Wednesday 23 June 2010

iar: toilet door - schema

How do we know where the toilet is?

How do we know which is the toilet door? How do we know if it's for men or women (or both!)?

We learn that lots of public places have public toilets. They might be signposted. In restaurants we learn that they are probably down the back somewhere or upstairs or downstairs. Some toilets are explicit: "men" "women" - others have symbols. I know that the barely legible picture in 'iar: toilet door VI' is a woman. But if you REALLY look at it how do you know? Psychologists call it 'schema'. Would a computer be able to pick out the standard and familiar (but differing) symbols for men and women on toilet doors? I doubt it would be able to pick out this one!