A research method to discover someone’s covert memories, feelings and dreams.



Als muziek in mijn oren is an example of a cultural probe. A cultural probe serves as a means of gathering inspirational data about people’s lives, values and thoughts. Inspired by Henny, a former stranger I got to know because of the designed probe, I thought of a method to easily start a conversation about someone’s deepest memories, current feelings and future dreams.

Henny told me that her own voice and music in general have shown to be of great importance during her life. I took that information together with the knowledge that human beings often connect their memories to specific audio, music or songs. I created the cultural probe tool Als muziek in mijn oren.

Within a time span of one week, the participant receives three words. For each of them he/she is asked to record three audio clips that refer to that specific word. The given words are ‘then’, ‘now’ and ‘later’. Together with each audio fragment, the participant is asked to write down a short motivation.

Together with Henny, I also did the exercises of the cultural probe. When we had both finished, the audio fragments turned out to be interesting starting points for surprising conversations that got us to know each other in an entirely new way.