Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Andrew Gallup

Abstract/Artist's Statement

A review in the field of environmental psychology points to the notion that humans are aesthetically attracted to certain natural elements and that such natural elements also have restorative effects physiologically, affectively and cognitively. The literature also suggests that such preferential and restorative responses have to do with the structural make-up that characterizes nature: fractal geometry. Furthermore this literature indicates that mid-range fractal geometry maximizes human preference and restorative experiences. This paper specifically explores the hypothesis that mid-range fractals will result in an increase in executive attention, positive affect and cognitive broadening. The first study will measure participants’ increase in executive attention by utilizing the Attentional Network Test. The second study aims to directly test the hypothesis that exposure to mid-range fractal patterns will result in positive affect by measuring participants’ facial electromyography activity. The third study will explore the notion that exposure to mid-range fractals will increase cognitive broadening by using a categorization task. Expected results will show that there will be a significant increase in participants’ executive attention, positive affect and cognitive increase following exposure to mid-range fractals. Limitations, future research directions and the implications of such proposed results in the wider context of design will be discussed.

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