Experience and Perception of Space

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Prior knowledge can have an anchoring effect on our perception about a space. Our behavioral response inside a space is a conclusion and a reflection of our prior judgment of the space. Human brain along with seven other senses that include eyes, nose, ears, tongue, skeleton and muscle identify and interpret information and come to a conclusion, which is commonly known as perception. This process differs from individual to individual. This can lead to different perception about the same space by different individuals as they assign different meanings to what they perceive. In order to derive to a percept one needs to undergo the process of introspection. This process of introspection has been described as observation and reflection of one’s own conscious thoughts and conscience, that involves getting familiar with a space by gaining practical understanding of the subject. Hence it becomes very important to not get affected by a third persons percept but rather follow and rely on one’s own experience. What a designer or an architect is trying to convey about the space should be brought to each individual through his or her own experience. This essay will be highlighting that as a user of the space one doesn’t need to have a prior knowledge before experiencing it. It will be ideal for the user to derive to a percept after experiencing the space through interaction of the senses and understanding of the surrounding in reality .The experience can be valuable if a person does not have a perception so that each person has an individual experience, which is not, influenced by someone else’s perception. The topic will be discussed through case studies and relevant theories.

Finnish architect, Juhani Pallasmaa said, “A work of art is a reality only when it is experienced, and experiencing a work of art means recreating its dimension of feeling” (Pallasmaa, 2005). This quote was said in context to explaining the importance of experiencing a space in order to relate to its reality. When the user of the space personally undergoes its surrounding field he or she is able appreciate the space and also at the same time actively take part in activities leading them to connect with it in reality. At times, experience can be very tricky and problematic. We might feel "confused, uncertain, incoherent, unable to act when we are unable to coordinate prior knowledge and prior habit to cope with the exigencies of the moment."(Roschelle 1995, para. 67) Jeremy Roschelle mentions that educators often aim at creating experiences that engage students in actively generating a sense of understanding the concept and ideas for themselves. They often inherit the impression that it is essential for students to obtain prior knowledge to absorb new concepts. But according to the research, prior knowledge is characterized as opposing with the learning procedure, which often misguides students to unconventional translation of concepts and thus tries to suppress, destroy, or replace its influence. In summary, in order for new knowledge to take the position of the prior knowledge, prior knowledge should must be confronted, challenged, destroyed or erased. (Roschelle 1995, para. 38). As a result of prior knowledge and perceptions body tends to be thrown into a structured situation where the game is already laid. Meaning where individuals have to play according to the rules established already. Hence, researchers have described prior knowledge as “presumptions” “Alternative conceptions,” “naïve conceptions” and “misconceptions” (Russell 1959).

Designers of interactive experiences ought to be sensitive to the diverse perspective that will be brought by individuals during their first hand experience. For example, museums and exhibitions are decently situated as destinations for conceptual change. They offer visitor with freedom and opportunities to interact with space and objects directly. Attending to the problems that occur in an experiential exchange, from the perspective of the learner and allowing space and time for inquiry to arise should be the key concern of the designer. Another concern should be focused on providing tools that facilitate inquiry to be useful and effective. Inquiry appears not in the head, however in immediate interaction with the world. Meaning that the act of inquiry appears when the individual is constantly seeking knowledge and information by questioning the space. To succeed, learners need to illustrate, investigate thoughts and phenomena in order to achieve successful analysis of preferences experimentally. Attempt to facilitate one individual's perception about a space with another can often gradually end up moving peculiar thoughts of different individual towards a typical ground. Further more different perceptions can end up re-portraying, re-situating, and rebuilding the whole first hand experience of the visitor in totality. In summary the educators must search for instances in which prior information becomes tricky and problematic, and aim to generate three conditions namely: time, devices and conversations that facilitate inquiry to progress successfully. Firstly, designers must look out to refine former knowledge, and not force learners understanding with their own. Secondly designers must expect a long term learning methodology, of which the short-term experience will play an important part. Designers must recollect that learning relies on upon social association; discussions shape the structure and substance of the ideas that learners develop. Prior knowledge can exist as mere data but the rest must originate from seeing, conceiving, experiencing and engaging.

