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Environment and Behavior

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Presentation on theme: "Environment and Behavior"— Presentation transcript:

1 Environment and Behavior
Design Theory Environment and Behavior

2 Theories to be Discussed
Gestalt Theory Maslow Hierarchy Altman Sommer Hall Kinzel

3 Gestalt Theory Gestalt theory originated in Austria and Germany toward the end of the 19th century. Since then, Gestalt theory has has become fundamental to several related disciplines, including art, graphic design, web design and interior design.

4 What is Gestalt Theory Gestalt theory focuses on the mind’s perceptive processes The word "Gestalt" has no direct translation in English, but refers to "a way a thing has been gestellt ; i.e., ‘placed,’ or ‘put together’"; common translations include "form" and "shape"

5 What is Gestalt Theory Gestalt theorists followed the basic principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In viewing the "whole," a cognitive process takes place – the mind makes a leap from comprehending the parts to realizing the whole.

6 The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

7 Figure Ground Segregation
When you look at the environment, you look at it as a whole picture, not separate parts. There are images in the environment that people are aware, this would be the figure. Images people are not aware of make up the ground.

8 Figure – Ground Segregation
The figure is what a person is concentrating on; The ground would be everything else in that environment; Some properties of figure ground: Figures hold more memorable association than the ground. Figures are seen as being in front of the ground. The ground is seen as uniformed material and seems to extend behind the figure. The contour separating the figure from the ground appears to belong to the figure. (Goldstein, pp )

9 Reversible figure/ground
There are no correct interpretations to what the figure is and what the ground is; it is the individual’s choice. People have different memories and experiences that influence their perception of images. We have seen that meaningfulness can help determine which area we see as figure. If something has meaning to someone, it normally "jumps out" at them, and is more noticeable

10 Gestalt Laws of Organization
proximity - elements tend to be grouped together according to their nearness similarity - items similar in some respect tend to be grouped together closure - items are grouped together if they tend to complete some entity simplicity - items will be organized into simple figures according to symmetry, regularity, and smoothness

11 Law of Proximity The Gestalt law of proximity states that "objects or shapes that are close to one another appear to form groups“ Even if the shapes, sizes, and objects are radically different, they will appear as a group if they are close together.

12 Law of Similarity Similarity occurs when objects look similar to one another. People often perceive them as a group or pattern. Our mind groups similar elements to an entity. The similarity depends on form, color, size and brightness of the elements.

13 Law of Closure Gestalt theory seeks completeness; when shapes aren’t closed, we tend to add the missing elements to complete the image Although the panda is not complete, enough is present for the eye to complete the shape. When the viewer's perception completes a shape, closure occurs.

14 Law of Good Continuation
Continuation occurs when the eye is compelled to move through one object and continue to another object. "tend to continue shapes beyond their ending points"

15 Environmental Psychology
We shape our environments and then they shape us.

16 The built environment directly influences our lives from not only providing the basics (shelter and safety) but it can also affect our behavior and health. In other words, we shape our environments and then they shape us….

17 What role does our home play in our lives?
Shelters and protects us from physical harm Shapes our behavior and productivity Enhances self image Insulates us from the stress of the outside world Provides a feeling of control over at least a small segment of our environment Contributes to our health and psychological well being. Provides a setting for social interaction Serves as an outlet for our need for creative self-expression.

18 In short… Our home is central to the satisfaction of the hierarchy of human needs first proposed by Abraham Maslow

19 Maslow’s Hierarchy Needs at the lower level must be met to some extent before higher needs begin to manifest themselves. Maslow’s theory is important to understand when relating personal needs to the built environment.

20 Environmental Psychology
The study of the interaction between people and the built environment. This is a relatively new area of study, beginning in the 1950’s with a campaign to improve mental hospitals. Environmental psychology is interdisciplinary combining research of many scientific disciplines along with design practitioners to contribute to the body of knowledge.

21 What disciplines contribute to the research?
Psychologists Anthropologists Sociologists Urban planners Health care professionals Interior designers Architects Ergonomists

22 A few questions that environmental psychologists work with.
Why are some spaces comfortable and others threatening? How can we enhance our environments to reduce stress, create more efficiency, and minimize accidents?

23 Ergonomics and Human Factors Engineering
Ergonomists study the relationship between humans and their work environment. Seating (back strain, RSI) Lighting (eye strain, glare) Computer Equipment Furniture (worksurface heights)

24 Ergonomics – Eye Strain
Monitor distance should be inches from user (approximately an arm's length) Neither monitor nor user should face a window Monitor should be placed at a right angle to windows or between rows of fluorescent lighting rather than directly under them

25 Chair Ergonomics Height should be adjustable (in the range of inches for most users) The seat pan should have a depth of inches The front edge of the seat should be rounded with a slight downward slope to prevent loss of circulation in the thighs. (waterfall front) The backrest should support the lumbar region Armrests are optional. They should be adjustable. Do not use while typing. Tilt-tension and locking mechanism

26 Worksurface height Typing height is from 26” – 28” Writing is 29 – 30”
Use keyboard tray with negative tilt Using a wrist rest can be problematic Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI): Carpal tunnel syndrome Tendonitis

27 Anthropometrics The study of human body measurements including height, weight, reach Human Physiology Information is used by designers to create functional spaces

28 You may have heard someone say
Their product was designed to accommodate 90% of the population for that one selected measure.  This means that for the selected anthropometric measure, such as height, the lower limit of the range is the height of a 5th percentile female and the upper limit is the height of a 95th percentile male.  

