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Buildings that Spark a Gut Reaction due to Subliminal Cues

HUMAN LEARNING IS MORE THAN YOU “THINK”

When inside your building, how do occupants actually make choices? They are continuously making decisions, and the orchestration of your design elements has a lot to do with the decisions they make.

To make decisions, your occupant must learn; and to learn, your occupants engage in “conscious reasoning”. (1)

But — did you know that “subconscious learning” also plays a role? Hence, their “gut reaction”…

In an article written by Alexis Madrigal entitled Humans Can Learn from Subliminal Cues Alone, the author explains how humans can have an intuition-based learning. In the study, participants were shown a visual cue for less than five hundredths of a second — so fast that these participants didn’t have time to consciously “see” these cues. (1)

Using money as a reward, the participants used their “intuition” to respond to a question. The participants were right about two-thirds of the time. Of course, conscious reasoning still plays a very important role in decision making, (1) but isn’t it amazing to understand that there is a role for intuition as well?

OCCUPANT INTUITION

As occupants travel into, through and out of your building design, a great deal of learning takes place. Both through reasoning and intuition, your design intention manifests.

In fact, there are so many elements within a building, that occupants cannot possibly absorb (or learn) everything; yet, you’d be surprised by how much gets processed to form “intuitions” about a place and what goes on there.

EMBED SUBLIMINAL CUES — THINK STORYTELLING

As you design, keep in mind that your design elements are cues and should play with the notion of “scale” in new ways. Architectural scale is so much more than the mere size of an element. You see, scale can also refer to the amount and type of attention that an occupant gives to a feature.

Think about hierarchy in terms of language. Within stories you can experience techniques like foreshadowing, flashbacks, sequence, character development, conflict and climax (to name a few).

Use all of your elements to their fullest, but “play” them like music. Some will be loud. Some will be soft. Some will be played together. Some will support the others. Some will be played all at once. Some will develop over time. It is this interconnectivity that will spark occupant gut reactions.

In the end, your design is an orchestration of fluid parts.

Reference:

(1) Madrigal, Alexis. Humans Can Learn from Subliminal Cues Alone. Wired Science. August 27, 2008.

Image Credit: © Dom Dada | Flickr

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