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The emotional affordances of forest settings: an investigation in boys with extreme behavioural problems

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Publication details

JournalLandscape Research
DatePublished - Oct 2011
Issue number5
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)535-552
Original languageEnglish


The physical and social participatory properties of landscapes have been explored using affordance theory but, as yet, the affective dimension of affordances is ill-defined. This paper sets out a framework for integrating affect within the affordance perceptual model. In doing so, it draws on two established models of emotion that identify 'valence' (pleasure-displeasure) and 'arousal' (inactive-active) as basic dimensions underlying an emotional response. Ethnographic methods were employed over a six-month period to observe the emotional responses to a forest setting in boys (aged 10-12) with extreme behaviour problems and confined to a specialist residential school in central Scotland. Over time, changes in affective responses to the setting were mapped and located both within the physical setting and within the circumplex emotion model. Results show an increase in positive affective responses to the forest setting over time, accompanied by increased trust, exploratory activity and social cohesion, dimensions linked in the literature with well-being. The significance of this paper is two-fold: first, it extends research in restorative health by showing how forest settings can, in a rehabilitation context over time, offer opportunities for long-term 'instoration' in boys suffering from extreme mental trauma. Second, it is a first attempt at integrating affect within the affordance perception framework providing a conceptual model which can be expanded upon by future researchers. © 2011 Landscape Research Group Ltd.

Bibliographical note

Export Date: 27 September 2013

Source: Scopus

    Research areas

  • Affect, Affordances, Instoration, Restoration

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