Undertaking an Art Survey to Compare Patient Versus Student Art Preferences

Nanda et al
Environment and Behavior March 2008 vol. 40 no. 2 269-301


There is a growing body of evidence on using art as a positive distraction to improve health outcomes. However, there is little research on art for patient rooms, patients' stated art preferences, and how these compare with the art preferences of those with an art or design background. This article addresses the issue and describes the findings of an art survey containing both best-selling art images and images considered appropriate for health care. Sixty-seven hospital patients, 75 interior design students, and 50 building science/architecture students were surveyed. Images were rated on emotional response (how does this picture make you feel) and selection (would you put this picture in your room). Significant differences across the three populations were found for art preferences along the two rating scales and correspondence between emotional impact and selection of artwork. In addition, level of design exposure and gender
were also seen to have an effect.

Summary of results: Realistic nature images rated higher in patients than design students., suggesting that designers may be using criteria for aesthetic judgment over emotional response during the selection of art. These choices may not be geared to promotion of healing or stress reduction in hospitals.

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