Background: Neuro-architecture is an emerging discipline which uses neuroscientific methods to measure the brain and body’s responses while the subjects are immersed in physical or virtual environments. The environment is made of different factors, implicitly and explicitly assessed because of their functional and aesthetical characteristics. Aims: This study explores the influence of functional (such as lightness, size and ceilings height) and aesthetical features (such as colors, shapes and design elements) on rewarding response. Furthermore, we investigate the cognitive (attentional mechanisms) and emotive (rewarding) engagement in sixty healthy subjects in relation to different domestic environments. Method: The participants were chosen by gender, age and level of expertise (naı¨fs/architects). We adopted a combined electroencephalography (EEG) and NIRS (Near Infrared Spectroscopy) measurements to record the brain activity; biofeedback to estimate psycho-physiological responses and eye-tracking to measure (eye movements) during the vision of videos of real domestic environments. These items are divided into four groups: functional/aesthetic, functional/unaesthetic, uncomfortable/aesthetic and uncomfortable/unaesthetic. Results: Previous studies suggested that the computation of aesthetic preferences for objects predominantly relies on the activity of cortical areas implicated in the processing of reward. We expect the regions associated with the processing of reward (prefrontal cortex) to be modulated by expertise and we suppose that different cognitive (more focused attention by eye-tracking-measures) and emotive (more rewarding prefrontal areas) engagement is related to age (adults more engaged by functional aspects) and gender (women are more attracted by beauty). Conclusions: The neuro-architecture research can guide experts to design environment by serving better spatial orientation.
- Aesthetical perception
- Reward mechanism