BEYOND THE NATURE-URBAN DICHOTOMY: UNDERSTANDING THE VISUAL FEATURES OF RESTORATIVE ENVIRONMENTS
The emphasis on a gross nature-urban dichotomy and the insufficient examination of the restorative components (RCs) have limited our understanding of the effect of nature on humans. The purpose of this thesis is to gain a better understanding of the underlying visual features of naturalness and RCs. Through Amazon Mechanical Turk, 88 participants rated 680 outdoor images on naturalness and RCs (fascination, coherence, scope, being-away). Low-level visual features of these images, including hue, saturation, brightness, entropy, and edge density were analyzed. Findings suggest weak but significant associations between visual features and naturalness and RCs. Moreover, some visual features mediated the relationship between naturalness and RCs. Finally, qualitative analyses of scene-level characteristics suggest important distinctions between each RC. These are the first findings to show that underlying visual features of two levels of organization (low-level and scene-level) are associated with RCs. Future investigations should focus on understanding how visual features of scenes are related to improved cognitive functioning.
attention restoration; image statistics; natural scenes
Design and Environmental Analysis
M.S., Design and Environmental Analysis
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis