Design Psychology: Human Factor

The experience of space and environment is individual. There are two major reactions of people towards a space or environment: approach and avoidance. They are more than physical reactions. They also define the characterized behavior of the people who can not physically remove themselves from the environments. There are measures of determining whether an environment is avoiding or approaching. The generalization is that an environment, which causes approach behavior is positive and desired, has to do with movement toward, exploration, friendliness, improved performance, and voiced preference or liking. Whereas an environment that causes avoidance behavior is negative, it has to do with movement away from, withdrawal, interpersonal coldness, defective performance, and voiced dislike.

All the environments have their information rates. Depending on the information rate, an environment can be high-loaded or low-loaded. If an environment is uncertain, varied, complex, novel, contrasting, surprising, moving, improbable, rare, large-scale, dense, random, heterogeneous, crowded and intermittent, it is high-loaded. If an environment is certain, redundant, simple, familiar, similar, usual, still, probable, common, small-scale, sparse, patterned, homogeneous, un-crowded, and continuous, it is low-loaded. These loads of the environments cause certain emotional reactions on individuals, and these reactions cause the individual to approach or avoid the environment.

There are three basic dimensions of emotional reactions: arousal-non-arousal, pleasure-displeasure, and dominance-submissiveness, which form the basic palette from which all the feelings are created. Arousal is a state, which the person is active, stimulated, excited, frenzied, jittery, wide-awake or alert. Pleasure is the state in which the person is joyful, happy, satisfied, contented, or feel good. Dominance is the state in which the person feels in control, feel influential, unrestricted, important, or in command of the situation. If one feels dominant, it is free to act in a variety of ways in its environment. These three dimensions exist free of each other in the environments. There may be environments that may cause radical changes in one of the dimensions without disturbing the other two dimensions.