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Psychologists have learned that territory can be divided into three types, primary territory such as a home, and secondary territory such as a seat in a class and public territory such as beaches or libraries.

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Introduction

Essay on territorial behaviour Psychologists have learned that territory can be divided into three types, primary territory such as a home, and secondary territory such as a seat in a class and public territory such as beaches or libraries. There seem to be several factors affecting territorial behaviour. Gender has an influence, Smith et al (1981) carried out a field study using observations of behaviour on beaches. They found that males tended to claim larger amounts of territory than females, by using towels and radios to mark out areas. Mercer (1980) carried out studies of students who shared rooms and asked them to draw on a plan of the room which parts they regarded as their territory. It was found that males again regarded a higher proportion of the room to be their territory than females. Situational factors also affect territory. Newman (1973) found that when space seems to be defensible there were fewer incidents of vandalism and burglary than when space was not defensible. ...read more.

Middle

Observational research has a high degree of ecological validity, however observers can be affected by their own biases and some behaviours may be missed during the observational period. Ethical guidelines state that observational research should only be carried out in public places in order to protect privacy. The study was carried out on beaches and it may be that the behaviour of the males cannot be generalised to other situations - further research would be needed. Mercer's research however does support the finding of Smith that males require larger territories than females. This study used a questionnaire design which may provide socially desirable or dishonest responses. In this case the participants were students and it could be possible that the male students claimed they regarded more space as theirs in an act of bravado. In addition since these participants were students the results may again not be generalisable to other populations. These methods of study are non experimental and it is therefore not possible to show cause and effect. ...read more.

Conclusion

It could also be argued that if the observations were carried out by a researcher their presence may have affected the behaviour, on the other hand if video cameras were used covertly there may be a problem in ensuring that all behaviour was observed, in addition to the ethical issues mentioned. Designers and architects could use the research mentioned to ensure that working areas meant for males and females have varied sizes in order to take account of different gender needs for space. When designing housing estates architects need to ensure that the semi public areas are defensible in that they are overlooked and have markers to suggest ownership. They should also include barriers and fenced areas around homes and use plants and foliage as markers. In institutional design it would seem important to use design to clearly mark out areas in order to try and create established boundaries and reduce aggression caused by disorderly space use. It may be possible to include specific time slots for prisoners to use semi public areas to help reduce any aggression caused by dominance of most desirable areas. ...read more.

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