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Psychology of Architecture
Where psychology meets our built environment.
Done by:
Sara Ghani 214410291, Shahd AlAmri 214410274, Tala Hadhrawi 214410216, Hana AlSarhani 214410486, Nouf AlOmran 214410645
Outline
1. Introduction
2. History
3. Importance of the built environment on psychological processes
4. Psychological effects of:
a. Space
b. Light
c. Colors
5. Case study: Thinking style
6. Conclusion: Independent reflection of each student
7. Resources
“
“Buildings have a direct effect on
our emotions. They can be
depressing or uplifting, soothing
or surprising, welcoming or
forgiving.”
-Eberhard
Introduction
How does architecture affect our psychology?
1
What happens to people when
they enter a space?
Most of our lives are spent inside buildings. Our
thoughts are shaped by their walls, and the way
we perceive things is influenced by our
surroundings.
Architecture and the interior design may affect a
person's health, behavior, mood, decisions, and
interactions with others.
The importance of
architecture as a trigger
to physical,
physiological and
psychological
well-being is nowadays
becoming a topic of
significant relevance.
The Psychology of
Architecture is also
referred to as
“Psychology of The Built
Environment” or
“Environmental
Psychology”.
Architecture affects
human psychology
through certain
elements such as color,
form, shape, light,
space, etc.
It is important to
consider these elements
in order to design
comfortable and
healthy spaces.
History
The founding fathers of Environmental Psychology
2
Willy Hellpach (1877-1955)
Hellpach was one of the first scholars who
introduced the term ‘environmental
psychology’ in the first half of the 20th
century. This term was mentioned in his
book “Geopsyche” in 1935. He studied the
impact of different environmental stimuli
(colour, form, space, nature, etc.) on human
activities. He also studied urban phenomena.
Egon Brunswik (1903–1955)
He was one of the first psychologists who
argued that psychology should give as much
attention to the properties of the organism’s
environment as it does to the organism itself.
He believed that the physical environment
can affect psychological processes
subconsciously. He also strongly advocated
research that includes all aspects of the
environment of the person being studied.
Kurt Lewin (1890–1947)
Lewin, like Brunswik, conceptualised
the environment as a key determinant
of behaviour. He argued that behaviour
is a function of the person and the
environment. He mostly focused on the
social or interpersonal influences
instead of the physical environment, but
he inspired different students to continue
and expand on his ideas.
Psychology for Architects by David Canter
Published in 1970s, David Canter’s book “Psychology for
Architects” spawned the whole field of environmental
psychology, as it was dedicated to understanding how
people interact with the buildings and spaces around them.
The founding fathers before him focused mainly on how the
general environment affects psychology, whereas David
Canter studied how architecture and spaces play a role on
human psychology.
After the publication of his book, psychology of architecture
became a science of its own with principles to be followed.
Importance
of the built environment on psychological processes
3
The built environment has
direct and indirect effects on
human psychology. It has an
impact on our senses, mood,
emotions, motivations,
judgments, decisions, health,
and participation in physical
activity and community life.
Having a good built
environment is important
because it can give better
performance, less distraction,
and occupants comfort and
satisfaction.
The preferences of certain
physical environments may be
neutrally/hormonally
underpinned, evolutionarily
driven, and/or culturally
modulated. Furthermore,
individual differences are likely
to lead to diverging experiences
of the same building or room.
To create a built environment is
not only providing four blank
walls, but to build a space that
satisfies physical &
psychological needs.
A space should be flexible
enough to be personalized by
different occupants, and the
best way to achieve this in
today’s complex environment is
through more participation,
cooperation and understanding
among designers and
environmental psychologists.
...... ...
Psychological effects of
Space, light, & color
4
“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” - Winston Churchill
Architecture can control the way people live, the way they think and the way the feel. By defining the function of your space
and meeting your users’ needs, you design an effective building, for each building should be designed first and foremost
around their occupants.
How can architecture affect our moods and thoughts?
