The Influence Of Cultural Background On Wayfinding Cues In Unfamiliar Buildings
Building disorientation increases visitors' anxiety, damages the reputation of the organization, and reduces efficiency in visitors and staff. European Americans are better at recognizing and remembering focal objects in scenes than background information compared to East Asians. Combining these two literatures, I conducted an experiment manipulating focal and background wayfinding cues in interiors to test whether European Americans would rely more on focal cues and less on background cues than East Asians. I chose the hotel setting because many inhabitants are unfamiliar with these spaces, often from different cultures, and minimal signage is typical. To perform the same experiment in US and in Korea, I created navigatable virtual environments. Contrary to the hypothesis, there was no interaction between ethnicity and cue type in wayfinding performance. However, consistent with previous studies, European Americans remembered focal objects but did not associate them with their backgrounds. I also provided design guidelines for practitioners.
Wayfinding; Cultural background; Hotel design
Evans, Gary William
Tabacchi, Mary Huddleston; Cutting, James Eric
M.S. of Human-Environment Relations
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis