A rainbow of feathers floats upward like a psychedelic butterfly. Fingers of color, violet and lime green, seem to flow outward from the tips of the wings. If you didn’t know better, you might assume it is a work of art. Beyond their beauty, for Shawn Christ these images taken at MU’s new Brain Imaging Center reveal the brain’s activity and connections. In his role as Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of MU’s Clinical Neuropsychology Laboratory, Christ studies how the relationship between the brain and behavior changes as we develop. Christ chose a career in psychology because it would combine two passions— working with kids and solving puzzles.
So-Yeon Yoon admits that while she has always liked computer games, even as a young child, she has also always enjoyed painting and drawing. Yoon describes her watercolor paintings and how for her the creative process is “very addictive”: “I like colors and creating something beautiful, and creating things on the computer actually gives the same kind of fulfillment.” She is attracted to three-dimensional (3-D) images and experimenting with different textures and colors. Thus it is perhaps no surprise that Yoon found herself drawn to the field of architecture and interior design—“a perfect match” in which her creative desires and her interest in computers could merge. Today, the assistant professor of Architectural Studies focuses her research and teaching on the areas of Human Environmental Psychology and Interior and Architectural Design. Her current research combines information technology with interior design and architecture, a composite field in which she applies technology, particularly virtual reality (VR), to interior design problems.
Christ works with at least thirteen other departments on the MU campus. His collaborators range from the College of Education to the department of Religious Studies. The one thing they all share is a fascination with the way the brain works and the desire to watch it work.
Most of Yoon’s projects are collaborative in nature. She works with specialists from computer programming, data-base design, and hotel and restaurant management. “Collaboration is essential in this field,” she observes. Her colleagues are in fact scattered across the nation: “It doesn’t really matter these days because we can use live chat or GoToMeeting. This kind of technology allows us to actually work together quite seamlessly without meeting face-to-face.”
Yoon’s work combines architectural and interior designs with information technology. Applying the latest computer initiatives, Yoon studies how technology can assist people–for example, by improving their decision-making process.