Extreme environmental situations are useful tools for the investigation of the general processes of adaptation. Among such situations, high altitude of more than 3000 m produces a set of pathological disorders that includes both cerebral (cAS) and respiratory (RAS) altitude symptoms. High altitude exposure further induces anxiety responses and behavioural disturbances. The authors report an investigation on anxiety responses, personality traits, and altitude symptoms (AS) in climbers participating in a 31-day period of confinement and gradual decompression in a hypobaric chamber equivalent to a climb from sea-level to Mount Everest (8848 m altitude). Personality traits, state-trait anxiety, and AS were assessed, using the Cattell 16 Personality Factor questionnaire (16PF), the Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and the Lake Louise concensus questionnaire. Results show significant group effect for state-anxiety and AS; state-anxiety and AS increased as altitude increased. They also show that state-type anxiety shows a similar time-course to cAS, but not RAS. Alternatively, our results demonstrate a significant negative correlation between Factor M of the 16PF questionnaire, which is a personality trait that ranges from praxernia to autia. In contrast, no significant correlation was found between personality traits and AS. This suggests that AS could not be predicted using personality traits and further support that personality traits, such as praxernia (happening sensitivity), could play a major role in the occurrence of state-type anxiety responses in extreme environments. In addition, the general processes of coping and adaptation in individuals participating in extreme environmental experiments are discussed.
The psychological effects of unusual environments reveal different aspects of behaviour from those seen in more customary situations. Such environments provide natural laboratories in which many questions of psychological interest, varying with the specific environment, may be studied. This paper uses isolated polar stations to illustrate this point. In such settings, the usual parameters that control a variety of psychological processes are drastically changed, and confounding variables are stripped away. Consequently, the environment offers unique perspectives on environmental perception and cognition; adaptation to and use of the environment; environmental bonding; social interaction; and coping with environmental challenge.
Geographic and substance use data were collected from 301 urban adolescents to compare the perceived and observed risk and safety associated with their home and activity space locations (routine locations). The geographic characteristics of the neighborhood surrounding each location was summarized according to features theorized to be risky, such as criminal activity and alcohol sales, and features theorized to be safe, such as recreation centers and churches. Data on socioeconomic status, derived from U.S. Bureau of the Census data, were also used to characterize locations. Adolescents' homes were typically perceived as safe despite observed measures of risk such as density of crimes and proximity to alcohol outlets. This held for both substance users and non-users. Differences in geographic characteristics for safe and risky activity spaces were observed for both substance users and non-users, with non-users appearing to be more sensitive to the presence of risky characteristics in the environment than substance users. Results highlight the need and provide a methodology to collect fine-grained activity space data instead of relying only on home residence when attempting to represent place and health behaviors with urban youth.
The detrimental effects of a ringing phone on cognitive performance were investigated in four experiments. In Experiments 1 and 2, the effects of different types of sounds (a standard cell phone ring, irrelevant tones and an instrumental song commonly encountered by participants) on performance were examined. In Experiment 1, slower responses were observed in all auditory groups relative to a silence condition, but participants in the ring and song conditions recovered more slowly. In Experiment 2, participants who were warned about the potential for distraction recovered more quickly, suggesting a benefit of this prior knowledge. This investigation continued in a college classroom setting (Experiments 3a and 3b); students were exposed to a ringing cell phone during the lecture. Performance on a surprise quiz revealed low accuracy rates on material presented while the phone was ringing. These findings offer insight into top-down cognitive processes that moderate involuntary orienting responses associated with a common stimulus encountered in the environment.
Much of our day-to-day wayfinding behaviour takes place in familiar large-scale urban environments, yet there is a dearth of studies examining how wayfinding unfolds on a second-by-second basis in this context. Here we used a retrospective verbal report protocol, eye tracking and a highly accurate virtual reality simulation of a real city (London, UK) to examine this issue. Subjects, who were taxi drivers, were able to produce extremely detailed accounts of what they had been thinking during wayfinding, which were validated by independent eye-tracking data. There was a high degree of consistency in the types of thoughts across subjects, permitting classification into a number of distinct categories. Moreover, it was possible to quantify the number of thoughts in each category, their durations and temporal order. Detailed analysis of the verbal reports provided new insights into the processes and strategies involved, and highlighted a greater range of thoughts than has previously been reported in studies of wayfinding. By analysing the temporal order of thoughts it was possible to identify specific relationships between categories. Some of these relationships were predicted by current cognitive models of wayfinding, others were novel, thus shedding new light on how navigation unfolds in a busy city.
Studies relating urban design to health have been impeded by the unfeasibility of conducting field observations across large areas and the lack of validated objective measures of urban design. This study describes measures for five dimensions of urban design - imageability, enclosure, human scale, transparency, and complexity - created using public geographic information systems (GIS) data from the US Census and city and state government. GIS measures were validated for a sample of 588 New York City block faces using a well-documented field observation protocol. Correlations between GIS and observed measures ranged from 0.28 to 0.89. Results show valid urban design measures can be constructed from digital sources.
