Writing Samples

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Multi-field Proposal

Proposal for a multidisciplinary major involving psychology, rhetoric and communication, and visual art.


The Athenian Internet:
The internet’s limitations in fostering civic participation

Within 6th century Athens, a strong emphasis on community, civic participation, and citizenry established the first democracy. Because these ideals were fundamental attributes of social life, the Athenians created a central meeting place—the Agora—in which to foster the engagement and discussion. As an ideological entity, the Agora represented democracy such that it gave the people not only power to engage, but also shape public opinion. The rise of commercialism and individualism ran counter to these ideals, and, consequently, counter to democracy. Skip to the modern day, the internet promises to revitalize the ideals of democracy, fostered in the Agora by not only nurturing individuality, but also promising virtual community. Instead, the internet has blurred the lines of private and public life, intensified the intimate relationship between commercial interests and political interests, and threatens to limit the accessibility of information and viewpoints by adaptive filtering.


Emotional Response:               Creating the Content and Context of Design

Design can be subdivided into two main aspects: context and content. The context of design is the attributes or circumstances which define how meaning is created. Context design in this essay will explore cognitive biases such as cognitive ease (and the factors that influence), priming, and framing, in addition to the process by which audiences create meaning with an exploration of polysemy and polyvalence. The content of design is the organizational principles, imagery used, and colors used—essentially the physical make-up of a work outside of how those physical elements are assigned meaning by an audience. Content design in this essay will explore Gestalt organizational principles, and color relationships and associations.