This is a research project concerned with examining the physical and cognitive aspects of places which influence preference. The research investigated the cognitive categorisation of landscape into different types.
It builds on research from Purcell and Lamb (1984) which suggested that the experience of landscape is structured round categories or more complex mental representations such as schemata. Purcell (1987, 1990) suggests that these schemata are the result of long term exposure to regularities in the environment.
Students from Italian and Australian universities were asked to judge two examples of twelve different types of scene from slides from their own countries. These judgements were recorded on a seven point scale in response to a pre-set sequence of questions:
Participants also categorised the scenes as either natural or built.
The results showed that preference is dominated by scene type. However there was a complex pattern of results which raised a number of theoretical issues.
|Published||Journal of Environmental Psychology, 14: 195-209|
|Authors||A.T. Purcell, R.J.Lamb, E. Mainardi Peron, and S. Falchero,|
|Publisher||Academic Press Ltd|
|Price||subscription c. £71 p.a. (4)|
|Keywords||Landscape preference/ environmental preference/ environmental aesthetics|
The paper reviews the concept of 'landscape' used in previous research (Kaplan et al. 1972, Ulrich 1981 and Brown and Daniel 1987) where a concept of 'naturalness' has been used to quantify preference. The landscape concept used in research is challenged by Purcell (1987) and Purcell and Lamb (1984) who consider that the term 'landscape' may mask the diversity of types of environments and mixtures of types of environments viewed by subjects. The authors conclude that variations in landscape type, and the way in which people categorise these types, may explain the range of preference judgements found when diverse sets of stimuli are used.
The paper also refers to previous research on preference judgements made by people from different geographic locations on the same set of slides, (Tips and Savasdisara, 1986, Zube and Pitt, 1981, Kaplan and Herbert 1987) but points out that this is the first piece of research concerned with groups of residents in different countries making judgements on comparable stimuli selected from within their own location.
The authors draw parallels with research by Herzog, (1984, 1985, 1987, and Herzog and Bosley, 1992) and Hull and Stewart, (1992). The authors interpret this research to support their view that a finer grained understanding of landscape type is required to interpret or predict preference judgements. Hull and Stewart, (1992) also assessed the differences which contextual effects had on judgements on scenic beauty. They found that mood, meaning and novelty of the same scenes were assessed and found to differ. From the results of this study by Russell, Lamb et al. (p. 207) the authors conclude that the contextual judgements referred to by Hull and Stewart (1992) are in some respects similar to the changing focus of preference used in their own study. The authors conclude that "each of these effects on preference results from cognitive coding of the scenes at a higher level than overall preference. Scenes not only have appearances, but also offer certain possibilities."
Russell, Lamb, et al. believe that future research should assess the cognitive coding effects on preference and the reasons respondents might give for preferences when these are judged from a different perspective.
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