An application of Attention Restoration and Psychoevolutionary theories to understanding the impact of hospital room window views, plantscapes, and green colored decor on acute restoration

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Suess, Courtney

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The present Thesis investigated the extent to which the amount of visible green nature, adjacent buildings, horizon and sky, and hospital building envelope in window views, as well as other features of plantscapes and green colored decor in a hospital room interior design, affect acute restoration. In Part I of the Thesis, 12 virtual reality room scenarios were developed across which the window views, plants, and green colored room decor variables relevant to Psychoevolutionary Theory (PET) and Attention Restoration Theory (ART) were systematically manipulated. In Part II of the Thesis, data collection at Texas A & M University as part of a broader experiment generated a data set (N = 188) wherein participants rated each of the 12 hospital room scenarios developed in Part I on restorative quality (extent to which the room provided them a sense of physical relaxation and helped them clear their mind of stressful thoughts), after exposure to an acute external stressor. In Part III of the Thesis, ratings for each scenario in virtual reality were aggregated from the secondary data set provided by Texas A & M University and used in full-profile conjoint and moderated conjoint analyses. In the overall conjoint analysis, indoor plants produced the highest utility score on physical relaxation, while green nature window view content had the highest utility score for mental clarity. Further group analyses revealed utility scores for indoor plants were significantly higher on both physical relaxation and mental clarity for respondents experiencing more stressful thoughts, induced from the external stressor. In general, the hospital room scenarios with highest prevalence of green elements, (i.e. highest proportion of green nature in view, indoor plants, and green colored décor) were ranked as having highest relative restorative potential. Adjacent buildings in the view of the window and enclosure from the hospital building envelope were not preferred, and significantly less so in the case of a hospital room’s contribution to mental clarity. While more open views with visible horizon and sky had some utility on restoration, their relative importance to physical relaxation and mental clarity was ranked lower among the variables tested. Findings highlight the combined restorative effects and importance of: (1) indoor plants; (2) an unobstructed view from the window that maximizes visible green nature, horizon and sky outdoors; and, (3) green colored décor in hospital room design.



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