WOK Badge: Sense Perception FEB 1 - FEB 7

Lexical-Gustatory Synesthesia and Sense Perception

To what extent is our understanding of the world impacted by our sense perception?

Journal entries

Planning Journal 01/30/2017

Today we were assigned the task to complete a project for sense perception. Rhea and I came up with the idea to interview our IB Literature teacher who has synesthesia. Her condition is that she can taste words. Since this chapter is based on sense perception, we can ask her a series of questions about what it feels like to taste her words and how she interprets it. I am very intrigued by this because I could not possibly imagine what that must feel like. Our aim through this is to explore the relationship between our senses and our perception of the world around us. Synesthesia is the way we are going to tie back to the chapter in the textbook. This is a more creative perspective to the information that we learned, and we can apply it to a person that is within our community.

We will make our visual presentation to present to the class and provide a visual of our information. Our presentation will mostly be based on synesthesia. We all need to collaborate on how we are going to share the information with the other students in the class. We did a lot of progress and have our ideas clear as to what we are going to do. We discussed with Mr. Morrison what our ideas are and we decided that we are going to interview Ms. K on Monday during club time. We know that we are going to structure our presentation in the following way.

First, we are going to explain what synesthesia is and the different types of it. We are going to explain what Ms. K's specific type of synesthesia is and introduce the interview. We have the following questions:

  1. What is your own definition of lexical gustatory synesthesia?
  2. What in your opinion are the advantages and disadvantages of having synesthesia?
  3. How do you think it affects your everyday life?
  4. Do you think it is a factor that increases your affinity for literature and reading?

These questions will help us gather our information to answer our TOK knowledge question. We know she talks a lot so we are going to crop our videos and only display the most important parts of her answer that we think are the most relevant to the topic. Then, we will add them to an iMovie and caption our question at the bottom of the image. After the interview, we will relate our interview back to our knowledge question and answer it together in order to properly explain it.

Essential Question Journal 02/03/2017

Our chosen essential question for this project is "To what extent is our understanding of the world impacted by our sense perception?"

In this case, with regard to Ms. K and her synesthesia, we could conclude that our understanding of the world is greatly shaped by our sense perception. Ms K. said in our interview that she "would not know how to live without it", just like we cannot understand and relate to how she lives with it. Her sense perception has shaped her individual understanding of the world and has played a major role in her life, since her synesthesia has influenced her affinity for literature and passion for her job. Ms. K also told us that even though she associates a taste to a specific word, someone else, who also has lexical-gustatory synesthesia, associates a different taste with the same word. This helped us come to the realization that although they had the same condition, their associations are unique to each individual. We related this to people who do not have a cross-wiring of the senses, and understood that it is not possible to comprehend to what extent our understanding of the world is influenced by our sense perception.

Reflective Journal 02/05/2017

I enjoyed completing this project. We decided to do our project this way because we were intrigued to understand how people with synesthesia interpret and make sense of the world around them. Our goal was to discuss with our class the depth of synesthesia and how people with it have a different understanding of the world. We also wanted to present synesthesia as an example of an individual's perspective of the world, by using Ms. K, our literature teacher. We also taught the class that to a large extent our individual sense perceptions can guide us towards what we want to pursue in life, in this case, Ms. K's sense perception for tasting words increased her affinity for reading and writing, which has influenced her to the point where this is what she does for a living, she teaches literature to students. My group and I decided on a more creative aspect to explain our own interpretation of sense perception to the class, which is also why we chose to use synesthesia. As an individual knower, this approach at understanding sense perception from a different perspective rather than the one presented in the book allowed me to develop a better representation of the information we learned.

I learned a lot from working to obtain this badge and I liked thinking about ways to complete the presentation. I also enjoyed discussing our ideas with the class and learning more about sense perception. Overall, I learned that sense perception greatly influences our understanding of the world and that there will never be a time where we can understand the different perspectives of individuals around us, even though they could potentially be perspectives of the same object.

Knowledge Questions

  1. How do we know through our senses?
  2. What possibilities for knowledge are opened up to us by our senses? What limitations?
  3. How might expectations, assumptions, and beliefs, affect sense perception?

These knowledge questions were relevant to our work because they can be defined as sub-questions for our main essential question. They helped us to develop our answer for the essential question that we chose. These questions were outside of the essential question but had a similar idea. This allowed us to view the essential question from other perspectives and further expand our knowledge.

Extension proposal

One of the questions my group and I came up with for the WOK Quiz was:

Can we improve our sense perception?

The answer to this question is yes, we can improve our sense perception. To improve our sense perception also means that we try to improve our senses themselves. There are different objects that have the purpose of improving our senses, such as glasses improving our eye sight or a hearing aid improving our hearing. We chose to add this essential question to engage more into the way of knowing of sense perception and try to understand as much of it as we could.

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