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Title: Restorative environments : why the saliency of natural and built scene content matters
Author: Van der Jagt, Alexander Petrus Nicolaas
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 0674
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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The present research addressed an assumption of Attention Restoration Theory (ART), which predicts that built scene content captures attention more strongly than natural content. Section І covers the findings of three pilot studies that were aimed at finding a suitable methodology for contrasting the saliency of natural and built content. An initial study in which use was made of a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) did not provide evidence for divergent saliency levels between natural and built scene categories. Hence, a Go/No-Go paradigm with shorter exposure times was used in later studies. A second pilot study was carried out in order to determine which scene category labels are both comprehensible and interpreted consistently across respondents. A third pilot study was aimed at filtering out boundary case scenes from the set of images pre-selected by the experimenter. Section ІІ covers four studies, which addressed two aims: (1) To test whether built content is more salient than natural scene content, and (2) to test the effect of inconsistent built and natural elements on saliency. These studies supported the claim of ART that built scenes are more salient than natural scenes. In addition, they provided evidence for the assumption that a built element increases the saliency of a natural scene more strongly than a natural element increases the saliency of a built scene. The relationship between saliency of content and restoration is explored in Section ІІІ. The findings provided mixed evidence in support of ART. Restoration of alerting attention was more complete following non-salient than salient scenes. However, previous research indicating stronger restoration of executive attention and working memory span in response to natural than built content exposures was not replicated. Furthermore, restoration of orienting attention was more complete following salient than non-salient scene presentations. It is concluded that saliency of scene content is predictive of psychological restoration, albeit not necessarily in the way as predicted by ART.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Landscapes ; Subliminal perception