The Impact of Space and Color in the Physical Environment on Children's Cooperative Behavior

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Oregon State University, 1996 - 144 pagini
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether changes in physical space impacted preschool children's cooperative behavior. These changes in physical space included differentiated and undifferentiated ceiling height and wall color. This study used an experimental design with subjects experiencing four conditions each. The sample consisted of 30 preschool children across four different half-day preschool classes in a preschool laboratory on a university campus. Children were assigned to small groups of four children. Each group was comprised of two boys and two girls. The groups experienced each condition for five minutes each week over a four-week period. A multivariate repeated-measures analysis was used to determine whether the predictor variables: age, gender, and condition, were related to the outcome variable of cooperative behavior. There was a significant main effect for Condition on children's cooperative behavior. Post-hoc comparisons revealed the cooperative behavior scores of children in the condition with a differentiated ceiling and an undifferentiated wall color to be significantly higher than all other conditions. A polynomial contrast revealed a nonlinear relationship between the conditions. Additionally, older children were more cooperative than younger children. Boys were more cooperative than girls. In differentiated spaces, whether in ceiling height or in wall color, children's cooperative behavior scores increased. Physical spaces where ceiling height and wall color were both undifferentiated or differentiated appeared to depress children's cooperative behavior scores. The undifferentiated space may have not been stimulating enough to enhance children's cooperative behavior, while the space with both differentiation in the ceiling height and wall color may have been overstimulating for preschool children. Administrators and planners of children's play spaces must be aware of how overly simple or highly complex environments can negatively impact on children's development.

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