Scholarly article on topic 'Biophilia Theory Revisited: Experts and Non-experts Perception on Aesthetic Quality of Ecological Landscape'

Biophilia Theory Revisited: Experts and Non-experts Perception on Aesthetic Quality of Ecological Landscape Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Muhamad Solehin Fitry Rosley, Syumi Rafida Abdul Rahman, Hasanuddin Lamit

Abstract Biophilia discussed on the similarity of human intrinsic values that bonded mankind with the environment. This paper aimed to investigate the similarity trait of experts and non-experts in assessing the aesthetic quality of ecological landscape. Thus, selected visual aspects are tested to identify the visual concepts that represent the emotional attachment of both groups. Therefore, 5 photographs of ecological landscapes have been used in a conducted survey of 51 experts and 126 non-experts. By using Different Item Functioning (DIF) analysis, the results indicate that complexity, naturalness and legibility are the dominant visual concepts endorsed by both groups.

Academic research paper on topic "Biophilia Theory Revisited: Experts and Non-experts Perception on Aesthetic Quality of Ecological Landscape"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 153 (2014) 349 - 362

AicQoL2014Kota Kinabalu AMER International Conference on Quality of Life The Pacific Sutera Hotel, Sutera Harbour, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

4-5 January 2014

"Quality of Life in the Built & Natural Environment"

Biophilia Theory Revisited: Experts and non-experts perception on aesthetic quality of ecological landscape

Muhamad Solehin Fitry Rosley*, Syumi Rafida Abdul Rahman,

Hasanuddin Lamit

_Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia_


Biophilia discussed on the similarity of human intrinsic values that bonded mankind with the environment. This paper aimed to investigate the similarity trait of experts and non-experts in assessing the aesthetic quality of ecological landscape. Thus, selected visual aspects are tested to identify the visual concepts that represent the emotional attachment of both groups. Therefore, 5 photographs of ecological landscapes have been used in a conducted survey of 51 experts and 126 non-experts. By using Different Item Functioning (DIF) analysis, the results indicate that complexity, naturalness and legibility are the dominant visual concepts endorsed by both groups.

© 2014TheAuthors.PublishedbyElsevierLtd.Thisis anopen access articleundertheCC BY-NC-NDlicense (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the Association of Malaysian Environment-Behavior Researchers, AMER (ABRA malaysia). Keywords: Biophilia theory; perception; ecological landscape; visual concept

1. Introduction

Biophilia, a theory proposed by Wilson in 1984 discussed on human affiliation toward nature has contributes to a fundamental idea of human and nature association. (Howell et al., 2011). Thus, the concept is strongly related with human evolution process from psychological and emotional perspectives. In addition, Kahn (1997) stated that biophilia is an intrinsic value, genes that attached mankind to nature from these two aspects that bonded mankind as one species. Despite the differences demographic factors

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +0-000-000-0000 ; fax: +0-000-000-0000 . E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the Association of Malaysian Environment-Behavior Researchers, AMER (ABRA malaysia). doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.10.068

such as cultural and ethnicity, Gullone (2000) believed that human inherited certain features in nature that appeal to be aesthetically pleasant to mankind. According to Maier ( 2012) these features are evolved through those features that being regard as perimeter or mankind to survive survival in the environment. Thus, the biophilia theory is a fundamental aspect of seeking the relationship of human and nature interaction. Added by Gullone (2000), human tends to demonstrate a positive and negative respond to certain natural phenomena that stimulate by their preference and perception.

2. Biophilia and Perception

Throughout the years, this fundamental aspect is being expanded and integrated into its application in the aesthetic field. In fact, much of aesthetic related theories such as Prospect and Refuge by Appleton (1975) and Habitat Theory are strongly related to a fundamental concept of biophilia on how people attached and affiliated to nature through preference and perception (Kahn, 1997). For instance in Habitat Theory, Appleton stated that the attachment and affiliation of human being to nature is based on their preference of the unique features such as colors, shapes and spatial arrangement in the landscape that bring a pleasure for mankind. In addition, study by Falk & Balling (2009) managed to detect the relationship of the human perception regarding nature intactness and connectedness as human biophilia interaction. For instance, when regard to nature especially in an urban area, several researchers have managed to identify a strong attachment of urban dwellers to a more ecological and green development (Sapawi & Said, 2012).

