Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

My First Sociology Assignment

Well, seeing as how I’m back in school, I don’t see why everyone shouldn’t benefit. (None of what I’m taking classes in is irrelevant to the Banapana.) I had to take a “learning styles survey” as an assignment for a socialogy and I was suprised by two of the statements in the visual spatial section. Below, my analysis: The survey consisted of a series of statements in various learning areas (i.e. Bodily-Kinestheric, Visual-Spatial, Interpersonal, etc.) which the student scores from between 1 (rarely) and 4 (almost always)1.The visual-spatial portion of the survey:

_ I use maps easily _ I draw pictures or diagrams when explaining ideas _ I can assemble items easily from [Ikea.. er..] diagrams _ I enjoy drawing or taking photographs _ I do not like to read long paragraphs _ I prefer a drawn map over written directions

So, the teacher asked us to write a paragraph on the survery and of course, I went a little overboard. Oh well. I wrote:

I am fairly familiar with my strengths and weaknesses in regards to how I learn so I was not entirely surprised by the results of the survey. However, the results of the Visual-Spatial area caught me off-guard since I have worked in advertising and design for a number of years as a creative director and consider myself to be a highly visual person. I would go so far, hopefully without sounding arrogant, as to say I absolutely should have scored a 24 (the highest possible) in this area on any kind of this survey.2

Looking over the statements, I felt that two of them were perhaps ill-considered. To my thinking “I do not like to read long paragraphs” is not an attempt to unearth something about someone’s visual learning abilities but rather making an assumption that visual people have trouble paying attention. I have very strong visual capabilities but I could never score this statement higher than one since I greatly enjoy reading. Were I able to speak with the author I would ask them why they instead did not include a statement similar to one in the Music section: “I like to express my ideas through music”. A similar statement about art would have yielded a higher score for me.

The other troubling phrase was “I prefer a drawn map over written directions”. I answered this with a two since I truly have no preference. However, phrasing this statement “I provide others with drawn maps over written directions” and again my score would have changed. It is also important to recognize that written directions can be provided in technical distances and location names or in regard to landmarks ““ something a visual person would be quite at home with even if written out.

1One of the librarians here at Clemson pointed out the other day that the scores should read (1) as if (2) like, cool (3) awesome (4) OMG, totally I, like, totally agree with her.

2I am the very model of a modern major artist? 🙂

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