Space ColorsLight
Space
Space control people’s movements, creating a
flow from element to element, telling people
where to look, what to read and what’s
important. When designing interior spaces, the
function of the space, the time people will
spend in it, and the mood you want the space
to evoke should be taken into consideration.
Generally open spaces are more positive and
inviting, on the other hand, closed or tight
spaces have a more negative impact.
The diagrams in the following slides show the
negative and positive impact a space creates
psychologically.
High
ceiling
Views
The view a space
overlooks.
Thinking Freely
High, open spaces
helps us think
freely and
abstractly.
Positive Spaces
effects Natural settings
improve focus
Improve Focus
Arrangements
Organization of
elements and tidiness.
Tight
space
Views
The view a space
overlooks.
Limits Thinking
Tight spaces limit
thinking and cause
anxiety
Negative spaces
effects Urban settings are too
stimulating and
distracting.
Distract attention
Arrangements
Overlapping elements
and lack of
organization.
Light
“Without light we see nothing, without light
we are nothing”.
Light offers everything apparent, defines its
meaning and proves its existence. Light
plays a great role in architecture and our
psychological behaviours. This is why
designers need to study where they should
open more windows and use more light.
Four affected elements are explained in the
following slide.Always put in mind that light and color are related
i.e. if one puts red glass and green glass together in
front of an electrical light, it appears black and dark.
COLORLIGHT
1- Our moods.
Natural lighting provides
a sense of calmness and
peacefulness helping in
relaxation and reducing
tension, moreover
increasing positive
energy. That is why most
people feel relieved
while taking a walk
outdoors in the morning.
Poor lighting and lack of
sun exposure might
cause depression and
indolence.
2- Our productivity and
concentration
As functions and places
differ, their need of light is
different too. In schools and
offices, buildings need to be
brightly lit to keep our
brains stimulated and
enhance our performance.
On the contrary, libraries
tend to use "warmer" bulbs
to build a more comfortable
reading environment.
Generally dim lights are
used when we are trying to
be creative, while bright
lights when we are trying to
focus.
3- Our sleep cycles.
Studies show that
exposure to bright light in
the late evenings cause a
delay to the sleep cycle
and lead us to prefer
sleeping at later times.
Therefore, dim lights in
bedrooms should be
used for the drowsy
effect it creates,
preparing you to sleep.
4- Our decision making.
The more intense the
lighting, the greater is a
person’s emotions.
That is why detectives
interrogate suspects under
bright, harsh lighting, to
get to the truth.
When designing a space
for a flower shop or
engagement ring stores
always use bright lights for
such spaces are filled with
emotions. While when
designing for example a
court, light should be
reduced for there is no
place for emotions and it
allows us to make more
rational decisions and
settle negotiations in a
better way.
Colors
Colors, similar to other things in the world, create
vibrations. Hence, our body organs, skin cells and
nerves get affected by them. In addition, Colors
not only influence our moods but also change
architectural perspectives; making us feel that a
space is widened or expanded. Depending on the
emotions you want to bring, you choose your
color paints. For example, in hospitals the color
green is often used, for which it is the most
comfortable color to the eye and helps healing
mentally. Another example is, restaurants choose
colors and designs that either encourage
customers to stay and enjoy the evening ( dark
colors and low lighting) or eat quickly and move
on like fast food restaurants (bright colors and
hard seats).
A case study
Thinking style
5
“The Influence of Ceiling Height: The Effect of
Priming on the Type of Processing that People
Use”
By: Joan Meyers-Levy
The initial theory focuses on the type of thinking that is
affected by a variable being the height of the ceiling. Levy
linked high ceilings to freedom related thoughts, whereas,
lower ceilings were associated with confinement. She then
suggested that these concepts may have direct effect on
how consumers process information (relational or
item-specific processing).
To further study and prove her thesis, Levy conducted three
experiments to understand whether, when, and how ceiling
height may affect how people process information, and how
they respond to products in turn.
People showed different results when asked to perform
multiple requirements while being in a high versus low-
ceilinged room. Methods and results will be further
discussed in the following slides.
