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Issue 5.1

An Argument Framework for Ecological Psychology and Architecture Design

Integral to the scientific process are theoretical frameworks that motivate specific research questions and empirical methodologies. This paper introduces ecological psychology and argues that it can serve as a new theoretical framework for architecture and design. Ecological psychology holds that people and their environments must be defined relative to each other, with this relationship being empirically quantified by affordances, and that the perception of affordances does not require mental representations or cognitive deliberations. This theory has driven the expansion of human factors, which applies basic research in perception, cognition, and motor function to the design of artifacts in the real world. Ecological psychology provides an empirically testable theory that can inform design choices and assess proposed designs’ functionality.