Study suggests that our well being is shaped by our environment

Posted on May 10, 2016

Photo: flickr

Contrary to the idea that we are separate from what we experience, the study claims that we ought to think about how the environment we create might, in turn, be used to create us. With this in mind, the scientists investigated how the way we interact with space defines how we identify ourselves and our capabilities. “The built environment can restrict or promote spatial cognition, which can influence one’s self-hood,” the researchers explain. “Our spatial coordinates and our ‘selves’ are intertwined.”

The researchers explain that our understanding of an environment would differ according to our experience of it. For example, learning your way through a space using a map gives a different understanding than through learning your own route. In a mapped environment, the tendency is to think of objects in relation to one another, whereas finding your own way might lead to thinking about the space in terms of its relation to you.

The scientists explain that well-built environments are important for well-being. A relationship to the space we’re in is a fundamental human experience hence built environments need to address everyone’s needs.

But it goes beyond creating a building space. The fact that experience can shape individual differences, which in turn can affect the quality of spatial and social cognition a person, suggests that growing up in certain built environments can have detrimental or beneficial effects on their cognitive ability. This brings up questions such as whether raising children in enclosed spaces versus open spaces will result in differences in spatial and social cognition.

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Source material from PsyPost


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