Physical features, coherence and positive outcomes of person-environment interactions: a virtual reality study

Roos Pals, Linda Steg, Jos Dontje, Frans Siero, Karin van der Zee

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In this study we examined how physical features of a natural setting influenced perceived coherence and three positive outcome variables: preference, pleasure, and (self-reported) restoration. Furthermore, we examined the mediating role of perceived coherence. One hundred thirty-one students evaluated three (virtual) natural environments: an environment with metal furniture, an environment with wooden furniture, and an environment without furniture. Results showed that metal furniture negatively influenced perceived coherence as well as preference, pleasure and restoration, compared to wooden furniture and no furniture. Perceived coherence of the environment with wooden furniture was significantly higher than the environment with metal furniture, but significantly lower than the environment without furniture. We did not find support that preference for, and experienced pleasure and restoration in the environment with wooden furniture differed from the environment without furniture. Perceived coherence mediated the effect of (metal) furniture on preference, pleasure, and restoration. Scientific and practical implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-116
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • environment
  • psychology

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