Becoming proficient at navigation in urban environments is something that we all aspire to. Here we asked whether being an expert at wayfinding in one environment has any effect on learning new spatial layouts. Licensed London taxi drivers are among the most proficient urban navigators, training for many years to find their way around a complex and irregularly-laid out city. We first tested how well they could learn the layout of an unfamiliar town compared with a group of non-taxi drivers. Second, we investigated how effectively taxi drivers could integrate a new district into their existing spatial representation of London. We found that taxi drivers were significantly better than control participants at executing routes through the new town, and representing it at a map-like survey level. However, the benefits of navigational expertise were not universal. Compared with their performance in the new town, taxi drivers were significantly poorer at learning the layout of a new area that had to be integrated with their existing knowledge of London. We consider reasons for this picture of facilitation and limitation, in particular drawing parallels with how knowledge acquisition occurs in the context of expertise in general.
The purpose of this study is to develop and test a latent variable model that explores the ways in which social structural factors influence the amount of social support that older adults provide to their social network members. Neighborhood conditions play a key role in this conceptual scheme. The findings provide support for the following conceptual linkages: (1) low parental education is associated with low respondent education; (2) older people with less education encounter more economic difficulty; (3) greater financial problems are associated with living in a rundown neighborhood; (4) older individuals who live in dilapidated neighborhoods are more hostile; and (5) older adults who are hostile are less likely to provide social support to their social network members. Research indicates that helping others is a key to successful aging. Ways must be found to help economically disadvantaged elders provide support to their social network members.
This study examines the effects of perceived housing environment on selected well-being outcomes of a seriously mentally ill population in supported housing programs. Individuals live independently in their own apartments and use supportive mental health services as needed. The study conceptualizes one's housing environment as existing at the apartment, neighborhood and the surrounding community levels of analysis that, taken together, form a multi-dimensional construct of housing environment. Self-report data from interviews with a sample of seriously mentally ill adults is paired with (a) observer ratings of housing environments, (b) census profiles of the surrounding community and (c) case manager ratings of clients' functioning in order to explore the effects of supported housing environments on well-being outcomes. Well-being is operationalized here as levels of psychiatric distress, recovery orientation, residential satisfaction, and adaptive functioning. Hierarchical regression models posit that apartment, neighborhood and census tract level variables are unique predictors of these domains of well-being. Results show that neighborhood level variables, especially those relating to the social environment, are the most influential predictors for understanding variance in well-being, with apartment level variables also contributing to understanding of housing environment effects. The census tract level predictors did not contribute a significant amount of explanation of the variance in well-being outcomes. Implications for supported housing programs and the role of ecological levels of analysis in conceptualizing and measuring housing environment influence are discussed.
Different conceptual perspectives converge to predict that if individuals are stressed, an encounter with most unthreatening natural environments will have a stress reducing or restorative influence, whereas many urban environments will hamper recuperation. Hypotheses regarding emotional, attentional and physiological aspects of stress reducing influences of nature are derived from a psycho-evolutionary theory. To investigate these hypotheses, 120 subjects first viewed a stressful movie, and then were exposed to color/sound videotapes of one of six different natural and urban settings. Data concerning stress recovery during the environmental presentations were obtained from self-ratings of affective states and a battery of physiological measures: heart period, muscle tension, skin conductance and pulse transit time, a non-invasive measure that correlates with systolic blood pressure. Findings from the physiological and verbal measures converged to indicate that recovery was faster and more complete when subjects were exposed to natural rather than urban environments. The pattern of physiological findings raised the possibility that responses to nature had a salient parasympathetic nervous system component; however, there was no evidence of pronounced parasympathetic involvement in responses to the urban settings. There were directional differences in cardiac responses to the natural vs urban settings, suggesting that attention/intake was higher during the natural exposures. However, both the stressor film and the nature settings elicited high levels of involuntary or automatic attention, which contradicts the notion that restorative influences of nature stem from involuntary attention or fascination. Findings were consistent with the predictions of the psycho-evolutionary theory that restorative influences of nature involve a shift towards a more positively-toned emotional state, positive changes in physiological activity levels, and that these changes are accompanied by sustained attention/intake. Content differences in terms of natural vs human-made properties appeared decisive in accounting for the differences in recuperation and perceptual intake.
A multinational study is reported on the relationship between values and attitudes. Environmental attitudes were measured using the revised New Environmental Paradigm (NEP: Dunlap et al., 1992) and Thompson and Barton's (1994) ecocentrism–anthropocentrism scales. Other measures included gender, SES, religion, and Schwartz's (1994) universal values scale. Survey data were obtained from college students in 14 countries. A sample of 2160 participants was obtained through university contacts in each country. Results found support for the distinction between different types of environmental attitudes. Regression analyses revealed a consistent pattern of findings across countries. Scores on the NEP scale and the ecocentrism scale were predicted by universalism (positively), power (negatively), and tradition (negatively). In contrast, anthropocentric concerns were significantly related to benevolence (negatively), power (positively), tradition (positively), and security (positively). Overall, these findings support the value-basis theory of environmental attitudes.
