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Environmental Psychology - Describe and evaluate Psychological research into Crowding and Density, and suggest ways in which Crowding can be reduced.

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Introduction

Joleen Moret 22nd December 2002 Environmental Psychology Describe and evaluate Psychological research into Crowding and Density, and suggest ways in which Crowding can be reduced. Density refers to the number of people in a prescribed space, for example the number of people per square kilometre in a city, and is an objective measure. The psychological experience of density will vary according to person and situation. Crowding refers to our experience of the number of people in a given setting, and is a subjective, psychological concept. There are many variables that will influence our experience of crowding. These will include our relationship with the people involved, the duration of the experience, the meaning of the experience and the choice we had on being there. Research on the effect of crowding on behaviour and experience has produced quite substantial evidence of a negative effect of crowding in many areas. Epstein, (1982) said crowding both in laboratory studies and in real world situation, leads to increased physiological arousal and stress. Some research suggests that adults are likely to experience crowding at lower levels than children. ...read more.

Middle

This study has suggested that in terms of effects on social behaviour, high density can result in less liking for others, and is associated with the withdrawal from interaction. The study is a field study; it may have been low in control but has high ecological validity. The study had good control as the space in both suite and corridor style dormitories were identical. The experiment was true to life but can not be generalised to all of the population it was an American study so therefore could be said to be only culturally specific. They were all students so it may only apply to American students. Research into crowding and its effects have suggested that living in crowded homes tend to have negative effects on children. Saegert (1982) focused on the consequences of residential density for children from low income families and its effects for school performance. Children from high density homes were more likely to be rated as having behaviour problems by teachers and exhibited more evidence of distractibility and hyperactivity than children from low density homes. Also reading scores were lower and vocabularies less developed for children from high density homes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rotton, (1972) found that rooms with well defined corners elicit less crowding than rooms with curved walls. Desor, (1972) found that rectangular rooms seem to elicit less crowding than square rooms, and rooms that contain visual escapes such as windows and doors are rated as less crowded than similar areas without such escapes. The height of a building can also effect the feeling of crowding, Mc Carthy and Saegert, (1979) found that high rise buildings perceive a greater feel of over crowding than low rise buildings. There are many ways that you can change an existent structure to reduce the feeling of crowding. Dabbs, Fuller and Carr, (1973) found that placing activities, objects in the centre of the room rather than putting them in a corner or along a wall elicited less crowding. Partitions giving a privacy corner in prisons elicited less crowding, inmates having the cubicles in their dormitories had much more positive reactions to their environment and had lower rates of non-contiguous illnesses (McGuire and Gaes, 1982). The presence of visual distractions for example pictures on walls and advertisements on transportation vehicles can also lead to more perceived space (Baum and Davis, 1976; Worchel and Teddlie, 1976). The arrangements of seating can also elicit less crowding; socio- fugal seating arrangements are associated with less crowding than socio- petal seating. ...read more.

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