Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Beautiful and Ugly - A Matter of Perception?

How does the mind receive and analyse information from a visual? It is a complex process involving the left and right hemispheres of the brain, together synchronising the logical and emotional intelligence, at the same time, involving learning through genetic evolution, and adding to it experiential learning.

I came across a Facebook update which described how some primary school textbooks, the meaning of beautiful and ugly were represented. Check the picture.... (Source: Unknown)


How many readers agree to this? No, don't give me an intelligent, sociologically relevant, politically correct answer. Truth is, we have all learnt the meaning of beautiful and ugly from this, or some other picture, or have been pointed out a beautiful woman and an ugly one during our childhood and in our college days. In the early stages of childhood, from birth to 3 years, the human brain is extremely vulnerable to external influences. A violent childhood, a traumatic experience, or visuals such as these can have profound effect on the way the left and the right hemispheres are wired, and decide how the brain will react to certain circumstances in the future.

So a visual itself communicates something to you, first from its evident characteristics. Add to it your personal influences. To complicate the matter further, you also have to consider your sense of smell and taste, which further influence how you analyse a visual. Rather complicated, isn't it?

Well, it is a matter of perception, cognition, resemblances, recognition and representation. There is also the concept of visual rhetoric, semiotics, and finally, aesthetics. Add to it your cultural influences, and you have utter chaos. But the mind works through all this, finds a way out of cognitive dissonances, and gives you an answer, whatever it might be.

We will keep exploring visual communication in future posts. Till then, here's food for thought... imagine an beautiful flower, which gives out a nasty smell, or cow dung on the road smelling like the best dish you have ever tasted!



Beautiful frog in the picture, isn't it? This is a poison dart frog. Meet the most poisonous frog in the world! One drop of toxin from a poison dart frog will kill you within 3 minutes. Unfortunately, there is no cure. Still find it beautiful? Right?