Ceiling Height and Type of Processing:
There is a reason that leads researchers to believe that high
versus low ceilings may be linked to concepts of freedom
and confinement. As Hall (1966) proposed, chapels which
are characterised by being small and contained are likely to
convey feelings of confinement and restrictedness, whereas,
awe-inspiring cathedrals convey feelings of freedom and
openness.
This proves the relationship between this architectural
element and the psychology of the occupants.
Experiments:
All experiments are performed on 100 Rice University
students. The students participated individually. Participants
were escorted to a room that is adjusted each time with a
seamless false ceiling to amplify height (10 feet = high / 8 feet =
low). They were then left alone in the room for a few minutes
with the excuse of bringing approvals, this was done to give
the participants time to observe their surroundings (height of
ceiling, product relation to room dimensions, scale,
decoration). After that, they were asked to perform a number
of confinement versus freedom related tasks, and other tasks
that are unrelated to either concepts.
High ceiling room Low ceiling room
Results:
Individuals in the high-ceilinged rooms versus low-ceilinged rooms:
A. Experienced higher levels of freedom related body state, but lower levels of confinement related body state.
B. Exhibited faster response time when solving freedom related anagrams, slower response time when solving
confinement related anagrams, but equal response time when solving unrelated anagrams
Ceiling height
Associations to
Activated Concept
Type of Processing
Induced
Outcome
High Freedom-related Relational
An emphasis on
data integration &
abstraction
Low Confinement-related Item specific
An emphasis on
separately analyzed and
specific, relatively concrete
data
Model of the mechanism by which ceiling height can affect type of processing
General discussion
This case study adds to the field of architectural psychology by
showing the effects of an architectural element (ceiling height) on
the psychology of people and how it can change the way they
respond to certain variables.
Conclusion
The independent reflection of each student
6
Sara Ghani
“As an architecture student, I learned a
lot about how our built environment
plays a huge role on human psychology.
The study of psychology is a broad
science that is related to nearly
everything around us. It is interesting to
see how certain elements and details
can affect how people feel and perceive
things. I suggest that all
architects/designers study the field of
architectural psychology in order to
properly design comfortable and healthy
spaces.”
Shahd AlAmri
“Designing for the people should
accommodate their psychological
well-being. As architects, we should
study how we can achieve this goal by
designing positive architecture that
can lead to happier, more stable
communities.”
Tala Hadhrawi
“I have come to understand that
psychology and architecture are
inseparably bound together . They are
involved in everything and affect
everything . Now, Walking around I
notice how everything surrounding us
affects our thoughts and feelings, and
how our thoughts and feelings build
our surroundings.”
Nouf AlOmran
“Architecture schools need to teach
student how they might predict
psychological, emotional, healing and
functional effect of a space. Anyone
can design a space or the combination
of spaces but only an architect is
capable of designing an architectural
space. An architectural space is to
provide both psychological and
physical needs.”
Hana AlSarhani
“The art which combines utilitas ,
firmitas and venustas .’Vitruvius’.
Architecture is the art, which combines
expression, technology and the
satisfaction of human needs. Its
purpose is to make places where
people feel more human, more alive
and mostly more filled.”
In conclusion...
The study of Architectural Psychology is still in its early stages.
By understanding the background and importance of this relationship, both
architects and psychologists can work side by side to investigate methods and
techniques to create better buildings. Case studies and research can enrich this
field to make solid basis for design solutions with tangible results.
Resources
◉ https://www.wired.com/2011/04/the-psychology-of-architecture/
◉ https://www.psychologyofarchitecture.org/
◉ https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/podzim2015/HEN627/um/60715039/Steg__van_den_Berg__de_Groot__2012
__Environmental_Psychology.pdf
◉ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3456225/
◉ http://article.sapub.org/pdf/10.5923.j.ijpbs.20130304.04.pdf
◉ http://www.via-architecture.com/how-design-can-affect-your-mood/
◉ https://www.emberlight.co/blogs/glow/182021319-5-ways-light-affects-you
◉ http://assets.csom.umn.edu/assets/71190.pdf
◉ https://www.wired.com/2011/04/the-psychology-of-architecture/
◉ https://sip30l9le5-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/The-anatomy-of-behaviora
l-health-therapy-appointments-1000x774.jpg
◉ https://priyafengshuisolutions.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/the-effect-of-ceiling-heights-on-us/
◉ Presentation template by SlidesCarnival
Find us at
@PsychoTecture_
Thanks!

