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Influence Of Architectural Stimulation On Human Cognitive Response

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Architectural design has always been interdependent on human psychology. All human beings are unique and so are their abilities to perceive & absorb from their environment. Human Psychology starts developing as soon as a baby is conceived till death and keeps evolving from birth to infancy to childhood to adolescence to adulthood to old age and to death. And so does human needs and in-turn human behavior. An infant needs smaller architectural spaces, as per his scale while an adolescent will require intellectual yet social spaces. Architectural Design industry has been transforming since beginning as per customized user needs, however. an efficient spatial planning stimulates and gets affected by human cognition. As small as light, color, texture, smell and as large as shapes, materials, built forms, open spaces, etc. can both positively or negatively influence human response towards his/her surroundings. Similarly, human psychology, social circle, economic status and political environment can also alter natural or manmade architecture.

A human central nervous system meticulously process all the smaller details to frame a larger picture in totality. Our brainstem is responsible for involuntary functions such as reflexes, breathing, cardiac functioning and relays information to & from brain to the body. The nervous system depends on our senses for emotion formation, learning, memorizing, motivation, mood patterns and responding to various action form built- unbuilt spaces.

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Psychology is the science of human behavior and mind. It is influenced and developed by the environment of the human being. That environment can be of the domestic front, social milieu, economic grade, educational genus or of the work setting. And, these environments act as the backdrop for the human conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious mind. Architectural planning of the built & unbuilt spaces, in all these milieus greatly contour human psychology either directly as a physical contact node or indirectly as an influence. They are dominated by many simple and complex stimuli such as light, color, texture of materials, sound & noise, fragrances & odors, shapes of built-unbuilt, etc.

All these factors, when deficient or present in excess results in extreme behavior responses. For example, depression due to lack of natural light, irritability due to high noise level in domestic or work environment, calm & healing atmosphere by use of cool colors, elevated rush of adrenaline hormone due to presence of warm vibrant colors such as red/orange, lack of sufficient illumination resulting in slower intellectual development of students. Use of colors can in fact, make a built space appear larger or smaller than its actual physical dimensions and same by illumination or presence reflective surfaces. People sub-consciously map all the cognitive elements present in their surroundings by their observations and also by perceptions developed since infancy, in-turn framing their sense of safety, security, well-being & comfort in that natural or man-made environment.

Theories of cognitive responses

Gestalt’s theory of psychology

AS per Gestalt Psychology or Gestaltism, the philosophy of mind given by Berlin School of experimental Psychology, whenever the human mind perceives an idea, image, form or shape, the whole surrounding or form has a reality of its own, independent of its parts. It implies that human mind collects information via all senses and projects a comprehensive image of his/her environment.


Post-structuralism theory revolves around the inter-dependent relationship between humans, surroundings and the process of interpreting meanings. Post-Structuralism is closely connected to the theory of structuralism, which claims that the true character of this (in this case, architecture & elements of the built environment), does not lie in these things themselves, but rather in the relationships which one builds between them and the meanings one gives them. It explains that every human being has his own unique perception generally dominated by his usage or requirement.

Perception theory

Perception is the ability of any human being to interpret information received though various senses from his direct-indirect environment. Every perception is distinctive can be irrational and subjective.


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