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Conference Paper

Exploring isovist-based correlates of spatial behavior and experience


Franz,  G
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

Wiener,  JM
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Franz, G., & Wiener, J. (2005). Exploring isovist-based correlates of spatial behavior and experience. In 5th International Space Syntax Symposium (pp. 503-517). Delft, Netherlands: Techne Press.

Cite as:
Isovist and visibility graphs offer the great chance to describe spatial properties of environments generically. This paper discusses theoretical and methodological issues arising from the practical application of isovist analysis for empirical research in the field of spatial cognition and architectural psychology. The background of two experiments exploring the influence of spatial form and structure on behavior and experience is presented. Since isovists and visibility graphs allow the translation of a wide range of spatial environments into a common and generic data format, a central analytical step is the derivation of specific characteristic values. As most descriptors mentioned in the literature are rather basic and derived from formal analysis, their descriptive relevance for human spatial perception, behavior, and experience cannot be taken for granted. Hence, the derivation of meaningful descriptors was done theory-driven and empirically verified particularly focusing on classic theories of environmental psychology. Furthermore, strategies for solving the practical issue of finding a suitable scope of application for the analysis as well as the relation between the measurands are discussed. Based on this, a preliminary minimal set of isovist derivatives generically capturing behaviorally and experientially relevant properties of architectural space is proposed.