The environmental experience of shopping with cognitive impairment

Smith, Dianne J. & Adkins, Barbara A. (2006) The environmental experience of shopping with cognitive impairment. IDEA Journal, 2006, pp. 72-86.

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The environmental experience of shopping was used as a vehicle to research the experience of complex or non-residential environments for people with cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment is defined here as a condition by which an individual's cognitive processes have become altered for some reason. Such conditions may result, for example, from acquired brain injury, dementia, and/or substance abuse. The objective of the study was to ascertain through the investigation (a) the experience of shopping from the person with cognitive impairment's perspective; (b) the impact or the role of the physical environment in that experience; and (c) the implications for designers of public places such as interior designers, architects, and landscape architects. Therefore an ethnographic investigation of four individuals' experiences was undertaken by accompanying them on a shopping expedition to an environment they nominated as being very familiar to them. The findings highlight the role of environmental mediation in the experience of the person with cognitive impairment. Spatial layout, environmental containment, spatial positioning, environmental triggers, and signage are all revealed to influence the environmental experience. In addition, spatial understanding, environmental constancy, environmental stimulation, and a sense-ofknowing were also revealed to be important. The participants with cognitive impairment exist in a state of continual and conscious negotiation when in public spaces. The environment sometimes acted as a facilitator in order to help the participant cope with the situation and achieve goals, while at other times the physical environment was shown to be limiting or obstructive. This information is important for designers of public spaces due to the increasing numbers of people with cognitive impairment using such spaces.

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ID Code: 10512
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: interior design, environmental experience, cognitive impairment
ISSN: 1445-5412
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > OTHER BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (129900) > Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified (129999)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > OTHER PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (179900) > Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified (179999)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Dianne J. Smith and Barabara A. Adkins
Deposited On: 30 Oct 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:23

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