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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Indoor plants, place quality, and human behavior Genereux, Randy Lee


A conceptual framework was proposed for investigating the role of single environmental variables in person-environment interactions. The role of one particular environmental variable indoor greenery—was then empirically investigated in four linked studies. In the first study, people's attitudes toward and involvement with indoor greenery were assessed via a survey. In general, people were very positive about indoor plants. They liked plants especially for their aesthetic qualities and their symbolization of the outdoors, nature, life, and growth. Respondents were not very fond of or involved with taking care of their plants. Most favorable response to indoor plants was reported by females, those of strong general environmental preference for nature and for the suburbs, those high on sentience and nurturance personality traits, those who lived in apartments rather than houses, and those who lived with a mate rather than alone. In the second study, color slides were used to assess the impact of indoor greenery on 35 dimensions of place quality, including perceptual-cognitive, affective, behavioral, and miscellaneous dimensions. The impact was found to depend on a number of factors, including the particular place involved, the particular activity to be executed in the place, the order in which the places were perceived, the referent set of places activated in the mindof the perceiver, and the control condition against which the plant manipulation was compared. Compared with other furnishings, plants made places seem more natural, soft, alive, pleasant, and suitable for getting away from it all. The results of the third study, in which an actual place served as stimulus, verified the findings of the second study. In the fourth study, the same place that served as stimulus in the third study was used to assess the impact of a place with plants on behavior-in-place. The place with plants increased pleasure mood response, decreased arousal level, facilitated persistence at a puzzle task, and worsened quality of performance on a proofreading task.

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