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Psychology of architecture

  • 1. Psychology of Architecture Where psychology meets our built environment. Done by: Sara Ghani 214410291, Shahd AlAmri 214410274, Tala Hadhrawi 214410216, Hana AlSarhani 214410486, Nouf AlOmran 214410645
  • 2. Outline 1. Introduction 2. History 3. Importance of the built environment on psychological processes 4. Psychological effects of: a. Space b. Light c. Colors 5. Case study: Thinking style 6. Conclusion: Independent reflection of each student 7. Resources
  • 3. “ “Buildings have a direct effect on our emotions. They can be depressing or uplifting, soothing or surprising, welcoming or forgiving.” -Eberhard
  • 4. Introduction How does architecture affect our psychology? 1
  • 5. What happens to people when they enter a space? Most of our lives are spent inside buildings. Our thoughts are shaped by their walls, and the way we perceive things is influenced by our surroundings. Architecture and the interior design may affect a person's health, behavior, mood, decisions, and interactions with others.
  • 6. The importance of architecture as a trigger to physical, physiological and psychological well-being is nowadays becoming a topic of significant relevance. The Psychology of Architecture is also referred to as “Psychology of The Built Environment” or “Environmental Psychology”. Architecture affects human psychology through certain elements such as color, form, shape, light, space, etc. It is important to consider these elements in order to design comfortable and healthy spaces.
  • 7. History The founding fathers of Environmental Psychology 2
  • 8. Willy Hellpach (1877-1955) Hellpach was one of the first scholars who introduced the term ‘environmental psychology’ in the first half of the 20th century. This term was mentioned in his book “Geopsyche” in 1935. He studied the impact of different environmental stimuli (colour, form, space, nature, etc.) on human activities. He also studied urban phenomena. Egon Brunswik (1903–1955) He was one of the first psychologists who argued that psychology should give as much attention to the properties of the organism’s environment as it does to the organism itself. He believed that the physical environment can affect psychological processes subconsciously. He also strongly advocated research that includes all aspects of the environment of the person being studied. Kurt Lewin (1890–1947) Lewin, like Brunswik, conceptualised the environment as a key determinant of behaviour. He argued that behaviour is a function of the person and the environment. He mostly focused on the social or interpersonal influences instead of the physical environment, but he inspired different students to continue and expand on his ideas.
  • 9. Psychology for Architects by David Canter Published in 1970s, David Canter’s book “Psychology for Architects” spawned the whole field of environmental psychology, as it was dedicated to understanding how people interact with the buildings and spaces around them. The founding fathers before him focused mainly on how the general environment affects psychology, whereas David Canter studied how architecture and spaces play a role on human psychology. After the publication of his book, psychology of architecture became a science of its own with principles to be followed.
  • 10. Importance of the built environment on psychological processes 3
  • 11. The built environment has direct and indirect effects on human psychology. It has an impact on our senses, mood, emotions, motivations, judgments, decisions, health, and participation in physical activity and community life. Having a good built environment is important because it can give better performance, less distraction, and occupants comfort and satisfaction. The preferences of certain physical environments may be neutrally/hormonally underpinned, evolutionarily driven, and/or culturally modulated. Furthermore, individual differences are likely to lead to diverging experiences of the same building or room. To create a built environment is not only providing four blank walls, but to build a space that satisfies physical & psychological needs. A space should be flexible enough to be personalized by different occupants, and the best way to achieve this in today’s complex environment is through more participation, cooperation and understanding among designers and environmental psychologists. ...... ...
