The authors explore the role of complexity in the relation between building age and preference. Age was assessed as a categorical (via stimulus selection) and a continuous (via ratings of 64 color slides of urban buildings) variable. In either case, the authors replicated earlier research in showing that modern buildings were preferred over older buildings when building maintenance was not controlled, but when it was controlled, the relation reversed, and the older buildings were better liked. However, when a composite-rating measure of complexity was introduced, a somewhat different pattern emerged. Complexity interacted with rated age. The nature of the interaction was that throughout most of the range of complexity scores, age was negatively related to preference, but at the higher end of the complexity range, there was no relation between age and preference. Other findings: Buildings with visible entrances were preferred to those without, and distant views were preferred over near views.


Original Citation: Herzog, Thomas R., and Ronda L. Shier. "Complexity, Age, and Building Preference." Environment and Behavior 32, no. 4 (2000): 557-575.

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