DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY- HUMAN BEHAVIOR RESEARCH | urbanisation
104 (52 male) children age 10.8 84 (42 male) children age 15.2 All children lived in Vienna and had experience with all presented landscape types. The rating was :Would you like to live there (1-5) ? and Would you like to spent your holidays there (1-5) ? Experience with a landscape was determined by a 50% rule. If the child had spent more then 50% of its lifetime in the mountains (with many forests) experience was coded as yes.
With digital image analysis the fractal dimension of each pictures was determined. In a second rating study (n=18) students rated the pictures complexity. Computer generated complexity correlates with perceived complexity (.81).
Children before puberty show the highest preferences for low trees and low mountains landscapes. Interestingly the basic landscapes these children have experienced around Vienna are low tree, low mountains and high tree, high mountains landscapes. Before puberty children prefer low complexity, savanna type landscapes.(see below)
This picture is reversed after puberty. Children after puberty prefer mountains and trees (see below) and the preferences shift towards high complexity mountain types of landscapes.
When we apply a mountains (3) x trees (3) x age (2) x sex (2) anvova we find effects for age and sex. Younger children rate higher and males rate higher. Two way are between age and trees age and mountains and sex and mountains. Younger children prefer less trees and mountains. Females prefer mountains.
The effects of experience with mountain type landscapes are also significant. With experience prepuberty higher have general higher ratings and after puberty trees are rated highest. Experience (50% of living time) thus seems to make more sensitive for landscapes and experience with trees and mountains leads to a preferences for these landscapes after puberty (see below)
Complexity, savanna theory and imprinting
The results show a partial replication of the Balling and Falk hypotheses. Prepuberty children prefer savanna type landscapes of low complexity. Prepuberty experience also changes landscape perception. And we we find a higher sensitivity for landscapes. The perception of optimal landscape changes with puberty according to previous experience. We hypothesize that there is either a learning process where the optimal habitat is connected to landscapes. This could be also an effect of ecological richness and variety of more complex landscapes. Annother point could be that chtere is an imprinting like process. A habitat where an individual was able to reach puberty could also be a good habitat. In adition it could be of advantage that the habitat of ones parents should be preferred, because it allowed them to raise offspring. Nevertheless there is a problem with stimulus processing which could change during puberty and lead to a preference for more complex stimuli after puberty. This question will be addressed by future cross cultural research.
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