Date of Award

Spring 4-15-2013

Document Type


First Advisor

Benjamin Bahan

Second Advisor

Melissa Malzkhun


We use our senses every day, consciously or unconsciously, based on our cultural needs and preferences. These sensory orientations shape and are shaped by what a given culture defines as acceptable. For this reason, different sensory orientations result in different strengths and areas of emphasis and de-emphasis. Becoming aware of different sensory orientations and their associated cultures allows us to realize what we are missing in our own sensory orientations that inform our cultural habits. Familiarity with various sensory orientations may cultivate greater cultural acceptance as well. To analyze and illustrate such differences, an educational app for iPads was created with the software, Adobe InDesign C6 and Digital Publishing Suite. The app displays how cultures use senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. The cultures of Deaf and hearing people in relation to sensory orientation (aside from other cultural differences among Deaf and hearing people) are the focus. This focus allows the app to illustrates vividly the two modalities of human languages in the world, an audio-vocal mode and a visual-tactile mode. When humans speak they use audio -vocal gestures, and when they sign they use visual-tactile gestures. Interactions among people using different modalities further illustrate cultural differences resulting from differing sensory orientations. The app includes videos of real-life situations on "H Street NE," a street near Gallaudet University where interactions between hearing and Deaf people are common, as are the misunderstandings arising from the two specific cultural practices. One goal of showing people these different cultural practices along with brief explanations of them in this engaging, hip format is to reduce misunderstandings and increase enjoyment of our diverse public life.



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