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Environment, Cognition, and ActionAn Integrated Approach$
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Tommy Gärling and Gary W. Evans

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195062205

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195062205.001.0001

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Environmental Assessment, Cognition, and Action: Research Applications

Environmental Assessment, Cognition, and Action: Research Applications

Chapter:
6 (p.96) Environmental Assessment, Cognition, and Action: Research Applications
Source:
Environment, Cognition, and Action
Author(s):

Ervin H. Zube

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780195062205.003.0010

Environmental assessment has been defined as “a general conceptual and methodological framework for describing and predicting how attributes of places relate to a wide range of cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses” (Craik & Feimer, 1987). A primary purpose for assessing environments is to provide valid and reliable information that has utility in environmental planning, design, and management decision making. Implicit in the assessment activity is the assumption of identifiable relationships of physical environmental factors with descriptive and evaluative assessments, and with predictions of responses to places conceptualized in plans and designs, but not yet built. This chapter addresses the utility of research findings. Three primary questions are posed. Why are some environmental assessment and cognition research findings used successfully in decision making while others are not? What factors contribute to these outcomes? And how important are physical environmental factors in planning, design, and management decision making? The preceding chapters by Rachel Kaplan, Reginald Golledge, and Harry Timmermans provide the background for the following discussion. The first section of this chapter presents a brief review of similarities and differences among the three preceding chapters, with specific attention directed to interpretations or definitions of the concepts of assessment and preference, the use of physical environmental variables in the assessment process, and the roles of laypersons and experts in assessment. Potential uses for and applications of environmental assessment research are described in the second section. This is followed by a discussion of the differences between instrumental and conceptual applications and of factors that have been identified as influencing applications, factors such as communications between researchers and users, responsibilities for problem definition, and the context within which the research is conducted. This chapter concludes with a discussion of the opportunities for and probable limitations on applications of the preceding chapters by R. Kaplan, Golledge, and Timmermans. Four concepts and elements that are addressed in the three chapters have been selected for purposes of structuring a comparison among them. These concepts and elements—assessment, preference, roles of laypersons and experts, and physical environmental factors—are particularly salient to the issue of research applications.

Keywords:   Action research, Cognitive processes, Decision making, Environmental evaluation, Landmarks, Physical environment, Public policy, Research applications, Stress

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