Art as a medium to regulate emotions during Communication

Art is a form of a universal language, connecting all humans in our core, across time and cultures. In addition, music, coding, and mathematical symbolic language also allow universal understandings that are more uniform and innate than spoken and written languages, which can create divisions within humanity. The quest to understand the language of the cosmos is another form of meaning-making and seeking.

Dehaene (2009) proposed the neuronal recycling hypothesis, which involves rewiring our brains for reading and writing. Reading and writing need to be taught — we are not born to read. I want to propose that humans are born to ACTION versus born to think as an end. That all thoughts are towards activation on our bodies.

The art I like relates to those artworks that can be viewed literally in different ways, as powerful illustrations on how we can be talking about the same thing (artwork) and yet not be understood by all involved in the interaction. Why is that so? It all depends on WHERE the individual focuses without clarification of the intent of the initiating party.

Images such as the above always fascinate me. It helps facilitate having a dialog about perspectives with some personal emotional distance. Emotions often get in the way of resolving issues. Discussions around such images with your child or amongst family members help to highlight the need to acknowledge the validity of individual experiences. 

Even more interesting, are images that are even harder to figure out WHAT the image is about. However, once you are “taught” how to “see” the image, you can not unsee it. Parents should try to seek what might be preventing their child from succeeding, instead of asking/telling them to try harder. It is often the lack of skill, not will when children misbehave or are unable to perform. This change in perspective is one of the most valuable lessons I learned parenting my twice-exceptional child. It is the same with the communication of ideas, the act of communication already changes both parties. This is the idea of embodied cognition (Lakoff, 2012).


Dehaene, S. (2009). Reading in the brain: The science and evolution of a human invention. Viking.

Lakoff, G. (2012). Explaining Embodied Cognition Results. Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (2012) 773–785. DOI: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2012.01222.x

Leave a Reply

©Copyright 1999 Lin Lim   

%d bloggers like this: