Semantic Aspects of Perception of Different Types of Residential Buildings According to the Associative Experiment



Visual environment of modern large cities is characterized by a wide representation of built elements. Some of them — residential buildings in particular — due to their prevalence, play a significant role in the citizens’ everyday perception experience. Moreover, the resulting image of such perception can be associated with some invariant semantic characteristics, including certain emotional coloring. That is, the perception of certain objects can set a certain emotional background. This aspect of human interaction with the city environment remains poorly understood. The aim of the study is to identify the semantic content of residential buildings perception and to trace the possible emotional effects of such perception. Two hypotheses were tested: first suggesting the difference in the semantic content of different houses perception images; second assuming the difference in the semantic content of images in different groups of respondents. 100 residents of Vladivostok city were studied, the average age was 38 years. The sample was divided into three age cohorts and included representatives of young, middle-aged and elderly people. The research was conducted on the basis of the Far Eastern Federal University, as well as online. Respondents ranked 10 photos of residential buildings, representing 5 categories, according to the degree of preference; then they were asked to write down the first associations that arose for each photo. The greatest inter-group consistency of images characterizes historical and “old” low-rise buildings. The perception of historical houses turned out to be the most emotionally positive and filled mainly with aesthetic connotations. “Old” low-rise and five-storey buildings revealed the most negative perception: the image of the former is dominated by the characteristic of poor well-being; the perception of the latter revealed their maximum unaesthetic. The results can be used in practices aimed to improve the visual environment of the city, in the implementation of social projects.

General Information

Keywords: environmental psychology, perception of the urban environment, associative experiment, semantic characteristics of the perception image

Journal rubric: Ecological Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Received: 01.09.2020


For citation: Kaptsevich O.A. Semantic Aspects of Perception of Different Types of Residential Buildings According to the Associative Experiment. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2022. Vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 103–121. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2022150107. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Olga A. Kaptsevich, PhD in Psychology, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology and Education, School of Arts and Humanities, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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