Learning of things, which are described as information by acquaintance, is basically more straightforward than any information of truths. The word acquaintance here is described as the knowledge by experience of something. Hence we should say that having known something through experience is independent of any interference or any knowledge gained by description. Hence familiarizing with things while seeing and touching them help in learning and knowing of the truth. "No description in the literature can fully convey the character and constitution of a learners’ prior knowledge" (Roschelle 1995, para. 88). Disagreeing to this statement in my view the only disadvantage of knowledge by description is that quite a bit of our insight is left doubtful and the knowledge remains puzzling until understood properly. This leads to an influenced perception without actually being physically acquainted with the space. “The fundamental principle in the analysis of propositions containing descriptions is this: Every proposition which we can understand must be composed wholly of constituents with which we are acquainted.” (Russell 2009, ch.5) While mentioning several guidelines for interpreting prior knowledge, Jeremy Roschelle said “be wary of viewing prior knowledge as an enemy fortresses that is wrong, alternative, or theoretical in character, and instead see prior knowledge as a disorganized collection of building blocks” (Roschelle 1995, para. 88). Agreeing to this statement in my view prior knowledge can be chaotic and confusing which is not characterized by practical judgment and reasoning. Rather it is theoretical in nature that can be inclusive of an already influenced perception. Thus making the user of the space derive to a perception even before an individual is confronted with a space in reality.In the book “How Learning Works” (Ambrose, 2010), it is mentioned that in order to build complex and powerful learning structures progressively, an individual may end up forging connections between previously gained knowledge and new information. It is possible that individuals may not draw applicable or relevant connections with the prior knowledge immediately. In this event where they do not draw upon applicable connections with former information and fundamentally if that information is still concealed or hidden, it may not encourage the integration and combination of new knowledge.

Ansel Adams remarks that, any individual should not have the privilege to manage what other individual ought to see, make or produce. To assemble trust in the imaginative soul of an individual, every individual must be urged to uncover his or her insights and feelings.

Furthermore, Husserl brings up that the connection between the object of information and the subjective demonstration of knowing must be explored and clarified in the event that we wish to accomplish a more significant comprehension of the possibility of knowledge. In summary no individual user should determine what the other user must discover. Rather the connections must be drawn after exploring and experiencing the space as it unfolds in its surroundings.

Next, the thing that interests different individuals is often described to them and is just known to be genuine. However it is not valid as they do not have any acquaintance with it and are also not familiarized with the suggestion themselves. These lines are referring towards the knowledge by description which is directed towards any phrase “in the form of “a so and so” or “the so and so”” (Russell 2009, ch.5) According to writer, this form of a phrase should be called an ambiguous phrase which is does not have one obvious meaning and is open to more than one interpretation.

The dominant factor of knowledge by description is that it makes it possible for the user to pass beyond the limits of their personal experience. In spite of the fact that user can only know truths, which are entirely composed of terms which they have experienced in reality, user can yet have a prior knowledge by description of space which is never experienced before. But “In view of the very narrow range of our immediate experience, this result is vital, and until it is understood, much of our knowledge must remain mysterious and therefore doubtful.” (Russell 2009, ch.5) In summary, for an ambiguous or doubtful description to turn into a logical description characterized by sound reasoning, it is necessary for the user of the space to enlighten his or her vision images into spatial experience by going in and out of spaces. For mending a users behavior inside a space, spatial elements like shadows, light, distance and height play a key role. In order to have an enjoyable experience the user must be free of any prior description that may act an obstruction in the spatial experience of the user. It is believed that there are various issues associated with ambiguous descriptions. To begin with, it seems that, “when we make a statement about something only known by description, we often intend to make our statement, not in the form involving the description, but about the actual thing described” (Russell 2009, ch.5). In these lines the author is simply trying bring up that, somehow, it must be conceivable to meet these complaints, but it is invalid to form a judgment or enthrall a supposition without comprehending it mentally and passing a judgment full of assumptions about it.

In conclusion, this essay has addresses that how forging someone else perception can ruin the first hand experience of the user of the space. Facts or opinions drilled inside the mind of the user by some other individual can lead to perception can effect the experience and may not encourage and welcome new knowledge to come in. Another point the essay has discussed is that prior knowledge can exist as mere data but the rest must originate from seeing, conceiving, experiencing and engaging. Hence, knowledge would be highly beneficial in forming an understanding that is better suited and well places in front of the user of a space through proper reasoning and logics. It becomes necessary to lay definitions for terms such as knowing perceiving, believing etc. Prior knowledge remains doubtful until and unless it is characterized by the process of human observation and learning. Lastly, it must recollected that learning relies on upon social association, interaction and experience within a space. Discussions shape the structure and substance of the ideas that a user develops. Appreciating the space by flowing in and out of spaces accelerates and give rise to a perception that is not formed or shaped by a different persons perception. These points have demonstrated that a user of a space doesn’t necessarily have prior knowledge before experiencing a space.