Despite the changes and evolution of human habitat, man still perceived environment as a comfort and pleasure values that play pivotal roles in their emotional and psychological aspect. Previous study by Freeman et al.( 2012) on aesthetic perception of householders toward their gardens in the urban settings managed to exhibit the strong influence of nature in human psychology. Not surprisingly, this attachment is due by the biophilia attribute that connecting human and environment Added by Windhager et al. (2011), this relationship is due to the human brain and sensory system have been adapted to nature for a long period of time.

Moreover, perception and preference are regarded to be an appropriate technique to investigate biophilia value that characterized human evolution in nature. According to Windhager et al. (2011), human perception, preferences and behavior are evolved from the man's tendency to focus on survival and well-being of the environment ,which is closely related to the Biophilia. Howell et al., (2011) suggested that the richness and diversity of nature fostered a serenity and mindfulness of human feeling. However, the variety of human feelings regarding their emotional reaction might be different in perceiving the natural environment. This emotional reaction is triggered by the variety of visual aspects that embedded in the natural environment. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the similarity of different group perception- consist of experts and non-experts in perceiving the natural and ecological landscape.

3. Visual Concept in Perception

Ode et al. (2008) had initially developed the framework to describe this visual concept. Visual concept indicates the degree of significance level of landscape attributes, being measured and scaled in identifying the changes and condition of the landscape (Tveit et al., 2006). A reviewed study by Solehin et al. (2013) attempts to proposed eight visual concepts to represent human perception in the environment. Those concepts are mystery, legibility, coherence, stewardship, openness, naturalness, complexity and disturbance. These visual concepts were identified through a validation process of investigating human perception on aesthetic quality of the environment. Validation of visual concept in seeking the relevance

of human perception toward the environment is a must(Clay & Smidt, 2004). Thus, the selected visual aspects should at least being reliable and valid by theoretically before being tested in other future researches.

In the review by through the sorting technique of meta data analysis, these visual aspects represent different interpretation of man perception.

Table 1. A list of adapted visual concepts











Mystery is developed by a high degree of inquiry and curiosity of people's mind for an exploration in wild and uncommon landscape. It led to uncertainty experience which either resulting safe or danger (a Stamps, 2004).

Reflect the visual accessibility of ease movement, provide a safe feeling of way finding by using a dominant character in the landscape such as landmark outstanding landscape character(Herzog & Leverich, 2003)

Coherence portrays a harmony arrangement of landscape composition such as a unity in color and texture of the landscape( a Stamps, 2004).

Stewardship relates to the well management and care of surrounding; neatness and ideal condition of the landscape (Dramstad et al., 2006; Â. K. Ode & Fry, 2002)

Openness refers to the degree of visibility and spaces within the surroundings (Tveit et al., 2006). Openness gives a sense of accessibility and movement.

Naturalness reflects the degree of wilderness, untouchable or facing a minimum impact of human activities.(Tveit et al., 2006; Fry et al., 2009; Arriaza et al., 2004).

Complexity encompasses the diversity and richness of landscape features. According to G. Fry et al. (2009) the complexity refers to a content and possibilities of an exploration.

Disturbance indicates the low degree of coherence, management and composition (Tveit et al., 2006)

Sources: Adapted from Solehin et al. (2013)

4. Materials and Methods

4.1. Pilot study

In a pilot study, selected 5 images from 25 images of selected scenery in one of state of Melaka reserved forest were used as the subject of the study. The selection was based on the expert and nonexpert panel selection in order to reduce bias and misjudgment during the actual survey. A part of it, photo were taken in a standardized technique which consists three different layer of landscape consists of foreground, middle ground and background, which proposed by Arriaza et al., (2004) in the study of assessing the quality of the rural landscape. According to Cook & Cable (1995), this technique helps the viewers to identify the different characters in the landscape setting. Thus, this will ensure the viewers to be more consistency in assessing the photos.

