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Aftereffect

leaving a place does not end its influence. the mood created by a place can
continue to influence behavior even after leaving. in the preceding section we
discussed several types of psychological processes that seem to be affected
by mood. here we would like to emphasize that the influence of mood may be
independent of the cause of the mood. the event that alters mood may last
only briefly, but the mood may persist. for example, in typical study on
effects of mood on altruristic behavior, a positive experience in the
experimental setting increases helping behavior after the subject has left the
setting (berkowitz & connor, 1966; isen, horn, & rosenhan, 1973; isen & levin,
1972; moore, under - wood & Rosenhan, 1973).

The behavioral effects of stress appear to be unique in that they seem to be


mainly aftereffects (glass & singer, 1972) - Although no one has shown this is
not so for other mood. In a series of experiments, glass and singer could find
no effects of such environmental stressors as upredictable noise, electric
shock, and bureucratic red tape on performance of simple tasks - during
exposure to the stressors. yet all produced performance deficits and lowered
tolerance for frustration after the exposure had ended. in our view, stress as
typically assessed by environmental psychologists is a mood consisting of
displeasure and high arousal, and the question can be raised whether both
components contribute to the observed aftereffects, or, if only one
component, which one.

Zillman and his associates showed that one component - arousal - acquired in
one context does affect behavior in another context. one commontechnique
is to induce arousal through physical exercise and then to examine
subsequent behavior. for example, provoked aggressive behavior was found
to be greater if it followed physical exercise (zillman, katcher, & milavsky,
1972). similarly, subject reported feeling more " sexually aroused" by an
erotic film if viewing followed physical exercise (cantor, zillman, & bryant,
1975). these subjects also rated the film more exciting and more enjoyable.
in both the sex and aggression studies, subject reported beeing unaware of
the residual arousal. an important factor in the "relebeling" of arousal my
therefore be that the arousal is no longernoticeable, or at least no longer
attributable to its initial cause. arousal that is produced by the cumulative
impact of the many elements that consitute an environment, especially if
some of those elements are imperceptible, may therfore be particulary
subject to relabeling.

As such aftereffects specific to the arousal component of mood? cantor,

bryant, and zillman (1974) tried to manipulate arousal and pleasure


independently by having subjects read stories varying in pleasantness and
arousingness. each subject read a story one of four categories : unarousing
pleasant, arousing pleasant, unarousing unpleasant and arousing unpleasant.
a manipulation check showed that subjects agreed with this classification.
subjects were then shown jokes and cartoons and asked to rate how funny
they were. prior arousal increased humor ratings, but there was no effect of
the pleasantness of the story.

so far we have been discussing short-term aftereffects, but there is also


evidence of long-term cumulative effects, againg mainly from studies on
stress (rabkin & streuning, 1976). Rahe (1979) found a positive correlation
between the number of stressful experiences (operationalized as life
changes) and inciden of illness. is increased illnes due only to the increased
arousal associated with life change events, or is the pleasantness of the
event also an important factor? mehrabian and ross (1979) use independent
ratings of the pleasant and arousing qualities of life change event determine
the correlation with later illness of each dimension separately. the arousing
quality of life changes was significantly correlated with illness, but the
pleasantness of the life changes was not. on the other hand, unpleasantness
of life changes does correlate with such psychiatrically relevant symptoms as
self - rated depression or hostille mood (vinokur & selzer, 1975).

Lowenthal and prince (1976) emphasized the other side of the coin: the
pleasure derived from encounters with satisfying environment may help
mitigate the impact of unfortunate events. coles (1972), for example, argued
that pleasant physical surround-ingscan help individuals cope with poverty.
more recently, ulrich (1984) compared hospital patients whose window
looked onto a brick wall with those whose window looked onto a cluster of
stress. the pleasant sight of tress was associated with shorter postoperative
hospital stays, more positive evaluations in nurses notes, and the decreased
use of analgesics.

Concluding Remarks
several writers have pointed to emotion as a key link between aperson and
the surrounding environment (kaplan & kaplan, 1984; Lowrenthal & Prince, !
976: mehrabian &russell, 1974; tuan, 1974; ulrich, 1983; wohlwill, 1976). we
hope we have provided a convincing case that focusing on this link does
indeed help us understand the relationship between person and environment.
if that be granted, perhaps the reader will share our hope for progress on two
fronts: (1) in studying environments, we need a better understanding of such

basic psychological processes a affective appraisals, moods, and emotional


episodes - knowing , for example, whether these distinctions are a useful way
to carve up the domain of emotion. (2) in studying emotions, we need to
grapple with problems raised by their occurrence in environments.

