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IAED 410

Environmental
Psychology
Asst.Prof.Dr. Deniz Hasrc
Spring 2009-2010

Three Orders in Looking at the Environment


- Three Orders
- Perception
- Gestalt
- Cognition
- Cognitive maps

Three Orders in Looking at the Environment

Lets be botanists.
Not florists: categorize according to color, fragrance.
Not farmers: rank according to marketability.

Thus: Three Orders

1.

PHYSICAL ORDER (FORM):

2.

TERRITORIAL ORDER (PLACE):

3.

CULTURAL ORDER (UNDERSTANDING):

Environmental Perception and Cognition


1.

Environmental Perception
Gestalt

2. Environmental Cognition
(operational)

Cognitive Maps

Wayfinding

1. Environmental Perception

Process for gathering information about the world (source of


affective responses).

OBJECT PERCEPTION:

Simple stimuli:

Brightness

Color

Depth

Perceptual constancy

Form

Movement

Perception-in-action:

Perceiver is part of the scene.

Moving involves multiple perspectives.

Perceiver is connected by clear goal.

Gestalt Psychology:

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Laws of organization (how the brain operates)

Gestalt: form, unified whole, configuration.

Gestalt psychologists developed five laws that


govern human perception:

1. Law of Proximity

2. Law of Similarity

3. Law of Good Continuation

4. Law of Closure

5. Law of Prgnanz (good form)

6. Law of Figure/Ground

2. Environmental Cognition
The process of thought that leads to knowing:

The psychological result of perception, learning, recognizing,


reasoning.

Refers to the mental functions and processes (thoughts).

How we acquire, store, organize, recall information about


locations, distances, and arrangements in spaces.

http://www.vimeo.com/404183

http://vimeo.com/7284425

Kevin Lynchs Image of the City


What is your image of the city?
How might our understanding of how people develop mental
images of the environment help us design spaces better fitted
to users needs?
Environmental cognition can contribute to practical
environmental design.

Why Legibility?

Aids navigation
Guides social interaction
Prevents feeling lost
Helps make the environment feel like home
Some environments are more legible than others

Features of Cognitive Maps


Lynch (1960):
Five important elements (of legibility) in mental maps of
cities

Path distinctive thread that gives direction.


Edge the boundary between two areas.
Node important pathways come together, activity.
District medium/large area with a common identity.
Landmark reference point that stands out due to
shape, height, color, or historic importance.

Path

Edge

Node

District

Landmark

See you next week!

LAST WEEK:
Environmental Perception and Cognition
1.

Environmental Perception
Gestalt

2. Environmental Cognition
(operational)

Cognitive Maps

Legibility

Wayfinding

Wayfinding
Wayfinding: an internal psychological process, sequence
of problem-solving activities.
The process by which we navigate in our environment.
Newcomers to an environment experience the stressful
feeling of being lost learned process.

Effects of Signage and Floor Plan Configuration on Wayfinding Accuracy [(Environment and

Michael J. O'Neill Interior Environments Pgm, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

This study examines the influence of floor plan complexity and several types of signage on wayfinding
within a series of buildings on a university campus. The study used a 5 x 3 factorial experimental design.

The first factor, complexity of floor plan configuration, is defined through five alternatives. The second
factor, signage, has three conditions: no signage, textual signage, or graphic signage.

The results show that as floor plan complexity increases, wayfinding performance decreases. Graphic
signage produced the greatest rate of travel in all settings, but textual signage was the most effective in
reducing wayfinding errors, such as wrong turns and backtracking. Overall, the addition of signage
resulted in a 13% increase in rate of travel, a 50% decrease in wrong turns, and a 62% decrease in
backtracking across the five settings. However, plan configuration was found to exert a significant
influence regardless of signage, because the wayfinding performance of participants with access to
signage in the most complex settings remained equivalent to, or significantly poorer than, those in the
simplest settings with no signage.

Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 5, 553-574 (1991)].

EDRA, INFORMAWORLD, DESIGN SHARE, NSCU-UD

THIS WEEK:

1. Perceiving Configurations

Live Configurations
Control vs. Ownership
Control Games
Overlap of Form and Territory

2. Basic Theories of Environment and Behavior

Does control mean ownership?


Borrowed furniture, equipment, spaces?

Environmental game:
Watch the game
Observe live configurations
Deduce rules

Not to ask agents what, but why and how.

Public Spaces: Overlap of Form and Territory


Manipulation of public space
Claiming territory through use of space

Zaha Hadid: Burnham Pavilion, Chicago


http://vimeo.com/6937796
http://vimeo.com/6937292

Ethics/Values and Attitudes

Ethics/Values

Attitudes
Environmental Effects

Behavior

Russell and
Lanius: Affective
Quality of Places

Arousing

Upleasant

Pleasant

Not

Kaplan and Kaplan Preference Model


* (Remember Lynchs Spatial Descriptors!)
1.
2.
3.
4.

Coherence: making sense (an understandable


context)
Legibility: the promise of making sense (for the
person)
Complexity: involvement, number and variety of
elements within a scene
Mystery: the promise of involvement

1.

Coherence: ease of organizing and structuring parts,


units, chunks, blocks or scene elements.

Patterns that result from many similar and repeating


parts allow for easier human comprehension
(similarity/proximity).

2. Legibility: is found in an environment that looks as if


one could explore extensively without getting lost.
Undifferentiated sameness causes low legibility.

3. Complexity: a reflection of whether there is enough


present in the scene to keep one mentally occupied.
Too little is boring, too much is overwhelming.

4. Mystery: occurs when a scene provides partial


information about what lies ahead, inviting
exploration.
Things are obscured in such a way as to reveal their
presence but not their full identity.

See you next week!