During the pilot study, a small group of selected respondents consists of expert and non-expert were participated in the survey. A total of 45 respondents - consist of university student from a non-design stream was justified to be as non -expert group. On the other hand, the expert, were selected from the students which are from the design background such as architecture, landscape architecture and urban and regional planning due to certain criteria. First is to ensure that these students are being exposure and aware with the environmental issues. Secondly, they are familiar with the aesthetic appreciation as these

needs are crucial enough to be looked upon before they were accepted as the expert within this scope of the study. Despite in many studies, the used as students as the expert has been criticized, (Zheng et al., 2011) pointed out that this group is the decision-maker of the future landscape design and development. The respondents then required to rate the degree of a significant level of the visual concept based on the Likert rating system. A scale of 1 to 5 was used to indicate the significant level of visual aspects that appeared in each of the photos. This technique is widely used when regard to perception and preference process. In fact, most of the researchers found that the technique is appropriate to measure the differences in people's perception process (Jorgensen, 2011).

Fig. 1. Different characters of the natural setting in Melaka Recreational Forest

Fig. 2. Part of characters of the natural setting in Melaka Recreational Forest 4.2. Analysis

The analysis of the pilot study survey leads to the identification the most appropriate visual aspects to be adapted in the actual survey. In this case, issues such as reliability and validity of the visual aspect have been highlighted for a further investigation. Previous studies done by other researchers (eg. Sevenant & Antrop, 2011; Palmer & Hoffman, 2001; Coeterier, 1983) addressed the need of reliable and valid photo selection as part of the perceptual based experiment. Many methods, in fact have been implemented to check upon the validity and reliability of the photo. In this study, Rasch Model Analysis was adapted to detect the validity of the photo selection and also the reliability of the respondent group. The analysis is divided into two parts-

4.2.1. Reliability and separation test

The purpose of this test is to indicate the reliability of item construct and reliability of respondents. In this part, the value of reliability index should be between a range of 0.6 to 0.8, before being accepted as reliable (Chien, Linacre, & Wang, 2011). On the other hand, the value for separation index should at least not lower than 2 in order to show the different level of respondents' capability.

Table 2. Reliability and Separation Index

No Person Reliability Person Separation Item Reliability Item Separation

1 0.72 2.79 0.96 5.13

2 0.70 3.83 0.97 5.76

3 0.74 2.70 0.94 4.05

4 0.74 3.88 0.95 4.30

5 0.75 2.73 0.96 4.68

Refer to the table above; the value of person reliability of photo 2 has the lowest value of 0.70, followed by photo number 1 with value of 0.70. While photo number 5 has the highest value of person reliability, which indicates that the respondents were able to measure the item (photo) construct in the survey. On the other hand, the values of person separation indicate the values between ranges of 2.73 to 3.88. These values indicate that the respondents can be divided into at least 2 different strata based respondents' ability toward identification of the visual concepts. In this analysis, all of the items had value > than 0.90 which indicated the items were managed to measure the variables and ensure the

reliability of what the visual concepts were measured. It can be concluded that the respondents were critical enough to differentiate the variety visual concepts' attributes based on 5 photographs as the item construct. While for separation index value, all the items found to be more than 3. According to Linacre (2002), value of > 3 indicates satisfactory result of separating the item difficulty.

4.2.2. Visual concept validity

Despite had been accepted theoretical to be validated from the previous study; the visual concepts need, once again to be tested for this study. Thus, this part is to focus on the validation process of the visual concept to ensure the relevancy of the visual concepts within the landscape theme. Furthermore, the process of adapting a current visual concept to a different landscape theme required a wise consideration. The reason is to ensure the distinctive and different attributes that existed in the landscape will be able to portray emotionally by the selected visual concept. To do so, the selected visual concepts required to be tested in this pilot study and undergo several different analyses. The aim of this process is to allow the visual concepts competence to be distinguished by respondents in the actual survey.

Table 3. Shows the result of point measured correlation





19 | 2

19 | 1

20 | 1 20 | 1 20 | 1

19 | 1

20 | 1 20 | 1 20 |


6.4|2.79 .2|1.01

---+ --

6.6| .1| 2.8| .6| 1.0| . 2 | .5| . 2 |

- +-------

.49| 36.0

49| 60.0

4 6| 50.0

4 6| 47.1

4 6| 47.1

49| 54.0

4 5| 52.9

4 5| 52.9

.46| 56.9


EXP% | ----+ -

4 7.6| 50.2| 50.4| 50.2| 50.5| 4 7.8| 51.5| 51.4|

50.5| ----+ -

| 11 128 c2d_Hdisturbance | T 28 145 c10h_Hopeness | | 7 183

c1h_Hopeness |

| 18 183 c5d_Hdisturbance | T 4 188

c1d_Hdisturbance | T 25 132 c10d_disturbance | | 21 194 c5h_Hopeness |

| 35 193 c14h_Hopeness | | 32 189 c14d disturbance |

51 51 51

1.75 1.14 -.30 -.17 -.36 1.60 -. 60 -.56 -.40

61 2.7| 1.63

09 18 04 11 04

.5|1.10 1.0|1.20 .3|1.03 .6|1.09 .3|1.02

71 -1.6| .72 -1.5|

27 38 .39 41 48 51 60 60 63

| MEAN 17 6.4 50.5 | S.D. 25.1 .6

.00 .91

. 20|1.00 -.1|1.00 -.1| . 01| .38 1.6| .38 1.6|

53.4 6.5

50.9| 1.8|

In this analysis, there are three fundamental aspects need to be considered before terminating the bias visual aspect. First of all is to check upon the value of point measured correlation (PTMEA CORR). The value should be in a positive value as this indicates that the visual aspects are clearly identified by the respondents in the survey. As shown in the table above, visual aspect disturbance (C2d-Hdisturbance) is detected to produce a negative value of point measured correlation. Thus, this required the visual concept to be dropped from the actual study. Plus, the second requirement is to refer to the z standard value. In the

analyses, the value of it Z standard is exceeding from the proposed value that accepted for the study. As stated by Linacre (2005), the range value of Z standard should between -2 to +2. However, the value of C2d-Hdisturbance indicates a value of 6.6, which happened to exceed the acceptable range value. In fact, the value of Z standard of the visual aspect Openness, which is represented by c1h_Hopeness, is detected to indicate a value of 2.7. Thus, this required both of the visual aspects need to be dropped from the actual survey. As a result, only six visual aspects predicted being able to portray the different perception and preference of respondents in natural and ecological landscape.

4.3. Description of survey

Similar to the pilot study, the actual survey involves the questionnaire that based on 5 photos selection of a natural setting. The survey was carried out in two different groups of respondent. The first target group was a group of non -expert consists 126 of respondents, all of them are the local population of Melaka. While the second group is targeting on the expert population, consists of architects, urban planners and landscape architects. The aim of the survey is to identify the similarity and dissimilarity of expert and non-expert in perceiving the natural landscape, which strongly related to the theory of Biophilia. An exact format of the questionnaire is being adapted from the pilot study. However, with a modification of visual concepts selection.

5. Result

The results can be divided into three parts. 5.1. Demographic results

As mentioned, the questionnaire was conducted by using stratified random sampling. The results represent the almost overall population of non-expert and expert groups. The survey managed to cater various demographic factors such as educational background, age, gender, ethnicity, familiarity, origin and residence area of the participants. The results, however, were divided into two separate tables of the demographic profile- to represent expert and non-expert groups.

5.1.1. Non-expert profile

Table 4. Demographic profile of non-experts

Educational Background Population %

Secondary 21 16.7

Certificate 9 7.1

Diploma 17 13.5

Degree 79 62.7

15-20 25 19.9

21-25 72 57.1

26-30 11 8.7

31-35 5 4

36-40 9 7.1

41 and above 4 3.2


Male 66 52.4

Female 60 47.6


Malay 97 77

Chinese 11 8.7

India 10 7.9

others 8 6.4


1-5 months 31 24.6

6-12 months 16 12.7

1-6 years 71 56.3

7 years and above 7 6.5


Melaka 9 7.1

Outside Melaka 117 92.9

Residence area

Urban 72 57.1

Urban fringe 30 23.8

Rural 24 19.1

A total of 126 respondents of the non-expert group was participated in the study. From the results, the majority of the respondents had completed their degree study (79 people-62.7%) While respondents with certificate level were the lowest group ((9 people-7.1%). Based from the result, respondents in 21-25 made up of 57.1% (72 people), whereby the highest proportion of the sample population. Meanwhile, the study managed to gather almost a balance proportion of gender sampling, whereby 52.4% (66 people) are male sampling, and 47.6% of the population was female (66 people). In addition, Malay by ethnicity made up the highest population (97 peoples- 77%) while the lowest sampling of ethnicity was classified to be others (8 peoples- 6.4%). Refer to the familiarity result, a group of respondents that reside in Melaka between 1 to 6 years (71people- 56.3%) made up the highest population. In addition, 92.9 % (117 people) of the population detected as a no-native resident of Melaka. This is followed by 72 of them (57.1%) were classified as urban dwellers, contrarily to 19.1% (24 people) of them are residing in a rural area.

