of living of a group passed on from generation to generation.
● Stereotypes A widely held but simplistic, inaccurate, and generally negative portrayal of a category of people according to such matters as profession, region, gender, race, religion, age, and ethnicity.
● Optical The term used by art historian Alois Rigel for scanning objects according to their outline.
● Haptical The term used by art historian Alois Rigel for finding pleasure in the texture and grain of objects.
● “We can only recognize what we know.” E.H. Gombrich
● Seeing may give us a certain truth but may not reveal the whole truth. ○ What does this mean? Why is this important?
○ Much of what we see is determined by someone else.
● 1984 Commercial
○ Directed by Ridley Scott
○ Example of intertextuality
● Right Brain: Holistic
○ Picture, art, color, music, intuition
● Left Brain: Linear
○ Words, math, logic, thinking
● Visual Perception
○ Visual Noise The random variation of brightness in an image. ○ Figureground balancing figure and (back)ground can make the perceived image more clear.
○ Ambiguity When the figure and ground become ambiguous, it can create an interesting image, has two or more possible meanings.
○ Optical Illusions The image is deceptive and confuses the viewer. ○ Social Aspects The way we project our identities.
Gestalt Theory the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. ● Max Wertheimer (19431980)
○ 1, Similarity objects look similar to each other, groups and patterns ○ 2. Proximity elements placed closed to together to form a group ○ 3. Closure occurs when an object is incomplete, or a space is not completely enclosed
○ 4. Symmetry whole figure is perceived rather than its individual parts ○ 5. Parallels parallel elements dominate in visuals
○ 6. Dominance dominant visuals may appear complete even if they’re not ○ 7. Continuance the eye is compelled to move through the visual from one object to another
○ 8. Past Experience distorted images perceived as nondistorted ● Goal of advertising is to keep your attention.
● Human mind seeks out patterns in visuals.
Fathers of Semiotics
● C.S. Peirce
○ Introduced the Theory of Signs
● Ferdinand de Saussure
○ Remember Signifier (marker) and Signified (meaning)
○ Relationship between signifier and signified is arbitrary and conventional.
Types of Logos
1. Verbal Sign
a. CocaCola, Ebay, Burger King, FedEx, etc.
a. Apps, handicap signs, bathroom signs, etc.
3. Semantically Open Mark Visual has no relationship to the object it represents. a. McDonalds Arches, Obama Campaign Logo, Rolling Stones, Apple, etc. 4. Emblem Visual is based on traditional elements of coat of arms a. BMW, Bentley, U.S. Presidential Seal, etc.
5. Color color alone can (help) signify a certain brand
a. UPS, Home Depot, McDonalds, CocaCola, etc.
● Logos are designed to stand for and reinforce a company’s identity.