Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Emotional effect of curvilinear vs. rectilinear forms of furniture in interior settings

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  • This study focused on people’s emotional responses to curvilinear and rectilinear lines in interior environments. Emotional reactions towards simulated interior settings were tested by having subjects complete an online survey. The survey tested respondents’ emotional reactions triggered by different forms of furniture. The survey included questions about six simulated interior settings with three different form styles: two settings with only curvilinear lines, two settings with only rectilinear lines, and two settings with a combination of curvilinear and rectilinear lines. Each specific form style was tested twice with a different furniture style and layout. It was hypothesized that curvilinearity would provide more pleasant and arousing emotions compared to the rectilinear lines. In other words, it was hypothesized that the settings with only rectilinear lines would be the least arousing and pleasing settings among all the interior settings used in this study. The survey questions utilized Mehrabian and Russell’s (1974) “Semantic Differential Measures of Emotional State or Characteristic (Trait) Emotions” scale, and “Verbal Measures of Approach - Avoidance” scale. The questions included in those scales measured pleasure, arousal, and approach-avoidance reactions towards the simulated settings. Those responses were tested with Wicoxon signed rank tests. The pleasure and arousal responses were also interpreted using Russell’s (1980) circumplex model of emotions. There were also open ended questions and a demographic section in the survey. The findings based on significant p-values from Wilcoxon signed rank tests indicated that the emotional responses differed between the groups of settings with different furniture styles and layouts. This revealed that furniture style and layout influenced emotional responses towards different types of forms. Accordingly, the emotional responses collected for each form type were compared in two groups: the settings with the same furniture style and layout were grouped together and compared with each other. The findings also indicated that the settings with only curvilinear lines elicited more pleasant emotions and the respondents desired to approach those settings more compared to the settings with only rectilinear lines. The results supported the literature about the preference for curvilinear forms due to the pleasant emotions triggered by them. The circumplexes also supported that the curvilinear forms elicited more pleasant emotions such as happiness, excitement, and feeling relaxed compared to the other forms. The results based on Wilcoxon signed rank tests comparing the settings with only rectilinear lines and the settings with a combination of curvilinear and rectilinear lines were inconsistent in the data. The hypotheses about the relationships between the two form types were not supported in regard to pleasure and arousal. Existence of curvilinearity and the variety of forms in the latter settings didn’t trigger more pleasant and arousing emotions in the participants than did the rectilinear lines as expected. It is believed that the results were influenced by the limitations of the study and those findings need further research. Finally, Spearman correlation tests were used for investigating the association between pleasure, arousal, and approach-avoidance dimensions. The results supported the literature: people approach and affiliate with others more in the settings that they find more pleasant compared to the unpleasant ones. In conclusion, emotions influence the way people react, affiliate, approach and avoid their near environments. Emotional effect of curvilinear vs. rectilinear forms of furniture in enclosed simulated settings were compared and discussed in this study. The findings of this study suggested use of curvilinear lines to design more welcoming and pleasant environments because the use of curvilinear lines creates positive emotions in people. Also, people approach those settings more and engage with other people in those settings more. The findings also provide foundation for further research.
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