Neural Correlates of Spatial Affordances During Transition in Architectural Settings (2018)

Djebbara, A. Z., Fich, L. B., Petrini, L., & Gramann, K. (2018). Incentive Architecture: Neural Correlates of Spatial Affordances During Transition in Architectural Settings. I Academy of Neuroscience For Architecture: Shared Behavioral Outcome (s. 52-53). Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture.

Transitions from one space to another are defined by two spaces and a delineating threshold between them. The threshold itself can manifest in different architectural forms and has impact on the perception and affective evaluation of the connected spaces (Moretti, Bucci, Mulazzani, & DeConciliis, 2002). Changing spatial proportions in sequences is an architectural illusion exploited since the Egyptians (ca. 2010 BCE). Prior spaces seem to affect later spaces and the threshold itself might have an affective influence. Here, we investigated transitions in the form of openings, to gain a deeper understanding of the perceived affordance of crossing the openings and how this impacts evaluation of the space. Embedded in a broader investigation of cognitive predictive mechanisms to better understand architectural transitions, the aim of the current study was to investigate whether the physical passing, referring to affordances (Gibson, 1979) and active inference (Bruineberg, Kiverstein, & Rietveld, 2016; Friston, Mattout, & Kilner, 2011), co-vary with the motor-related cortical potentials (MRCPs; Bozzacchi, Giusti, Pitzalis, Spinelli, & Russo, 2012) as measured with the electroencephalogram (EEG). We hypothesized to find more positive MRCP activity in pre-frontal and parietal areas prior to action in spaces that provide better affordances, compared to spaces that hinder the agent (Bozzacchi, Spinelli, Pitzalis, Giusti, & Di Russo, 2015). We further investigate whether the ceiling height of the second space has an emotional influence, and how the MRCPs may influence the introspective decisions. Using a Mobile Brain/Body Imaging (MoBI) approach (Gramann et al., 2011; Gramann, Jung, Ferris, Lin, & Makeig, 2014; Makeig, Gramann, Jung, Sejnowski, & Poizner, 2009) we combined head-mounted virtual reality with mobile EEG, to investigate transition through different openings. Participants were asked to transition between two spaces passing openings with low versus high affordance, i.e., openings that were too narrow to pass versus openings that were easily passable. The task entailed an action-dependent transit (50% of trials), with the final goal to reach a red circle (figure 1). This study investigates the neural dynamics underlying action and cognition as predictive mechanisms revealing first insights into the affective influences of transitions on spatial perception of sequentially experienced spaces.

Figure 1 – Paradigm overview.


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