dimanche 8 février 2009

Chapter 9 : Analysis of the questionnaire

9) Analysis of the Questionnaire:

-Keep running the sense from answers and graphics- See a sample page 75 and 77

< The questionnaires comprise a main chart and three others to correspond to the six basic emotions to cooking and timing features, to one ingredient or a food category, and lastly to one colour. The last question was intended to encourage a more personal comment or memory about one emotion that cannot turn into another one, some food cannot be mixed with other food. >
< I received 35 answers that revealed certain tendencies. However, unfortunately, since most of the questionnaires were filled in by students (and mainly art students), I was not able to tell if the results would have been different depending on the age, activity or culture factors of the respondents. It would be interesting to continue the research in that direction. >

I have been creating these questionnaires from the beginning of my research. Being quite instinctive and presenting an unusual way of thinking, they bring out a good, stimulating exterior support for me. I honestly did not know exactly what would the results would be, but little by little, people were in fact according on certain ideas. And, to use them more effectively, I found it helpful at the end to produce a visual direct picture of the results. It offered me a clearer vision, with the graphic shapes that I purposely kept more or less expressive (do not forget to be cautious in speaking about the emotions…).

To consider the answers themselves, it is worth mentioning that “anger” produced unanimous agreements, felt as “hot” and “heavy” (31 out of 35 answers), “red” and “spicy”, and “in volume”.
I outline characteristics which have reached a score up to 20 responses:
Happiness seems also to express an obvious “sweet” sensation, reinforced by “sugar” selection, “light” and “in volume”, seen as a “yellow” colour, and “cooked”. We will come back to this “cooked” fact later.
Then, what we keep in mind is that sadness is a “heavy” and “flat” state, “blue” and “liquid”, lasting long.
Regarding disgust, more various and contradictory ideas came out, to me certainly because it is its property in a sense to be shapeless, transforming by rotting, neither cooked nor raw.

When a surprise takes place, it is unexpected, happens very suddenly; it is rather “raw”, embellished with “baking powder”, and the pleasure may depend on the surprise! Lastly, fear is a “heavy” feeling, since it is restrictive, “cold” and one longs to be free of it.

To another degree, let us try now to analyse what the graphics bring to light. What I have done is to combine certain information; for instance the first experiment is the visualization of the timing on the horizontal scale with the data for the shape and weight on the vertical one, given for each emotion by a colour. Each graphic shows different information and therefore reinforces a particular feature. It gives also a global view, in which you can compare the different spaces they take up, individually and as a group. Would it be at the end, a possible way to suggest that a graphic line that does not cross another one could amount to those emotions that do not live really together? The interest will be in understanding better happiness and its relationship with other emotions.

In this first picture (see graph 1, figure 18), I find it interesting to emphasize the intriguing shape made by happiness in yellow and sadness in blue. They appear symmetrical. That’s how they are formed of opposite characteristics on the vertical scale and similar ones on the time scale: while sadness is a very heavy feeling at the same time as expressing something flat, happiness contrasts being light and in volume. For both, we can sense briefly each feeling from a few minutes to hours and days. Whether 20 people answer a “few days” for sadness against only 7 for happiness, both feelings may also last for a few years, and maybe when happiness is caught, someone said “forever”!
And with disgust and sadness, these two feelings are softer, in the middle, less marked on the extremes, but lukewarm-cold, and salted-sweetish. That is the reason why they can cross happiness.
What else do we see? Surprise has a fine shape, starting from seconds to a short time, rather light and in volume (for a random nice surprise), but could be flat and heavy as well (for bad ones). The feeling of surprise does not have a strong visual impact (is it because it is not such an important emotion, or does not leave its mark on us?) even if it does cross happiness.
The red imposing shape is anger. When this feeling occurs, it is true to say that it sounds very violent, more sudden, but it can last a while. Just as it blows up in volume, it is felt as the heaviest emotion (31/35). Thus it can cross with other emotions.
Fear is also something quite heavy to carry. It hinders quite often the way to happiness, but all the same, they live together. More in volume than sadness for example, fear seems more invasive, sadness drearier, latent.

On this second visual (see graph 2, figure 19), it works differently, reinforcing one central pole (happiness) and different entities excited around it. Anger, fear and surprise appear in duplicate simply because the taste scale consists of different tastes (salty, sweet, spicy) and no really one right-ordered gradation. Anger is hot, rather spicy but also salty; fear is cold, salty and spicy; surprise is mostly hot, spicy and sweet.
About sweetness, what happens is that happiness is a great success and positions like that the yellow shape just in the middle. Hotter, but balanced with lukewarm-cold temperatures, it is like happiness is protected inside as well as locked between all the possible negative attacks. And with disgust and sadness, these two feelings are softer, in the middle, less marked on the extremes, but lukewarm-cold, and salted-sweetish. That is the reason why they can cross happiness.

In the crossing space between emotions, I tried to map out these three examples of mixed emotions. In a previous paragraph about mixed emotions, we have seen that for many people, shame and jealousy were expressing something sad and disgusting, and here on the graphic we see that the stars are included also in those areas.
I do just want to comment on the links between disgust and happiness, because it was not obvious to me at all. For instance, looking at the colour chart, if happiness is seen as yellow (17/35) more often, and disgust as green (13/35), they do share their colour, more than for other emotions. And the same happened for the ingredient choice, happiness is definitely “sugar” (21/35), but to a lesser extent is also “butter” (9/35), like disgust (9/35). The funny thing is that, when I think about it, I find old butter and fats disgusting, but they make at the same time any dish much tastier. I just remember the delicious taste of a real butter croissant (compared to one without). And we well speak also about coarse jokes that we make with very good friends, mixing disgust and laughter… Are they so far from each other? Or is it a question of humour and taste?

As a result of this visual analysis, I would like to point out that happiness, to be reached, seems to face sadness and fear. Anger and surprise might happen and interfere with the pattern, on bad but also good levels. Because they are mainly raw emotions, we have to deal with them, cooking them, making them softer in order to protect the fragile yellow substance.

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