Friday, February 01, 2008

Attributing emotions to actions

Via Jay Cross' Informal Learning Blog I found a nice video from work by Heider and Simmel. You can watch it on his blog or if you click here. You will see some figures, circles and squares moving. What story do imagine?

In the mid 1940s, Heider and Simmel constructed this animation. Most observers developed elaborate stories about the circle and the little triangle being in love etc. Personally I didn't think they were in love, but thought about a person chasing and intimidating the other two, probably due to the situation in Kenya. More explanations can be found on the Hakank blog:

"Humans spontaneously imbue the world with social meaning: we see not only emotions and intentional behaviors in humans and other animals, but also anger in the movements of thunderstorms and willful sabotage in crashing computers."

It is a nice animation that can be linking to lessons about online interaction. People make lots of attributions about emotions behind actions (or lack of actions) online. Often the emotions behind the actions are interpreted. But they may be wrongly interpreted (when someone doesn't reply, is he angry or maybe he didn't receive the mail?). You have to learn to make less attributions and to check more frequently whether your interpretation is right.

2 comments:

Nancy White said...

Kismet - I was writing about the role of emotions as well. This reminds me of the "donald duck test," eh?

Joitske Hulsebosch said...

Hi Nancy, you have to explain the Donald Duck test- but sure I would pass it :)