legibility; mystery; access; preference; danger




The authors attempt to address some unresolved issues within the Kaplans’ preference-matrix model of environmental preference. These issues involve the relation between legibility and preference and the relations among preference, danger, and mystery. Participants rated 70 within-forest settings containing no visible pathways for preference, danger, or one of seven predictor variables. Legibility and coherence were found to be independent, positive predictors of preference. Likewise, landmarks and visual access were independent positive predictors of legibility. Legibility fully mediated the positive relation between landmarks and preference. Visual access interacted with legibility in predicting preference: The relation between preference and either predictor was strongest and positive at low values of the other predictor. Preference and danger were negatively correlated, and there was some tendency for each of them to have a different pattern of relations with predictors. Mystery was negatively correlated with both preference and visual access, an unusual finding.


Original Citation: Herzog, Thomas R., and Laura S. Kropscott. "Legibility, Mystery, and Visual Access as Predictors of Preference and Perceived Danger in Forest Settings without Pathways." Environment and Behavior 36, no. 5 (2004): 659-677.

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