29 You must know your population
Varies by age, gender, and ethnicity The anthropometric range will be much different if we are designing products for male, professional basketball players than if we are designing for the general public.

30 Areas of Research in Environmental Psychology
Special Needs ( Alzheimer's disease) Child care centers Schools Alternative work environments Stress in the workplace Crowding Prisons Low cost housing

31 Pruitt- Igoe St. Louis Missouri Housing Project , 1956 - 1972
33ea 11-story high rise buildings consisting of ,870 apartments. Total failure of design. The structure did not “fit” the users who lived there. In 15 years, the buildings were totally run down. This disaster made people start to look at user data and behavioral attitudes.

32 Personal Space Iwrin Altman Robert Sommer Edward T. Hall

33 Personal Space Personal Space: An area around a person that expands or contracts due to individual needs and social circumstance. Will vary with personality type. (introvert, extrovert)

34 Irwin Atlman A pioneer in the field of environmental research
A social psychologist who studied how people use the environment to shape social interaction in terms of 4 behavioral concepts Privacy Territoriality Crowding Personal Space

35 Privacy A process by which a person makes him or herself more or less accessible to others Can you think of some examples? Doors Walls Window treatments Porch location Changing rooms

36 Territoriality Territoriality: A primal instinct, it is the concept of making space with “ownership” either real (your home) or perceived (your desk area). We feel safe and in control in our own territories. How do people mark their territory? Fences Closed doors Signs: No trespassing, Do not enter Nameplates Personal items (plants, pictures)

37 Crowding Leads to psychological discomfort.
Varies by culture and personality type We can tolerate crowding on a temporary basis as in an elevator or crowded dance floor, but will become stressed and even panic if confined for a long period. Examples: Dr’s office, movie theaters, shopping behavior, minimal design vs. nick-knacks

38 Assignment for next week…
Territory and Crowding Assignment Type written description of your observations of a person or group of people marking their territory. Cite where you were and what the person did to claim their space. 10 points Due at beginning of next class

39 Edward T. Hall An anthropologist that further researched personal space and developed the research area of proxemics Proxemics is the study of our personal and cultural spatial needs and the behavioral and social impact of our interaction with surrounding space. The Hidden Dimension, 1966

40 4 Interpersonal distances – Space Bubbles
Intimate distance (0-18”) Usually a private occasion Personal Distance (18” – 48”) at hands length, shaking hands Social Distance (4’-12’) impersonal business, casual social gatherings, seating arrangements. Public Distance: (12’-25’) won’t feel obligated to stop and talk, little personal interaction

41 Robert Sommer: Where do you sit?
Robert Sommer: a psychologist who believed that an environment should contribute to the comfort of the individual and the efficiency of the task within a given space. Robert Sommer describes personal space as "an area with invisible boundaries surrounding a person’s body into which intruders may not come" He studied seating behavior in classrooms and other institutions and declared there to be a type of nonverbal communication connected to where people sit in a classroom. He found that the best students sit in the 2nd and 3rd row.

42 Robert Kinzel Looked at the body buffer zones (personal space bubbles) of prisoners. He found that violent criminals had zones 4 times larger than normal and that they had a much larger back zone. They changed the seating arrangements in the eating area which resulted in fewer fights between inmates during meal times.

43 Key points of Environment/Behavior Research
In summary, environment/behavioral research focuses on several key points. the built environment impacts behavior Behavioral responses are primal and thus, humans' basic situational responses are deemed predictable. proper planning can support intended behavioral outcomes .

44 Great Website for ID Majors
Check out

45 A word about Cultural Influences
Culture refers to the system wherein a group of people or society share common values or common ways of doing things. What is right and wrong What is beautiful and ugly These values could be passed down from generation to generation.

46 Cultural differences Americans are very private (walls doors and locks) However, Roman culture uses very few walls, no doors or locks. The use of these items are considered an insult because it implies a lack of trust. In Poland, one sits quietly and does not interact. In the US, there is pressure to interact and to be more extraverted. (Bless-you) Personal distance in the Middle East, South America and in southern Europe are much smaller than the US. They are more comfortable touching and embracing without any threat or discomfort. People in parts of Asia and South America prefer to sit on the ground with crossed legs. They would most likely chose this option over a comfortable chair. The American kitchen is the heart of a home, but in Peru and in Poland, this space is considered one of the most private spaces.

47 Our attitudes affect the way our homes are designed….
How we eat, bath, relax directly affects the design of our home American homes are multi-functional with single purpose rooms. Master bedroom suites Formal Dining Rooms and Living rooms Large open kitchens with keeping rooms Spend more time at home. Japanese homes are much different. They have multi-functional homes with multi-purpose rooms Sit on the floor (social) and eat on the floor in the same room Use sliding panels for adaptive use of space Use soaking tubs

48 Can you think of an example of a cultural difference between the “deep-south” and larger metropolitan areas relating to space and interior design?

49 Next Class Chapter 1 The Design Process

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