Definition: A circle is the locus of all points equidistant from a central point.
Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack, dreamed up a theme that made my mind go in circles trying to think of when I have ever photographed circles. But sure enough, when I looked through my pictures, I found circles had snuck into my collection unwittingly.
Members of the California Council for Social Studies checked out the hotel in Burlingame where we will hold our annual conference in March, 2013. Circles abounded in this travel site. Most obviously the tables are round, the best kind for facilitating conversation between a group of five or six people. You probably noticed the floor before I did. The carpet designer loved circles.
In this picture we are not distracted by the roundness of the tables, so our eyes can focus on the circles in the carpet. In this case we might almost overlook the round lights in the ceiling. As a teacher I notice that the large circles, and some of the small circles form Venn Diagrams. I loved using Venn Diagrams to compare concepts. Venns are used in many occupational circles, but briefly this is how teachers use them in reading a text, for example. Characteristics of item A are listed in Circle A on the left, and characteristics of Item B are listed in Circle B on the right. The characteristics that the items have in common are listed in the intersection. This makes it very easy to then write a comparison paragraph or essay. (I veered off the straight path. Sorry I had to include an instructional strategy.)
This shot gives a different perspective of the pattern in the second picture. Ailsa must have been along when the designer chose the carpet for this hotel. The carpet theme was definitely circles throughout the hotel, but there were slight variations in the patterns from room to room. I wonder what the psychological effect circles have on conference goers, and vacationers.
The carpet in the final conference room we examined has a different circular pattern. This room is dominated by rectangular tables, podium, walls and lights. The carpet mirrors that business-like rectangular flavor with definite horizontal lines crossing the length of the room which were softened with some bolder, thicker circles than we found in the larger, more social foyer.
As this circular subject develops, I gravitated to the social aspect of circles:
- circles of friends
- round table discussions
- circular conversations (which are VERY frustrating to me!)
- circles for concept mapping capturing the ideas in our brains.
I wondered if there were specific psychological effects of circles that designers know about and employ to try and motivate us subconsciously.
Oh I do love the internet. In the process of my search I came across a WordPress site devoted just to circles, Psychology of Circles. Unfortunately the author only posted 9 articles during two months in 2009, and the one I wanted to read was only promised. “Power Circles in Advertising” was never written. Maybe his or her mind was just going in circles like mine, and couldn’t focus. There are definitely disadvantages to circles!
Not satisfied, I entered the word circles, and found a company called Circles with this description, “Circles is the leading global provider of concierge, events and customized rewards. … Our mission is to make life better and that pays dividends all around.” There must be something to the use of circles in the hotel business!!! I found another article describing how agitated certain animals became when they encountered crop circles. No wonder most hotels with circular themed carpets don’t allow animals!
FAQs from Wikipedia
- The circle is the shape with the largest area for a given length of perimeter.
- The circle is a highly symmetric shape: every line through the centre forms a line of reflection symmetry and it has rotational symmetry around the centre for every angle.
- A circle’s circumference and radius are proportional.
The human eye is drawn to a circle, which is perfectly proportional. People are drawn to other people whose faces are proportional and symmetrical. Cartoonists draw rounder, bigger eyes to make their characters mor appealing. Are we more trusting of the circular shape?
It seems that very little has been written about the psychological effect of circles on humans. I thought I’d hit the jackpot when CSU Stanislaus, but this list was the extent of their article:
- Connection, community, wholeness, endurance, movement, safety, perfection
- Refers to the feminine: warmth, comfort, sensuality, and love.
I was disappointed, but the truth is if someone is looking for a new topic for their doctoral thesis, here it is!!!
Have I come full circle? Or is my circle yet unclosed? I think the latter. How does the circle affect you?