  • 13. “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” - Winston Churchill Architecture can control the way people live, the way they think and the way the feel. By defining the function of your space and meeting your users’ needs, you design an effective building, for each building should be designed first and foremost around their occupants. How can architecture affect our moods and thoughts? Space ColorsLight
  • 14. Space Space control people’s movements, creating a flow from element to element, telling people where to look, what to read and what’s important. When designing interior spaces, the function of the space, the time people will spend in it, and the mood you want the space to evoke should be taken into consideration. Generally open spaces are more positive and inviting, on the other hand, closed or tight spaces have a more negative impact. The diagrams in the following slides show the negative and positive impact a space creates psychologically.
  • 15. High ceiling Views The view a space overlooks. Thinking Freely High, open spaces helps us think freely and abstractly. Positive Spaces effects Natural settings improve focus Improve Focus Arrangements Organization of elements and tidiness.
  • 16. Tight space Views The view a space overlooks. Limits Thinking Tight spaces limit thinking and cause anxiety Negative spaces effects Urban settings are too stimulating and distracting. Distract attention Arrangements Overlapping elements and lack of organization.
  • 17. Light “Without light we see nothing, without light we are nothing”. Light offers everything apparent, defines its meaning and proves its existence. Light plays a great role in architecture and our psychological behaviours. This is why designers need to study where they should open more windows and use more light. Four affected elements are explained in the following slide.Always put in mind that light and color are related i.e. if one puts red glass and green glass together in front of an electrical light, it appears black and dark. COLORLIGHT
  • 18. 1- Our moods. Natural lighting provides a sense of calmness and peacefulness helping in relaxation and reducing tension, moreover increasing positive energy. That is why most people feel relieved while taking a walk outdoors in the morning. Poor lighting and lack of sun exposure might cause depression and indolence. 2- Our productivity and concentration As functions and places differ, their need of light is different too. In schools and offices, buildings need to be brightly lit to keep our brains stimulated and enhance our performance. On the contrary, libraries tend to use "warmer" bulbs to build a more comfortable reading environment. Generally dim lights are used when we are trying to be creative, while bright lights when we are trying to focus. 3- Our sleep cycles. Studies show that exposure to bright light in the late evenings cause a delay to the sleep cycle and lead us to prefer sleeping at later times. Therefore, dim lights in bedrooms should be used for the drowsy effect it creates, preparing you to sleep. 4- Our decision making. The more intense the lighting, the greater is a person’s emotions. That is why detectives interrogate suspects under bright, harsh lighting, to get to the truth. When designing a space for a flower shop or engagement ring stores always use bright lights for such spaces are filled with emotions. While when designing for example a court, light should be reduced for there is no place for emotions and it allows us to make more rational decisions and settle negotiations in a better way.
  • 19. Colors Colors, similar to other things in the world, create vibrations. Hence, our body organs, skin cells and nerves get affected by them. In addition, Colors not only influence our moods but also change architectural perspectives; making us feel that a space is widened or expanded. Depending on the emotions you want to bring, you choose your color paints. For example, in hospitals the color green is often used, for which it is the most comfortable color to the eye and helps healing mentally. Another example is, restaurants choose colors and designs that either encourage customers to stay and enjoy the evening ( dark colors and low lighting) or eat quickly and move on like fast food restaurants (bright colors and hard seats).
  • 21. “The Influence of Ceiling Height: The Effect of Priming on the Type of Processing that People Use” By: Joan Meyers-Levy The initial theory focuses on the type of thinking that is affected by a variable being the height of the ceiling. Levy linked high ceilings to freedom related thoughts, whereas, lower ceilings were associated with confinement. She then suggested that these concepts may have direct effect on how consumers process information (relational or item-specific processing). To further study and prove her thesis, Levy conducted three experiments to understand whether, when, and how ceiling height may affect how people process information, and how they respond to products in turn. People showed different results when asked to perform multiple requirements while being in a high versus low- ceilinged room. Methods and results will be further discussed in the following slides.