5.1.2. Expert profile

Table 5. Demographic profile of experts

Professional Background Population %

Architect 12 23.5

Landscape Architect 30 59

Urban and Regional Planning 9 17.5

21-25 26 51.1

26-30 13 25.5

31-35 6 11.7

36 and above 6 11.7


Male 15 29.4

Female 36 70.6


Malay 25 49

Chinese 10 19.6

Indian 10 19.6

Others 6 11.8


1-5 months 26 51.1

6-12 months 12 23.5

1-6 years 6 11.7

7 years and above 7 13.7


Melaka 14 27.4

Outside Melaka 37 72.6

Residence area

Urban 17 33.3

Urban fringe 13 25.4

Rural 21 41.3

Based on the expert results, a total of 30 respondents were considered to be a landscape architect (59%) and made up the highest population of the sampling. This is followed by architects (23.5%-12 people) and the lowest population-urban planner with a total of 9 people (17.5 %). Among the respondents, people in 21 to 25 years old age is recognized as the highest grouping group based on age stratification. However, people of age 41 and above made up the lowest sampling group population (4 people-3.2%). In addition, the population of Malay made up the highest group population (49%-25 people) while people with Chinese and Indian ethnicity shared an equal percentage and population sampling in the study (19.6% -10 people). On the other hand, a majority of respondents (51.1% -26 people) contributed to the high proportion of the overall population. Besides, most of the respondents classified to be non- native resident of Melaka (72.6%- 37 people). In fact, most of them are living in a rural area (41.3%-21people), followed by 17 of them (33.3%) categorized to be urban dwellers while the rest (25.4%-13 people) are living in a suburban area.

5.2. Visual concept identification

Second part of the analysis is to investigate the preference of both experts and non-experts in deciding the significant visual aspect in natural and ecological landscape. Therefore, it required multiple analyses which are supported by Different Item Functioning (DIF) analysis. According to Nunnaly and Bernstein (1994), the role of DIF is to detect item that leads to extreme difficulty or easiness to the respondents in assessing the provided survey. Within the analysis, the value of positive and negative of T- test represent different measurement of the item. In the study, the positive value in DIF indicates that the item is easily to be assessed by the respondents. In versus, the negative value represents the negative level of the item in the T-test. As a guideline, the values of these positive and negative should be between -2 to 2. Once again a separate analysis is conducted to differentiate the preference and perception of the expert and nonexpert.

