Environmental Orientation



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

Wayfinding, orientation in environment is essential for survival, and therefore spatial orientation, environment cognition is a classic topic of environmental psychology. Man has a number of ancient evolutionary coded orientation processes, which have been running partly unchanged since ancient times; however, there is and has been a necessity for the development and effective use of new orientation mechanisms in the context of modern environmental conditions. Literally or figuratively speaking "to be lost" is a very stressing situation. Man uses partly the same, partly different - conscious and unconscious - orientation strategies in natural and man-made and, more recently, virtual environments. The course aims to analyse how cognitive, emotional, and behavioural factors play a role in the orientation process for each environment types, and what physical and spatial characteristics hinder or optimize orientation. We will discuss traditional and ecological theories of environmental perception, the fields of mental mapping and cognitive mapping methodology, problems of environmental legibility, the role of the mental representations and the different types of environmental information (seen, heard, touched, felt environmental stimuli) in legibility, orientation supporting characteristics, and possibilities of improvement and rehabilitation of spatial orientation.

  • Gärling, & G. W. Evans (Eds.), Environment, cognition, and action. An integrated approach. New York, Oxford University Press.
  • Geremek, A., Greenlee, M. W., & Magnussen, S. 2014. (Ed.), Perception beyond Gestalt. Progress in vision research. New York: Psychology Press.
  • Gibson, J. J. 1979. The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Nasar, J. L. (Ed.) Environmental aesthetics. Theory, research and applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Norman, D. A. 2004. Emotional design. Basic Books, New York.