The personal assessments of the current and expected future state of the environment by 3232 community respondents in 18 nations were investigated at the local, national, and global spatial levels. These assessments were compared to a ranking of each country's environmental quality by an expert panel. Temporal pessimism (“things will get worse”) was found in the assessments at all three spatial levels. Spatial optimism bias (“things are better here than there”) was found in the assessments of current environmental conditions in 15 of 18 countries, but not in the assessments of the future. All countries except one exhibited temporal pessimism, but significant differences between them were common. Evaluations of current environmental conditions also differed by country. Citizens' assessments of current conditions, and the degree of comparative optimism, were strongly correlated with the expert panel's assessments of national environmental quality. Aside from the value of understanding global trends in environmental assessments, the results have important implications for environmental policy and risk management strategies.
This paper describes events and interactions among scholars from the Geography and Psychology Departments at Clark University during the late 1960s. These events and interactions led to the establishment of a vigorous, informal program of training and research on the environment and behavior. The paper also describes an on-going, long-term organismic-developmental, systems-oriented research program which is an outgrowth of that activity. Paradigmatic research on critical person-in-environment transitions and open problems and issues are discussed.
This is an exploratory study, taking on the transactional viewpoint. It provides further research into the notion of place, focusing on the generic nature of places. Metatheoretically, the study is couched into Facet Approach. The main aim was to identify criteria which systematically structure preference for generic places and, on the basis of those criteria, to establish a classification system by which generic places can be compared and related to one another. Fifty-five participants conducted card sort procedure. Multidimensional Scaling Techniques (MSA, SSA) were used to analyse the data. Three relevant criteria could be found: (1) Function of the places, (2) Specificity of function, and (3) Privacy. Implications for future research and practical implications are discussed.
This study examines the relationship between map drawing skills and spatial orientation abilities. Ninety-six students (48 males and 48 females) from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” studied an adapted map of the archeological site of the Palatine Hill. Then, participants were asked to draw a map and to perform some spatial orientation tasks tapping landmark, route and survey knowledge. Results showed a strong relationship among various map drawing skills and spatial orientation abilities. However, such a relationship was more marked in males than in females. In addition, males needed less time to learn the map, were more accurate than females in map drawing, and showed higher levels of performance on road drawing. Overall, these gender differences can be interpreted as deriving from the use of different map learning strategies: males approach the map from a global perspective and whereas females focus on local features.
The discussion about underground spaces for office use has intensified during the past few decades, but the human reactions towards them are not yet well understood. Furthermore, most of the previous studies have been carried out in western countries. In the present study, Japanese office workers' psychological reactions to underground and above-ground offices were investigated with regard to the perceived importance of windows in the office, and the perceived lighting and visual conditions in the underground and above-ground offices. The study was carried out in the form of a questionnaire survey. The subjects were 22 employees in underground and 86 employees in above-ground offices. The results confirmed that windows were strongly desired in offices, especially by employees working underground and not having windows. The underground employees also evaluated their lighting condition more negatively than did the above-ground workers. Considering that type of furniture and colour scheme, as well as other environmental factors, such as type and level of artificial lighting, temperature and noise level, were very similar in the underground and above-ground offices, it is concluded that the perceived need for windows and the perception of the lighting conditions in our study was strongly influenced by psychological factors, such as the awareness of being underground. Furthermore, the Japanese subjects' reactions were similar to those of the western subjects found in previous studies, which suggests that reactions towards windowlessness and underground spaces are widespread, not influenced substantially by cultural or climatic conditions. It is, therefore, argued that underground spaces for office use should be avoided as much as possible. If underground space utilization is necessary, the occupants' psychological reactions should be considered to a much greater extent in the design process than is the case at present.
The reported study was conducted to investigate the effect of environmental form on peoples" two types of path imagery: abstract and scenographic. Four hundred and ninety-eight students from three universities, which had different campus designs, were assigned to different group tasks, in which they were tested in both abstract (map-like) performance and scenographic (photographic composition) performance. Results revealed that students at the university of grid-patterned and repetitive design made significantly more errors in scenographic imagery than students at the other two universities. There were no significant differences among students of the three campuses on abstract imagery. Students" abstract performance was clearly superior to their scenographic one. Finally, the study was in support of the concept that we represent environmental knowledge through multiple images.
This paper reports a meta-analysis of studies using the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) Scale over the last 30 years. A review of 69 studies from 36 countries (including 58,279 participants from 139 samples) shows that there is considerable variation in the way the NEP Scale is used, particularly with regards to the number of items used and the number of points on the Likert scale employed. Results from weighted regression analyses reveals that variations in sample type and scale length have a significant effect on NEP scores. In particular, environmentalist and white-collar samples scored significantly higher on the NEP Scale than nationally or regionally representative samples, while blue-collar samples scored significantly lower; and participants scored higher on 6-item versions of the scale than on the revised 15-item version, and lower on versions of the scale containing 5, 7, 8 or 10 items. Implications of this research for the comparability of previous studies using the NEP Scale are discussed and guidelines for future research are presented.