5.2.1. Non- expert test

Table 6. The compilation of t-test for non-expert

Factor Educational level Origin Familiarity

Indicator Sec Cert Dip Deg. Native Non 1-5 6-12 1-6 7 years and

native months months years above

Mystery -2.85 1.87 0.12 0.78 0.65 -0.11 -1.87 -2.71 2.11 1.34

Legibility 2.00 1.54 -0.13 -1.01 1.12 -0.34 1.96 1.11 -0.43 -0.06

Coherence 3.80 0.37 -1.92 -1.28 -0.13 0.13 0.95 -2.10 0.00 1.03

Stewardship -1.07 0.27 2.09 -0.48 2.15 -0.62 2.32 -0.31 -1.29 -0.32

1.68 0.52 1.33 0.13 1.44 -1.20 -0.59 -0.14 -0.18 2.11

Naturalness 0.02 -0.81 -1.36 1.43 0.08 0.68 1.65 -1.56 -0.13 1.04

Complexity 0.12 1.13 -1.23 1.01 0.71 0.55 -0.42 0.14 0.12 -1.25

Factor Age Gender Ethnicity Residency

Indicator 21- 26 30 31- 36^0 Ma Fe Ma] Chi hid Oth Ur TIF In

25 35

Mystery 121 132 1.56 1.11 237 -232 -0.4S -0.1 S 2.15 -0.50 0.09 0.01 0.13

Legibility 1.65 -1.66 1.06 1.02 0.50 0.43 -0.76 -0.76 0.43 0.54 0.12 0.01 0.12

Coherence -036 0.56 0.40 2.IS 0.01 0.11 037 -1.S7 232 -1.75 -1.43 -0.19 2.15

Stewardship 0.12 0.13 0.01 -1.76 1.05 0.12 -0.4S -0.47 -1.12 226 033 0.14 0.12

Naturalness 1.45 1.07 -032 -0.65 0.64 1.54 1.76 132 -165 1.75 0.12 1.11 -1.09

Complexity 134 0.12 -0.65 0.01 1.89 1.67 129 -134 0.01 0.54 0.95 0.87 1 99

Based on DIF analysis, overall the results can be divided into three different groups that represent the difficulty of the preference based on the visual concepts. The correlation value visual indicators such as between mystery and range period 1-6 years (T-value 2.11), between coherence and secondary level (T-value 3.80),between stewardship and diploma level (T-value 2.09),between stewardship and native (T-value 2.15), between stewardship and range period 1-5 months (t- value 2.32), between stewardship and range period 7 years and above (t- value 2.11), between mystery and male (t-value: 2.37), between

mystery and Indian ethnicity (t-value: 2.15), between coherence and range age 36 to 40, (t-value: 2.18), between coherence and Indian ethnicity, (t-value: 2.15), between coherence and rural population, (t-value: 2.15) and lastly between the stewardship and other ethnicity (t-value: 2.26) are indicated positive exceeding the value of 2. Whereby, the visual concepts are predicted to be easily assessed by the nonexpert. Therefore, these visual concepts are not able to represent the different group capabilities. On the other hand, the correlation value of indicators: - between mystery and secondary level (t- value -2.85), between mystery and range period 6-12 months (t- value -2.71), between Coherence and range period 6-12 months (t- value -2.10) and last but not least correlation value of mystery and female (t-value - 2.32) are occurred to be exceethe valueue of -2. Thus, these visual indicators are predicted to the hardest visual concepts and not being capable to measure the non-experts' preferences. However, the results managed to identify several visual concepts that are visible and clear enough to be detected the non- experts. In referring to the results, all of the correlation values of the visual concepts are between the acceptable ranges of -2 to +2. Therefore, it can be concluded that legibility, naturalness and complexity are the dominant visual concepts in assessing the natural and ecological landscape based on the nonexperts' perception process.

5.2.2. Expert test

Table 7. The compilation of t-test for expert

Factor Indicator Educational level Origin Familiarity

Arch Lands Plan Native Non native 1-5 months 6-12 months 1-6 years 7 years above and

Mystery 0.13 1.12 103 -0.01 -0.43 Oil 176 165 1.66

Legibility 1.23 -0 01 122 -0.87 1.75 1.11 013 045 1.67

Coherence 1 55 004 023 1 15 1 76 1 32 -211 -0 23 0.56

Stewardship -2.47 1.22 068 0.88 056 -1.45 -0.55 -0.32 0.11

-165 100 1 46 1.55 1 12 0.B6 -2.89 1 22 036

1 34 -0 11 -045 043 034 0.75 -219 067 026

Naturalness 1.57 199 021 -24 -013 -1 11 1 65 1 65 1.87

Complexity O.BE 1.35 1 98 -1.35 1 54 1 67 -1.76 0 12 1.45

Factor Age Gender Ethnicity Residency

Indicator 21-25 26-30 31-35 36-40 M F M C I O U UF E

Mystery 156 -1 76 145 1 66 056 067 1 33 1.22 1 09 -1.76 -1.57 1.12 165

Legibility 123 006 0.27 1 15 1 70 009 066 1 23 1 56 1 11 002 -034 166

Coherence 146 -1 26 124 -2 19 1 76 -0 03 069 022 2 17 -1 15 092 1 46 007

Stewardship 093 1 65 1.38 1 91 053 1 13 1 66 013 1 12 1 03 -156 204 -0.19

1.27 -0.81 1.83 -0.89 1.76 1.18 0.13 1.23 -0.01 1.22 -1.17 -1.36 2.15

1.13 146 195 -0.81 0.83 1.11 1.66 1.95 166 0.23 1.92 163 -0.91

Naturalness 194 -0 21 102 -0 89 1 76 161 014 1.75 1 67 1 24 -0 71 1 22 -0.57

Complexity 1.58 0 84 093 1 10 1 74 1 70 Oil 0 73 096 1.55 094 093 1.15

On the contrary, the expert test revealed that only two visual concepts reflected a bias correlation of DIF. These correlations are between coherence and range period of 6-12 months (t- value -2.11), between stewardship and architect (t-value-2.47), between stewardship and range period of 6-12 months (t- value -2.89) and once again between stewardship and range period of 6-12 months (t- value -2.19). Refer to the results; these three correlation values indicate the negative value of lower than proposed range. Thus, need to be considered as bias visual concepts. In addition, correlation values between coherence and