A greater interplay between basic research on emotion and applied research


in environmental psychology would be mutually beneficial. for example, the
power of mood to alter behavior and cognition is currently being documented
in psychological laboratories. presumably the value of this effort is that it tells
us something about the consequence of naturally occurring moods. but do
the relationships found in the laboratory hold when environmental variables
are the causes of the mood? in the laboratory , mood is typically changed by
something sailent and obvious. naturally occurring environmental variations
are complex, subtle, and embedded in the context of the person's life. the
person is unlikely to focus attention on the cause of mood change : the
person may not even know the cause. study of environmental variables
provides the basic researcher with a nonobtrisive means to alter mood - and
thus an important test case of the emerging theories of the effects of mood.

Environmental psychology is the current guardian of an ecological


perspective on psychology. in studying emotions, environmental psychologist
should ask the sorts of ecological questions raised so emphatically by barker.
are emotional episodes as rare as we claimed? where do they actually occur?
there is no information available on such questions. environmental
psychologist might also ask about affective reactions to naturally occurring
variations in psysical parameters. for example, laboratory studies suggest
that hot temperatures are unpleasant and lead to agression. does this
statement hold true for tourist on a caribbean beach? for a couple in a hot
tub ?

Understanding human interaction with the physical environment is hampered


by hot having a deeper understanding of basic psychological processes. for
example, the best we could do in this chapter was to catalog some of the
environmental variables that have been shown to influence mood. there
remain the questions. why do such a factors as noise, chemicals, and
collative variables influence mood? why do they do so in the way they do? we
offered no general principles about how something can influence mood,
because the processes involved remain undiscovered. knowledge of the
mechanisms involved is required if we are to be beyond a catalog to an
integration of the finding listed, to predictions about what mood will be
created by future environments, and to a genuine understanding of mood and
environment.

Similarly we need a deeper understanding of affective appraisals. the


available theories have not taken into account environmental psychology. for
example, mandler (1984) emphasized the degree of congruence between the
object appraised and the mental representation of thet object. wether
congruence play more than a minor role in naturally occurring affective
appraisals is a question environmental psychologist could contribute to. as
another example, consider zajonc's (1980) much discussed theisis that
affective appraisal often precedes cognitive processing of the object
appraised. when applied to person -environment interactions, this thesis can
be seen in a broader perspective. perhaps the most important affective
appraisals occur during the planning stage- when memory for a particular
place or knowledge about a class of places therefore must be relied on. at
best, zajonc's thesis is relevant to a sub sample of cases of affective
appraisal.
Informal everyday decision making and planning have evolved into such
professional activities as regional planning and governmental regulation pf
technology, and processing of information have evolved into such
professional activities as technology assessment, risk assessment, and
environmental impact assessment. these three professional programs have in
common the forecasting of cost and benefits and the use of these forecasts
in decision making. environmental impact assessment tend to focus on
perceived environmental quality, scenic beauty, or more generally, the
pleasant aspects of environments. risk assessment, in contrast, tends to
focus on the fear arousing quality of environmental changes. craik (1981)
integratedthese two technologies by means of the scheme seen here in figure
8.2, which he described as a clock: environmental impact assessment has
been concerned with the zon from two to four o'clock, whereas risk
assessment is associated with the zone from ten to eleven o'clock, of
affective appraisals. craik concludes; "a fuller application of concepts and
methods from the psychological study of emotion offers a promising avenue
to research linking risk perception to environmental perception more
generally".
The subject matter of environmental sychology forces us to focus on time.
indeed, understanding how behavior is organized in time and space is central
to environmental psychology (russell &ward, 1982). by characterizing person
- environment interactions as a series of steps, we focused on time but
necessarily oversimplifed a continuously unfolding process. for example,
mood shifts not just on success or failur of the plan but on progress or
regress. Methodological and conceptual tools are required, both in the older
areas of psychology and in environmental psychology, to study temporal
change. to illustrate, consider of attitude, which has been central to special
psychology and frequently used by environmental psychologist (see, e.g.,
weigel, 1983). the concept of attitude ignores timeby assuming temporal

stability. here, we emphasized a more temporary phenomenon - affective


appraisal - because it acknowledges that whether a person is pro - wilderness
or anti - wilderness may vary from one time to the text depending on current
plans, needs, and concerns.
in short, the study of environmental psychology promises to raise serious
questions about some common research conclusions and to provide an
important testing ground for theories of psychological process : at the same
time, a deeper understanding of basic psychologicalprocesses is needed to
enrich our understanding of person - environment transaction.