The present study examined how values, organizational goals and norms influence willingness to accept climate change policy measures within organizations. Respondents were 356 decision makers within the public and private sectors in a metropolitan area of Sweden. Regression models were estimated to investigate the mediating effect of norms on the relationship between values and support of policy measures aimed at reducing green house gas emissions. The results showed that for decision makers in the public sector, but not in the private sector, environmental values were important determinants of willingness to accept climate change policy measures. As hypothesized, these effects were mediated by norms. Together these findings corroborate earlier research on public support for environmental movement.
This paper examines factors influencing the acceptability of energy policies aimed to reduce the emission of CO2 by households. More specifically, it is studied to what extent the value–belief–norm theory of environmentalism (VBN theory; Stern, [(2000). Toward a coherent theory of environmentally significant behavior. Journal of Social Issues, 56(3), 407–424.]) is successful in explaining acceptability judgements. In contrast to previous studies, we test the full VBN theory. A questionnaire study was conducted among 112 Dutch respondents. Results confirmed the causal order of the variables in VBN theory, moving from relative stable general values to beliefs about human–environment relations, which in turn affect behaviour specific beliefs and norms, and acceptability judgements, respectively. As expected, all variables were significantly related to the next variable in the causal chain. Biospheric values were also significantly related to feelings of moral obligation to reduce household energy consumption when intermediate variables were controlled for. Furthermore, as hypothesized, personal norms mediated the relationship between AR and acceptability judgements, AR beliefs mediated the relationship between AC beliefs and personal norms, AC beliefs mediated the relationship between NEP and AR beliefs, and NEP mediated the relationship between values and AC beliefs.
Acceptability of travel demand management (TDM) with the aim of reducing private car use is modeled following a hierarchical set of beliefs. In a two-part model, pro-environmental orientation, problem awareness, personal norm, and willingness to reduce car use are linked to beliefs about to which extent the specific TDM measure is perceived to influence freedom to choose travel mode, own reduction of car use, effectiveness, fairness, and subsequently acceptability. Data were collected through a mail survey in Sweden, and the model was tested in a sample of car users for three TDM measures; improved public transport, an information campaign, and increased tax on fuel. First, the models were tested and modified in a randomly selected sub-sample (N=462), then the modified models were validated in the remaining sub-sample (N=460). We conclude that problem awareness and personal norm, in combination with evaluations of specific TDM measures, are underlying the acceptability of TDM measures. Moral considerations and perceived fairness were important for the acceptability of increased tax on fuel, while freedom aspects and problem awareness were of importance for the acceptability of improved public transport. Because acceptability often is important for the implementation of TDM measures, policy makers may draw on these results when attempting to increase the acceptability of various TDM measures.
Conflicts over timber harvesting and clearcutting versus wildlife conservation have instigated alternative silvicultural systems in the US Pacific Northwest. Major forest treatments can be the most controversial element of such systems. A public survey explored the social acceptability of 19 forest treatments that varied by forest age, level of green-tree retention, pattern of retention, and level of down wood. The survey presented respondents with photos of the treatments, explanatory narratives, and resource outputs related to human and wildlife needs. Respondents rated treatments for scenic beauty, service to human needs, service to wildlife needs, and overall acceptability. Acceptability distribution patterns were analysed for all forest treatments. These showed broad, passionate opposition to clearcutting, conflict over the acceptability of not managing forests, conflict over old growth harvests, conflict with some passionate opposition to 15% retention harvests, and unconflicted acceptance of young forest thinnings and 40% retention harvests. Modelling of these responses found that socially acceptable forestry attends to scenic beauty and serves wildlife needs, while also serving human needs but not at a high cost to these first two values.
Window access, task type, and the room (windowed or windowless) were manipulated to investigate their effects on performance and individuals' perceptions of the task and room. Students (n = 180) performed one of three tasks (filing, computational, creative) in either a windowed or windowless room, and had either a direct or indirect interaction with the window. Contrary to expectation, performance and perceptions were not affected by the interaction of window access, task type, and the room. Also, performance was not higher for those working in a room with a window. A marginal interaction effect (p < 0.10) indicated that the creative task is affected by the type of access. Also, the effects on perceptions of the task and room tend to indicate that windowed rooms do contribute a dynamic environment. Specifically, the windowed room appeared to effect more positive perceptions for the creative task. Interestingly, some positive perceptions about the monotonous task occurred in the windowless room; however, boredom tended to be reduced when one faced the window. Implications of these results and suggestions for future research are discussed.
The reactor accident at Chernobyl caught many European nations by surprise since most risk management institutions were unprepared for an accident of the magnitude and transnational character of Chernobyl. Although confusion and contradictory advice from these institutions dominated the risk management efforts in the early aftermath of the disaster, the dose savings achieved by protective actions were roughly proportional to the magnitude of the nuclear threat. The accident itself and the policies adopted to cope with the fallout had a major effect on public opinion. This effect was the more dramatic and enduring, the more a country was affected by the fallout and the higher the percentage of indifferent positions toward nuclear power was prior to the accident. The media certainly intensified public concern, but did not distort the seriousness of the risk or create confusion about what protection actions were adequate. The major lesson from the disaster is to have a better risk management and communication program in place before a disaster strikes.
