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Human beings are perceptive creatures. Our five senses allow us to process the world in incredible detail and depth. However, each of us functions and perceives slightly differently than the other. Even though this is true, there are certain environmental factors such as the physical realm that influence us. This includes structures, enclosures, space, containment, patterns, etc.
Industrial psychologists spend a great deal of time studying physical structure and human behavior. For example, tall and open structures like a cathedral generate within most people a sense of awe and quietness. Conversely, small rounded structures give a sense of comfort and security.
Work space takes into account many of these factors in a successful building. Cubicles can be designed to maximize space, yet offer a sense of privacy by surrounding the occupant with at least two solid walls that intersect. This gives people a sense of comfort and limits their feelings of exposure even though the cubicle is not fully closed.
Judges seats in a court room are intentionally designed to create a sense of respect and authority by elevating the judge several feet above the others.
Some structures such as hospital emergency rooms are designed around the principles of efficiency and speed. No key piece of equipment is more than a few steps away in each space. This lends a sense of ability and confidence to those who function within it's walls, although at the same time the nearness of so many pieces of technology is often intimidating to the patient. This is why some people fear hospitals.
Physical structure can make us feel comfort, afraid, at ease or efficient. Architects must take into account the psychological effects of design before building any significant structure. The psychological effects of any building or structure must be made to affect the occupants in a positive manner.
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