Kaitlin S Portfolio

Part 1:
Project 1

Initially I was very curious about how the sound has evolved its use in society, particularly the evolution and advancement of technology. Other topics such as how music has evolved in the cinema, how auditory sounds are made for objects such as bubbles or clapping, and do people believe the evolution of music is a consequence of the environment or the changes in music cause society to change also interested me; however, I decided to explore a completely different topic. I decided to explore how children are affected by sound by researching the question: How do sounds and words affect children visually?
I’ve always loved kids and loved the way their imaginations worked. I currently nanny 10-15 hours a week and spend a lot of that time coloring. I decided to see if I could influence what and how the children I baby-sit color in response to music. I’ve read a lot about how playing classical music raises the IQ of an unborn child but had not heard a lot about how music affects children at a young age. Thus I began my experiment. Gabby, who is 2 ½, loves to color and loves to dance. So I first played a children’s song that she knew and she happily scribbled color all over the paper, changing color every few seconds. Next I played some of her dad’s early rock music. She colored for a while then quickly became angry and kept asking to change the music. She began drawing short lines then looking up and asking to change the song, she was no longer in a trance of coloring and listening to her happy songs.
I was also interested in how what the children would draw if I asked them to draw emotions or sound. I asked Grace, who is 5, to draw me happiness. After 5 minutes of intense drawing, she showed me her ballerina with her family member’s names written all around it. Just prior to this we had danced to the nutcracker in her room as she told me all about Ballerinas. In her current mind she associated ballerinas and her family with happiness. After that I asked her to draw what bubbles sound like. She quickly said that’s easy and drew a fish with bubbles. I was curious as to why she chose a fish and she told me it’s because it was on the cartoon this morning (underwater Dora the Explorer).
I had such a great time doing this experiment. And though I didn’t prove any scientific evidence I really found how influenced children can be by music and images. It made me more aware of what I play or what I say in the future in front of them.
It’s a well known and indisputable fact that children are extremely influenced by images around them. I was unaware how profound of an affect sound can have on children as well. As I researched the connection between sound and children’s emotions I learned about how sound is being used as a treatment for children with autism or how powerful calming music can be in putting children to bed. While looking at my data and data collected by other researchers I came upon the thesis: Children’s emotions play largely on familiar sounds and these sounds can be

Project 2
As I thought of topics for my second presentation I really wanted to explore the role sound has on people. I decided to team up with two other girls, Heather and Stephanie, and ask people to display and sound or an image. My friends and I all enjoy dancing and having a good time and we all have a different way of moving to the music. I thought it would be fun to ask my friends to dance to a song and observe the differences in their movements. My ultimate research question was: How do different people express their emotion through a movement?
When starting this experiment I asked friends to dance to a song, all independently. I found that they all did a different move but were not very comfortable performing in front of the camera so I decided to take a different approach. As I talked to my project partners we decided upon a common theme, happiness. With all my friends in a room I prefaced the song with do a happy dance. One the music started each friend separately did a dance move and everyone copied it. Some did the finger point, some the monkey, everyone choosing a different move. What I found interesting was a lot of the moves included a sound.
When we compiled the rest of the clips we found a common theme. People couldn’t make a sound without doing a movement and could not do a happy movement without accompanying it with a sound. Everyone had a different reaction to the emotion happiness and it was interesting to determine that there was no common trend. Choosing the question that I did allowed me to explore an aspect of my life that I love in a different way. By asking people to do a happy dance I was able to see how different people express emotion through movement very well. This project made me interested in looking into how music could effect how a person exercises, for example if someone listens to loud music if they can run faster than if listening to slow music. I’m just curious about how sound can change emotions as well, if in a bad mood is their scientific evidence showing that a change in music can heighten a mood?
When all three small reports were combined a common theme was seen. Sound cannot go without image and image without sound. There are so many sounds that make sense by being accompanied with a motion and it is not until these two essential elements are connected that the true meaning behind a word can be understood. This led me to the theme: Images meaning is greatly lost without a corresponding sound, and sounds the same for images without sound. Their joint presence elicits the intended response.

Part 2

This course has opened my eyes to a subject that I had never put serious thought into yet I really enjoy. I’ve always loved sounds such as music and words, and I have always loved movies. The two topics had gone hand in hand in my mind for years; however, I had not separated the topics and studied them independently of one another until asked to do so in this class. I truly began realizing how important to a words meaning the appropriate visual stimuli is or how important to a visual image an accompanying sound is. The two together make up a powerful unit of communication, yet separated leave their meaning open to interpretation.
My individual projects explored different aspects of the idea of sound and image yet both interested me greatly. I love working with children, I love their imagination and how easily they learn new things. After my first project I realized how powerful an influence sound can have on children. Their attitudes and emotions changed greatly depending what sounds were playing in the background. It made me wonder how much their emotions could be changed. To what degree could a change in sounds or music change the child’s emotions? If I could continue this study I would love to see if it would be possible to heighten a child’s mood by playing a familiar song.
If I was able to explore this topic more I would pick 3 favorite songs for every child and 3 songs that they had not heard before. During times when they were upset or times when they were happy I would play different songs to see if their mood changed. If by playing familiar songs their mood change or by playing unfamiliar songs did their mood change? I would be interested in seeing also, how long it takes for a child to become accustomed to a song. When would a once foreign song become familiar enough to change a child’s mood?
My second project explored a fun aspect of my life. The correlation we found between all subsets of the project is one which I would love to explore more. It was very rare that a sound could not come without an accompanying hand motion or a hand motion could not come without a sound. As humans we link the two inseparably together so as to elicit the most powerful message. I would be very interested in exploring why we need to accompany a sound with a motion and visa versa. Is there a physiological reason? Does it excite the most senses?
To do this experiment I would develop a message that I wanted to deliver to the public. I would make a visual depiction of the message, and audio depiction, and one that had both messages together. I would need a specialist in detecting activation of senses to assist me in seeing what senses were excited in response to each method of delivery. I would then ask each candidate what they thought the message was. I would be interested to see if there was a correlation between the depth of the response to the message and the number of senses excited.
This course was a unique and invaluable experience to explore how important both sound and images are in our lives. It taught me to ask questions about everything and truly taught me how much goes into making a sound, a song, a movie. The technologies that have evolved to enhance the effectiveness of sounds and images in our lives have allowed us to experience messages and movies with the most powerful affect. I have really enjoyed my time is the class and will continue to explore the topics that I discovered in my own experiments and what people discovered in other experiments.

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