Indian ethnicity (t- value 2.17), between stewardship and population of urban fringe (t- value 2.04) and lastly between stewardship and population of rural area t- value 2.15) revealed to have values of more than +2. In the study, these visual concepts predicted to be extremely easy by certain groups and not able to measure the degree of preference. Therefore, these visual concepts were suggested to be terminated. As overall, the results managed to identify several visual concepts are homogeneously accepted by different subgroups. These visual concepts are mystery, legibility, naturalness and complexity.

5.2.3. Comparative analysis

Comparative analysis is carried to identify the similarity and dissimilarity of both expert and nonexpert based on their perception in the natural landscape. Based on the findings of the expert and nonexpert are tabulated below:-

Table 8. Comparative results of experts and non-experts

Expert Stakeholder


Complexity Complexity

Naturalness Naturalness

Legibility Legibility


It is interesting to note that, the experts and non-experts are seen to share similarity in perceiving the aesthetic quality of the ecological landscape. From the result, complexity, naturalness and legibility had been accepted to represent the emotional and psychological aspects of their preference and perception. Despite the differences in demographic factors, these visual concepts appeared to be the dominant attributes for them to assess the ecological landscape. Thus, this study managed to identify the strong connection of human intrinsic value that bonded mankind as one, known as biophilia.

6. Discussion

One of the aspects that being discussed in biophilia theory is how human shared their perception and preference towards their surrounding based on human need and necessity to survive, to appreciate and be part of nature. Thus, the study enhances the understanding on the human affiliation and attachment towards the environment. In fact, it reflected as one of the examples of biophilia study which has been discussed by many others in environmental and psychological fields. It revealed new insights about the experts and non-experts' perceptions, the relevant visual concepts to represent human in perceiving the ecological landscape, and most of all, in identified the similarity of these both groups that support the theory of biophilia. The results of this study reinforce the idea of detecting the similarity of both groups despite the differences of demographic factors that affected the how human perceive their surroundings. As such this study supports other studies that investigating the roles of demographic factors in shaping human perception process. Factors such as age, origin, educational level, gender, ethnicity, residency and familiarity have been considered as the main aspects to be tested in the study. From there results, visual concepts such as legibility, naturalness and complexity seem to be the acceptable landscape parameter to assess the ecological landscape. When regard to legibility, Hashim & Said (2013) referred it as a feature that support the wayfinding in the environment. Therefore, legibility is recognized to be the important visual concept especially to unknown and strange place. In addition, visual aspect complexity is described

to the richness of the environment that triggered the sense of exploration (Ode Sang & Tveit, 2012; Tveit et al., 2006). Complexity in the study has been accepted as a prominent visual aspect due to the diversity of landscape attributes appeared in the photographs. On the other hand, naturalness is described as how the existing landscape is allowed to be in it natural condition, unthreatened with the changes of the surrounding (Ode et al., 2009; Purcell & Lamb, 2006). Thus, this aspect portrayed as visually as the identity of natural and ecological landscape. The selection of the visual aspects, perhaps related to the intrinsic values inherited by mankind in order to survive within unpredicted landscape such as forest. According to (Gatersleben & Andrews, 2013) natural environment with a low level of visibility and high level of enclosed area may trigger negative emotional and as a result, man will require directed attention. Not surprisingly, then, when evaluated the survey of both expert and non-expert groups, they tend to response on the same concepts.

7. Conclusion

The results of this study clearly indicate that human remains a strong attachment to the surrounding. In a certain aspect, both groups are intrinsically connected to one another especially in perception process. Furthermore, the study managed to detected several visual concepts that contribute to the existing knowledge of biophilia in perception. On the other hand, the study perhaps contributes the need of integrating the non-experts and experts as decision makers. It provides an idea both groups could able to demonstrate a strong attachment towards the environment despite the differences and gaps between them. As the indicators are limited to assess the ecological landscape, the process could be expanded to other landscape themes in order to seek the biophilia in human perception.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia and research grant (vote: Q.J130000.2521.03H32) of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), the cooperation and research support from the Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.


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