VISIONCIRCLES AND SIMILAR PERCEPTUAL/COGNITIVE MODELS
Adapted from an article by Gail E. Dennison and Paul E. Dennison, Ph.D., the developers of Visioncircles and Brain Gym of Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K).
There are several models of perception or intelligence, which are similar to Edu-K’s Visioncircles model. Each of these describes experience in terms of areas in which we function or interact with others. One may emphasize vision and other senses (Skeffington’s model), another the focusing of attention (Stanislavski’s model), and still another, aspects of intelligence (Gardner’s model).
The Edu-K model
The EduK-model begins with attention to noticing or self-observation. The sequencing of the circles, which comprise the Visioncircles model, is designed to develop visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile skills while releasing habits of compensation developed around the misuse of these skills. The first four circles emphasize the development of the individual toward autonomy, emphasizing opportunities for self-nurturance; the second four circles emphasize development toward healthy social interaction. Edu-K’s cooperative group experiences form a model as well for the integrated use of the senses, resulting in the restored ability of the eyes, ears, and body to work together without overreliance on any one modality at the expense of the others.
This Edu-K model also emphasizes a variety of skills necessary for healthy vision, including visual-motor tasks, skills of centralization, peripheral vision, and depth perception. When children learn under conditions in which they are able to move naturally, development takes place from the center of the body (core, postural muscles) to the periphery (arms and legs), and balance mechanisms develop in concert with visual skills. The Visioncircles of Edu-K follows this model.
Here is a brief summary of other well-known perceptual/cognitive models:
A Visual/Developmental Model
In the 1960s, optometrist A.M. Skeffington first integrated the hypothetical models of the major contributors in the field of developmental vision. Skeffington’s own model for behavioral optometry described the development of visual skills in terms of four interlocking circles, with the central core representing what he called the emergent or the actualized self.
The first of these four circles is labeled antigravity and corresponds to the Edu-K concept of bilateral development. Skeffington’s second circle is called centering and corresponds to the Edu-K concept of centering, emphasizing interpretations of spatial information through kinesthesia. He called the third circle identification. In the Visioncircle model of Edu-K, identification skills are developed through fine-motor skills and noticing processes. Skeffington’s fourth circle, audition, emphasizes the development of language. In Visioncircles, these audition processes are explored through the first, third, and seventh circles (self-discovery, sound, and communication in all its aspects, comment by scb).
An Educational Model
A similar model is found in Dr. Howard Gardner’s seven dimensions of intelligence. Dr. Gardner’s criterion for an intelligence is that it fins its expression in a unique symbolic language. Gardner’s model is taught by the psychologist Dr. Thomas Armstrong and other advocates of multidimensional approaches to learning.
The following are Gardner’s seven dimensions of intelligence. The interpretations given with each term are Gail Dennison’s.
Linguistic: accessing Wernicke’s area of speech and symbolized by written language and syntax.
Musical: accessing the temporal lobes and right brain and symbolized by musical notations.
Bodily kinesthetic: accessing the basal ganglia, motor cortex, cerebellum, and inner ear (affecting equilibrium), and symbolized by the conceptual abstraction of movement for the orchestration of movement sequences.
Spatial (or visuo-spatial): accessing the midbrain and occiput and using the symbols of form, color, and metaphor.
Logical/mathematical: accessing midbrain, right hemisphere, and occiput for conceptual and analogic symbols; left hemisphere for number symbols and quantitative intelligence.
Intrapersonal: accessing the limbic brain and neocortex via the thalamus and symbolized by covert language and metaphor.
Interpersonal: accessing the frontal and prefontal lobes and symbolized by verbal language, facial expression, and gestures.
A correlation exists between the seven dimensions described here and seven of the Visioncircles (the eighth circle being one that synthesizes and accesses the others). Where the Visioncircles focus on the perceptual skills necessary for the development of these intelligences, Gardner focuses more on their outcomes.
An Expressive Arts Model
A third model of awareness based on the idea of circles was developed by the Russian actor Constantine Stanislavski, and was used as a method to teach actors about stage presence. The method, greatly simplified, teaches the participant to focus all of his or her attention into a circle (possibly symbolized by a spotlight). The spotlight of attention may be small, encompassing only the actor’s body (as in the second circle of Visioncircles); larger, to include a second person (circle seven of Visioncircles); larger still, to include the audience (circles three, four, and eight of Visioncircles); concentrated internally, as in a soliloquy (circles one and six of Visioncircles); or focused mainly on head and hands (circle five of Visioncircles). The actor learns to calibrate his or her awareness and energy to the size of each circle.
1. Skeffington, A.M. Practical Applied Optometry, California: Optometric Extension Program, 1991.
2. Gardner, Howard, Frames of Mind, New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1985
3. Armstrong, Thomas, In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child’s Personal Learning Style, California: Jeremy Tarcher, Inc., 1987.
4. Stanislavski, Constantine, An Actor Prepares, New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1948.