Precedents Precedents in the fields of architecture, interior design, and allied disciplines indicate that the built environments that we design and in which we inhabit, work, and entertain have been designed with subjective design orientations with minimal or total negligence of emerging neuroscience contributions. Emerging neuroscience research shows that environmental-related activities such as wayfinding, perception, cognitive mapping and their behavioral consequences—anxiety, stress, happiness, arousal—are both reflected in our brains—neural structures and electro-chemical processes (Zeisel, 2006; Eberhard, 2007; Swanson, 2011; Mallgrave, 2011). These findings proffer solid physiological data (hard science) that pave the way for further research that will decipher the correlation between the design/architecture and the brain/neural activity. Purpose The purpose of this funded research is to explore and compare the behavioral and neural responses of ten adults, when exposed to four classes of images a) positive images, b) negative images, c) neutral images, and d) illuminated luminous ceiling images ) using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging fMRI technology. Methodology To do so, a purposeful sampling was used to generate ten adults living in the northwest of Texas. The purposeful sampling permitted the selection of gender (male and female), age (20-60 years old range), ethnicity (white/Caucasian), right handedness (brain lateralization), and with no prior exposition to an fMRI experiment. The participants undergo 1) an anatomical scan and 2) a functional scan while a random sequence of images (positive, neutral, negative, and sky ceiling images) are projected by a computer controlled visual presentation system. Each participant evaluated 32 images (eight images in each category). This has generated a 40-45 minutes scanner experiment for each participant. Behavioral data were analyzed using grounded theory; while the neural data maps were analyzed using a basic psychometric approach. Findings/Discussion The brain neural mapping as generated by the fMRI constitutes an unparalleled solid scientific biological data, which permitted and facilitated a comparison between behavioral and neurological data. Besides the use behavioral data, the use of fMRI has provided an original opportunity to examine the neurological mechanisms associated with exposure to simulated nature conditions. This has facilitated for the first time in design disciplines cross-check data validity to support or nullify existing behavioral paradigms/theories. Likewise, the preliminary findings of this exploration support precedents that exposure to nature images has beneficial impact on people's psychological, emotional, and behavioral responses. Similarly, in both behavioral and fMRI data, the sky factory images and the presumed positive images were both find to stimulated positive appraisal. More results will be shared with the conference attendees for feedback.


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