This is a study of reactions in selected groups of the Swedish population to the Chernobyl accident. Data were collected in September 1986, from three regions in the country which had been exposed in various degrees to radioactive fallout. In each region samples of farmers, adolescents, persons who had had a child just before or after the accident, and men who were not registered as legal custodians of children, were approached with a mail questionnaire. It was found that attitudes to nuclear power were predominantly negative, that the risk associated with radiation and nuclear power were rated among the worst risks, and that residents of the most exposed region (Gävle) reported being worried about injury from radiation twice as often as others. A sub-group of decisive opponents of nuclear power was identified. It was 15 times larger than the corresponding sub-group of decisive proponents. New parents and farmers were quite negative to nuclear power, a finding discussed in relation to their responsibilities for food production and care for others.
The impact of residential care upon the self-concepts of the elderly was investigated through the analysis of the frequency of state and action verbs in the self-descriptions of elderly people living in residential care or in their own dwelling. There was a significant interaction between verb class, eliciting question and type of accommodation, suggesting only qualified support for the hypothesis that occupants of residential care accommodation have a more passive sense of self.
There has been a rapid rise in the levels of interest in private domestic gardens within contemporary society. Literature suggests that gardens carry special meanings for individuals and that both gardens and gardening may have therapeutic effects. In order to explore how people's interest in gardens may change over time, the study investigates participants’ accounts of the meanings associated with domestic gardens, across the lifespan. A grounded theory analysis was conducted of semi-structured interviews with an opportunity sample of 18 participants aged between 18 and 85 years. Interviewees identified how domestic gardens are implicated within the concepts of Escapism, Identity and Ownership, providing a setting for a multitude of relationships, most notably with nature. The study highlights how these universal concepts assume different meanings at varying life stages and how the concept of retreat remains a significant one.
The present study reports on two studies designed to explore subjects' performance in learning and accessing knowledge of artificial- and real-world environments. Experiment 1 established norms for supporting materials used in Experiment 2. Subjects in Experiment 2 learned an artificial (computer-based) environment that was either randomly- or prototypically-configured, then performed several tasks intended to assess their configurational knowledge of the environment. The results showed that subjects were able to derive configurational knowledge from either the random or prototypical configuration. However, configurational knowledge was better in the random condition than in the prototypical condition. It was also found that subjects' configurational knowledge was, in general, functionally similar to their knowledge of a real-world environment. Multidimensional scaling was used of distance-estimation data to reconstruct recognizable representations of the artificial environments from the data. Finally, no effect was found for the schema-expectancy of sites on the acquisition of configurational knowledge.
The incidental acquisition of spatial orientation knowledge when using a pedestrian navigation assistance system for wayfinding was compared to incidental learning during map-based wayfinding. First-time visitors to a real environment (a zoo) took a guided tour. In the navigation assistance conditions, users were provided with direction information and view-based pictures of the current intersection at each decision point, presented on a hand-held computer. In the map-based condition, participants derived route segments from a map (each segment comprising three or four intersections), and then walked the partial routes from memory. After walking, unexpected tests on route memory and survey knowledge were administered. Navigation assistance users showed good route knowledge and poor survey knowledge. In contrast, map users showed better survey knowledge and nearly perfect route knowledge. Variations of information presentation within navigation assistance conditions (auditory vs. visual direction command, additional presentation of allocentric spatial information) was not effective. Results are explained with an active encoding principle. Only information that is actually encoded, transformed, and/or memorized during the primary wayfinding activity, is incidentally learned. Since navigation assistance systems do not require users to encode, transform, and memorize spatial information, the spatial orientation knowledge of navigation assistance users is poor.
How adults and children come to understand, represent and behave within their spatial environment are topics of great interest to geographers, psychologists, environmental planners and laypeople. Considerable research and theory has been published on these and related topics. In this paper, we will review some of what is known and theorized about spatial cognition and then consider elements of our research program on the acquisition of spatial knowledge. We focus on two intimately related topics. The first is the development of a conceptual model of the knowledge structures and processes associated with acquiring, representing and accessing knowledge of a given environment. The conceptual model forms the basis for a formal computational process model intended as a simulation of actual knowledge and performance in way finding tasks. The second emphasis is an in-depth case study of the acquisition of spatial knowledge. The case study focuses on a single child acquiring knowledge of a lengthy route through an unfamiliar suburban neighborhood. It is presented as an empirical test of certain assumptions embodied within the conceptual model.Before introducing the conceptual model and the case study, we first review the state of current theory and data on spatial cognition and identify four central issues confronting researchers in this field. This review provides a necessary context for describing and evaluating our program of research. The second section of this paper discusses elements of the conceptual model and its relationship to other formal computational models. The third section considers specific hypotheses about the acquisition and representation of spatial knowledge and tests of these hypotheses from the single in-depth case study. The final discussion section of this paper is a reconsideration of the four issues raised in the first section and necessary and proposed extensions of the current research.
Two experiments were conducted investigating a series of issues concerning the nature of the spatial knowledge obtained from a computer model of a campus environment. The issues investigated were: the relative acquisition of route and survey knowledge, the construction of survey knowledge over repeated exposures, the orientation-specific nature of the cognitive representation, and practical wayfinding abilities. A series of tests were administered to assess the route and survey knowledge of subjects who learned a campus environment from a map, computer model, or direct experience. The results indicated that computer experience leads to the acquisition of some elements of both route and survey knowledge. There was also evidence of orientation specificity and functional wayfinding knowledge.
That a memory representation of the spatial layout of a large-scale environment may be acquired very fast was shown in two experiments in which subjects (48 undergraduates and high-school students) were taken on tours through a residential area with which they were unfamiliar. Memory for the path traversed was almost perfect after the first trial, as indicated by almost perfect recall of the order in which a number of designated landmarks had been passed. Memory for the locations of the same landmarks appeared to reach an asymptotic level after the second of three trials. The memory representation of the locations were however not perfectly accurate, thus the asymptotic level might have been an acquisition plateau. The rate of acquisition was slightly faster for subjects driven in a car slowly through the area than for those who walked the same path. Men tended to improve slightly faster than women if they were driven by car but there were no other sex differences. Finally, the acquired memory representation appeared to be resistant to forgetting. Re-learning after a one-week retention interval was faster and rate of learning was not negatively affected whether the trials were massed or distributed with one week in between. The results are discussed in terms of hypotheses concerning the order in which different types of information about spatial layouts (landmarks, paths, and locations) are acquired. The bearing of the results on the question of why memory representations of the spatial layout are often found to be distorted is also discussed.
This paper investigates the acquisition of neighborhood route knowledge by children of ages 9–12. Subjects were exposed to two routes through an unfamiliar suburban neighborhood, with five learning trials undertaken on each route. One route was acquired by actual field experience, while the other was acquired by viewing a video tape. Route knowledge acquisition was tested by performance on navigation, sketch mapping, and scene recognition tasks. Mode of experience had little effect on recognition performance; however, navigation performance following five video trials was inferior and approximated that of children with only one trial of field experience. These data support the differentiation of knowledge types and the need to engage in route navigation to proceduralize such knowledge.
An important issue in the study of spatial knowledge has been the distinction between configurational and route knowledge. Route knowledge is characterized by the knowledge of sequential locations without the knowledge of general interrelationships. In contrast, configurational knowledge is characterized by the ability to generalize beyond learned routes and locate objects within a general frame of reference. These two types of knowledge are contrasted in a learning experiment, in which subjects acquire spatial information either from a map or a slide presentation. Furthermore, the structure of their spatial knowledge is derived from free-recall data using the ordered tree clustering algorithm. The results show, first, that subjects in the map condition acquired more accurate configurational knowledge. Second, we found that route knowledge can be acquired either through route presentation or map presentation. Third, there are individual differences within the slide group, such that some subjects were able to acquire configurational knowledge. And fourth, ordered trees are able to account for some of these differences, and thus identify the degree of configurational knowledge acquired by the slide subjects.
This experiment was designed to examine how information obtained by learning two separate but partially overlapping routes in a relatively unfamiliar environment is integrated to provide locational, directional, and layout information about environmental features. The subject group was equally divided between adult males and females. A mixed land-use environment was chosen as the setting. The two partially overlapping routes were learned under uni- or bidirectional presentation conditions. Sequencing, distancing, and pointing tasks were used to access on-route and cross-route spatial knowledge. Various performance measures showed that when routes were learned bidirectionally performance was poorer. Results of cross-route pointing tasks indicated that integration of information had been achieved only marginally even though within-route sequence and distance information had been acquired at a reasonable level of proficiency. No gender differences were observed on any of the tasks. In general, the results raise a number of questions about the process of constructing representations of large-scale spaces and point out the difficulty effecting an integration of knowledge both within and across routes.
Past research on restorativeness has emphasized mainly the potential of natural environments. In our hypothesis, built environments are also likely to be recognized as restorative places. In this study, focusing on restorative experiences more than on environments alone, attention is drawn on the relative importance of the four restorative components proposed by “attention restoration theory”—being-away, extent, fascination, compatibility—in leisure experiences of people at different stages of the lifespan, and on the characterization of these experiences in terms of relaxation and excitement. We also take account of the time available for restoration and the context in which the need for restoration may emerge, according to three models of the relationships between work and leisure: spill-over, compensation and segmentation. Results show that natural and built environments can have different restorative potentials in relation to the stage of the lifespan and to the time available for restoration; moreover, in people's perception, the four restorative components differ from each other in their relative importance. The social and affective dimensions came out as important features of restorative experiences. Finally, relaxation and excitement in leisure patterns were shown to be differentially related to work characteristics. Briefly, restorativeness emerged as the result of a global “place experience”.
The utility of beliefs regarding the motivational role played by three classes of outcomes in predicting environmentally-concerned behavior was examined with survey data collected from two samples—undergraduate students and community residents. The three classes of outcome desires were those related to obtaining tangible rewards, those pertaining to social acceptance, and outcomes derived from acting in accordance with one's deeply held principles. General attitudes toward the natural environment and environmental protection, issue importance, level of perceived threat, and efficacy beliefs were also measured. Multiple regression analyses indicated that desires regarding principled and social outcomes explained a significant amount of variance in behavioral reports for the student sample, whereas desires related to tangible outcomes did so with the community sample. In support of a multivariate approach to the study of environmentally-concerned behavior, threat perception, issue importance, and efficacy constructs also accounted for a significant portion of variance in behavioral reports. Theoretical and applied implications are discussed.
The habit discontinuity hypothesis states that when a context change disrupts individuals’ habits, a window opens in which behavior is more likely to be deliberately considered. The self-activation hypothesis states that when values incorporated in the self-concept are activated, these are more likely to guide behavior. Combining these two hypotheses, it was predicted that context change enhances the likelihood that important values are considered and guide behavior. This prediction was tested in the domain of travel mode choices among university employees who had recently moved versus had not recently moved residence. As was anticipated, participants who had recently moved and were environmentally concerned used the car less frequently for commuting to work. This was found not only when compared to those who were low on environmental concern (which would be a trivial finding), but also to those who were environmentally concerned but had not recently moved. The effects were controlled for a range of background variables. The results support the notion that context change can activate important values that guide the process of negotiating sustainable behaviors.
In the present paper, automaticity in habitual travel mode choice behaviour was investigated. Expanding on the idea that habits are mentally represented, it was proposed that when travel behaviour is habitual, activation of a travel goal automatically activates a travel mode in memory. In an experiment, participants were presented with travel goals (e.g. having to go to the university) and asked to mention a transport mode. The typical travel mode choice for those destinations was either permitted, or not permitted under conditions of cognitive load or not. Results showed that suppressing habitual responses is difficult, and often not successful under conditions of cognitive load, indicating that a transport mode choice can become automatically associated with travel goals.
Dissatisfaction with natural resource management and policy is often manifested by engagement in activist behaviors aimed at influencing management and policy decisions. A study was undertaken to examine the relationship between value orientation, attitudes, knowledge, social structural and socialization variables, and environmental activism within the context of a cognitive hierarchy model. Data were collected from the general population of Alberta, Canada by mail survey in 1999. Support was found for a cognitive hierarchy model with value orientation being better predictors of attitudes than social structural or socialization variables. Attitudes toward forest management were associated with activism. Belonging to an environmental organization, however, was a better predictor of activism than social psychological or social structural variables. This suggests the need for a more complete model of activism that considers the interplay between social psychological variables and macro-factors such as the environmental movement in shaping attitudes and engagement in activist behaviors.
The present study examines room usage in Japanese houses. Questionnaires on the physical structure of the house and mode of living were given to Japanese college students. The results indicated that the space within a house behaviorally consisted of three spaces; family, entertaining and private spaces. Family and entertaining spaces overlapped in many cases, while private space was independent of them. This suggested personalization of space in modern Japanese houses. In smaller sized houses, entertaining was excluded from the house. This could be regarded as a solution of spatial conflicts that are intensified by space limitations. Personalization of space was found for children's activity but not for parents'.
Choices of where to carry out everyday activities in large-scale environments were conceptualized as a process of forming ‘travel plans’, and, to test a model of how such plans are formed, three experimental simulations of a planning task were performed in the laboratory. In Experiment 1, subjects (high school students) were found to choose a shortest route to travel between a number of actual, familiar locations in a town by first choosing the order between the locations that minimized straight-line (Euclidean) distances, then choosing the shortest paths between the locations in the constrained order. The order choices were, in Experiment 2, found to be made by minimizing distance locally rather than globally, except in some cases when ‘spatial configurations’ of the locations were discovered. Both the results of this experiment and of Experiment 3 suggested that such discoveries were facilitated by a simultaneous representation of the locations which was possible when they were positions on a display, committed to short-term memory or available for perceptual inspection, but to a less extent when they were actual locations.
According to reversal theory, entering places or buildings may induce particular psychological states. Study one tested this hypothesis by examining the metamotivational states of subjects (n=400) just after they entered two ‘telic’ and two ‘paratelic’ locations. Results from the telic state measure indicated significant differences between the four groups on the serious–playful and planning–spontaneous items, indicators of operative metamotivational state. In Studies 2 and 3, participants (n=65;n=76) completed the measure four times on two occasions in relation to ‘telic’ and ‘paratelic’ activity settings. The first completion took place after participants imagined their actual and ideal states for their respective activities and the second, 4 weeks later, immediately pre- and post-performing their respective activities. Results from both studies indicated significant differences between the four presentations on serious–playful, planning–spontaneous, felt arousal, and effort items, and in Study 3 only the preferred arousal item. These results suggest that individuals are sensitive to the psychological states required in particular settings.
