Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From vowel color to vocabulary recall

Clip art: Clker
Common sense and marketers' and advertisers' collective wisdom suggest that color does have meaning, some of it culturally determined. As noted in the previous post, HICP assumes that the visual field also "contains" quadrants that have different emotional or experiential sensitivities. In very general terms, we associate basic colors with each quadrant: Northeast=yellow, Southeast=red, Northwest=green and Southwest=blue. Depending where in the quadrant, in the articulatory "chart" (a mirror-image of the standard IPA chart) a vowel is located, its intensity or hue may be increased or diminished accordingly. 2006 research by Spence, Wong, Rusan, and Rastegar of the University of Toronto makes a fascinating point as to when the color association must be made for maximum effectiveness.

In that study, various color conditions of natural scenes are used in different timings. Essentially what they discovered was that for best recall, color had to be very focused and associated with basic features or figures of the picture immediately, and not just the overall scene. One implication for our work is that color may work best in conjunction with haptic anchoring if it is introduced "from the beginning" of the process and (probably) limited to the vowel or syllable only and not the entire word, as is the usual practice with color/vowel pedagogical practices. Remember that, next time you need to make your vowels and vocabulary work more memorable, eh! 

1 comment:

Bill Acton said...

Was reminded to remind the reader that the color scheme I'm referring to is all based on the idea that the sound-color-visual positioning and haptic anchoring of a syllable would all happen simultaneously for the cumulative effect to be there. Using the vowel-color linkage without the rest of the package may have relatively little bang for the time and energy expended in trying to get it established in other ways--if at all. But give it a try and let us know.

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