  • 22. Ceiling Height and Type of Processing: There is a reason that leads researchers to believe that high versus low ceilings may be linked to concepts of freedom and confinement. As Hall (1966) proposed, chapels which are characterised by being small and contained are likely to convey feelings of confinement and restrictedness, whereas, awe-inspiring cathedrals convey feelings of freedom and openness. This proves the relationship between this architectural element and the psychology of the occupants.
  • 23. Experiments: All experiments are performed on 100 Rice University students. The students participated individually. Participants were escorted to a room that is adjusted each time with a seamless false ceiling to amplify height (10 feet = high / 8 feet = low). They were then left alone in the room for a few minutes with the excuse of bringing approvals, this was done to give the participants time to observe their surroundings (height of ceiling, product relation to room dimensions, scale, decoration). After that, they were asked to perform a number of confinement versus freedom related tasks, and other tasks that are unrelated to either concepts. High ceiling room Low ceiling room
  • 24. Results: Individuals in the high-ceilinged rooms versus low-ceilinged rooms: A. Experienced higher levels of freedom related body state, but lower levels of confinement related body state. B. Exhibited faster response time when solving freedom related anagrams, slower response time when solving confinement related anagrams, but equal response time when solving unrelated anagrams Ceiling height Associations to Activated Concept Type of Processing Induced Outcome High Freedom-related Relational An emphasis on data integration & abstraction Low Confinement-related Item specific An emphasis on separately analyzed and specific, relatively concrete data Model of the mechanism by which ceiling height can affect type of processing
  • 25. General discussion This case study adds to the field of architectural psychology by showing the effects of an architectural element (ceiling height) on the psychology of people and how it can change the way they respond to certain variables.
  • 27. Sara Ghani “As an architecture student, I learned a lot about how our built environment plays a huge role on human psychology. The study of psychology is a broad science that is related to nearly everything around us. It is interesting to see how certain elements and details can affect how people feel and perceive things. I suggest that all architects/designers study the field of architectural psychology in order to properly design comfortable and healthy spaces.” Shahd AlAmri “Designing for the people should accommodate their psychological well-being. As architects, we should study how we can achieve this goal by designing positive architecture that can lead to happier, more stable communities.” Tala Hadhrawi “I have come to understand that psychology and architecture are inseparably bound together . They are involved in everything and affect everything . Now, Walking around I notice how everything surrounding us affects our thoughts and feelings, and how our thoughts and feelings build our surroundings.” Nouf AlOmran “Architecture schools need to teach student how they might predict psychological, emotional, healing and functional effect of a space. Anyone can design a space or the combination of spaces but only an architect is capable of designing an architectural space. An architectural space is to provide both psychological and physical needs.” Hana AlSarhani “The art which combines utilitas , firmitas and venustas .’Vitruvius’. Architecture is the art, which combines expression, technology and the satisfaction of human needs. Its purpose is to make places where people feel more human, more alive and mostly more filled.”
  • 28. In conclusion... The study of Architectural Psychology is still in its early stages. By understanding the background and importance of this relationship, both architects and psychologists can work side by side to investigate methods and techniques to create better buildings. Case studies and research can enrich this field to make solid basis for design solutions with tangible results.
  • 29. Resources ◉ https://www.wired.com/2011/04/the-psychology-of-architecture/ ◉ https://www.psychologyofarchitecture.org/ ◉ https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/podzim2015/HEN627/um/60715039/Steg__van_den_Berg__de_Groot__2012 __Environmental_Psychology.pdf ◉ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3456225/ ◉ http://article.sapub.org/pdf/10.5923.j.ijpbs.20130304.04.pdf ◉ http://www.via-architecture.com/how-design-can-affect-your-mood/ ◉ https://www.emberlight.co/blogs/glow/182021319-5-ways-light-affects-you ◉ http://assets.csom.umn.edu/assets/71190.pdf ◉ https://www.wired.com/2011/04/the-psychology-of-architecture/ ◉ https://sip30l9le5-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/The-anatomy-of-behaviora l-health-therapy-appointments-1000x774.jpg ◉ https://priyafengshuisolutions.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/the-effect-of-ceiling-heights-on-us/ ◉ Presentation template by SlidesCarnival