In the context of two environmentally related behaviours (using a new bus route and shopping in a bio-shop) the implications of Gollwitzer's concept of implementation intention for Ajzenz's theory of planned behaviour are studied. Results of both studies supported the assumption that furnishing a goal intention with an additional implementation intention significantly increases the likelihood of actually performing the intended new behaviour. In the second study, the implementation intention intervention is combined with receiving a small vs higher monetary incentive. Receiving the higher incentive has similar behavioural effects to forming an implementation intention, whereas combining both interventions does not result in a stronger behavioural reaction. These results indicate that the behavioural effect of a higher monetary incentive might relay a similar volitional process to that of the implementation intention. Furthermore, in both studies there is some empirical evidence that both interventions suppress the impact of competitive habits.
Diversity of environmental resources and access to play and exploration have been regarded as the two central criteria of a child-friendly environment (Moore, 1986). The former has been operationalized in this article by the number of actualized, positive affordances (Gibson, 1979; Heft, 1989) and the latter by the degree of independent mobility. A hypothetical model in which the degree of independent mobility and the number of actualized affordances covary in four varying types of children's environments was constructed. The latter are called Bullerby (the ideal environment), Wasteland, Cell, and Glasshouse. The model was applied in the interpretation of the research data from eight different neighborhoods of various levels of urbanization, in Finland and Belarus. The subjects (n=223) were 8–9-year-old children, who were studied by using individual interviews and questionnaires. The results indicate that all of the hypothesized environment types appeared in the data. Each neighborhood had a unique combination of affordances and independent mobility in terms of the model. The Bullerby type of setting abounded in the Finnish communities. The Cell, Wasteland and Glasshouse were the most common types of environment in the Belarushian data. In general, the proportion of Bullerby-type settings decreased and the glasshouse-type increased as the degree of urbanization augmented. The models and measures applied need further elaboration and testing in different environments and with varying groups of children. The co-variation of the actualized affordances and the degree of independent mobility can be considered a significant indicator in the assessment of child-friendly environments.
It is commonly believed that people adapt rather easily to noise. This article reviews the available research, finding little evidence that any adaptation occurs in community settings. Much of this research, however, is open to alternative interpretations. The present study, examining reactions to traffic noise from the opening of a major new highway, was designed to remedy many of the problems with previous research. The investigation incorporated both a repeated measures design (the same respondents were interviewed 4 and 16 months after the highway opening) and an independent groups design (separate groups were interviewed either 4 or 16 months after opening). In addition, a pre-opening interview was carried out with the repeated measures panel. There was no evidence of appreciable adaptation in self-reported noise effects, annoyance, or tendency to focus attention on the noise. Instead respondents became more pessimistic about their ability to adapt to noise as time went by.
The Canadian context of user needs research in housing is briefly outlined. The Needs and Preferences research model is described and three basic assumptions are outlined. Challenges to the three assumptions are identified, and two empirical studies are invoked to substantiate the critique. An Adaptation and Control Model of user needs research in housing is presented as a possible alternative model that has implications for methodological change and refinement. The opinion is advanced that this model potentially remedies some of the shortcomings of the Needs and Preferences Model.
The objective of the study was to give credence to the argument that favourite places are used as a means of regulating unpleasant and pleasant feelings, the coherence of self-experience, and self-esteem. High school and vocational school students (n = 144), 17 and 18 years of age, wrote essays about their favourite place, describing the situational and/or emotional context for seeking out a favourite place and the experiences they had there. The essays that emphasized the importance of the place itself (n = 19) rather than social experiences or recreational facilities were included in the content analysis. Internal thoughts and feelings, external stimuli and social conflicts that threatened self-esteem and the coherence of self-experience were the reasons given for going to a favourite place. Since these rationales led to experiences emphasizing the avoidance of pain and threats to self, and to the effort to maintain self-esteem and produce coherence to one's self-experience, the interpretation of these experiences as environmental self-regulation is more warranted than previously. However, this observation is still based on retrospective self-reports alone. Positive and supportive experiences also preceded the visit to the favourite place. This suggests hypotheses for future studies; positive experiences may just be prolonged in a favourite place or they may create incoherence in selfexperience, thus necessitating introspection in a favourite place.
We investigated relationships between adolescents’ perceptions of their neighbourhood, their mental health and independently assessed indicators of conditions in their residential neighbourhood. The Research with East London Adolescents Community Health Survey (RELACHS) provided information for 2370 adolescents on area perceptions (specifically alienation from/attachment to the area and satisfaction/dissatisfaction with local amenities and services), and on individual and family attributes including mental distress (measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). These were combined for this study with independently assessed small area geographical indicators proposed by government to measure local deprivation in England. A Bayesian regression analysis using Gibbs sampling investigated associations between the predictor variables and neighbourhood perception. Alienation from neighbourhood and dissatisfaction with local amenities was greater for girls than for boys and for the older adolescents sampled. Those of ‘Asian’ or ‘Black’ ethnicity, from relatively harmonious families, or with higher levels of social support were less likely to express negative area perceptions. While previously published research found no significant direct association between mental health and small area indicators, this analysis suggests that those with relatively high levels of distress did have worse area perceptions. Also, certain independently assessed area indicators were associated with adolescents’ views of their neighbourhood.