Assessing autistic cognitive map through syntactic analysis: Examining the expectations of weak central coherence theory in architectural domain

Mina Shokrollahi Ardekani, Mehmet Emin Şalgamcioğlu

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2 Atıf (Scopus)


The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one of the various ranges of mental issues around the world. It has a very complicated neurodevelopmental condition with long-term effects. Genetic is one cause and environmental elements, which yet are not clear and not been figured out entirely, contribute to ASD etiology. According to the "World Health Organization" report (Updated April 2017), 1 in 160 children has an autism spectrum disorder around the world (Url-1). Interestingly, this disorder interacts with the built environment directly and indirectly in a way that ends up the emerging interdisciplinary discussion which links Neuroscience, Psychology and Architectural domain in a unit. So far, the built environment has been used as a tool to influence autism positively, which includes the use of the color, form and geometry, materials, and how building elements connect to one another. The present study accentuates the need for a distinct approach in architectural design with the focus on the cognitive mapping process and sought to evaluate the way which autistic individuals perceive the surroundings and consequently the cognitive map that they form to move around. The core of this study is a psychological theory named Weak Central Coherence (WCC) firstly proposed by Frith (1989). She predicted that autistic individuals were relatively good in tasks where attention was paid to local information but it was weak in works that needed to be performed globally (Frith & Happé, 1994). Hence, the current study has been implemented to assess the autistic spatial cognition through two different environments with distinct architectural features, one local-oriented which composed of more architectural elements and in a sense, it represents a complex layout, and the other global-oriented, which includes fewer details and fewer distractions in terms of architectural features. In this research, we asked the high-functional autistic students as participants to explore two different virtual designed buildings (Local-oriented and Global-oriented) freely and then configure the buildings' physical models as they perceived. After collecting data, the research utilized the space syntax tool (space syntax 2d) to analyse each participants' cognitive map and incorporate the evidence into the architectural design process for individuals with autism. The results met the WCC theory expectations and the details and architectural elements which usually are counted as landmarks or cue for typical individuals, does not work that way for autistic ones to form a better and more accurate cognitive map and instead, make them more focused on different details and consequently make a segregated cognitive map.

Orijinal dilİngilizce
Yayın durumuYayınlandı - 2019
Etkinlik12th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2019 - Beijing, China
Süre: 8 Tem 201913 Tem 2019


???event.eventtypes.event.conference???12th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2019

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© 2019 Beijing JiaoTong University. All rights reserved.

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