|M.Sc Student||Stern-Ellran Keren|
|Subject||The Effect of the Background's Colorfulness on the Child's|
Behavior During Play
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisors||Ms. Rachel Sebba|
|Dr. Nava Levit Ben-Noon|
|Full Thesis text|
Design of products and environments intended for children is usually characterized by vibrant, saturated colors. The effect that this intense colorfulness might have on children's behavior has scarcely been tested by methodological research. Furthermore, cognitive psychology research considers contrasts of hue and brightness as stimuli which might capture one's attention. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of play environments' colorfulness on children's behavior during play.
The study was conducted in a kindergarten in Israel, in ecological conditions. Participants (N=15) were 38-52 months old. Each child was tested on two separate occasions, and in each session played with three games, whose levels were adjusted to the child's developmental stage. The only difference between the two sessions was in the colorfulness of the play area's background surfaces: in one session they were white, and in the other they were characterized by variety of saturated colors with intense contrasts of hue and brightness. The third game was not played directly on top of the white/colorful surfaces, but on top of a smaller white board, which created a reduced color condition, as the colorfulness was only at the periphery of the play area.
Each session was video-recorded. Post analysis included coding of behaviors which were assumed to be indicators of visual load or tiredness and frustration.
Results show more frequent behaviors indicating disruption in task execution when children played on a colorful surface area compared to a white one.
Specifically, for the Visual Load group of behaviors a large gap in the mean frequency of behaviors between the two conditions was observed, but only for the first two tasks. We conclude that contrasts of hue and brightness at the background create a visual load, which challenges the children's ability to separate image from background. Applying a white background in the center of the visual field seems to reduce the level of disturbance.
For the Tiredness group of behaviors large gaps were found in all three games. We conclude that excess hue and brightness contrasts in the background are distracting factors, which require significant attentional resources of the children, at the expense of resources for normative play.
In summary, a colorful background with hue and brightness contrasts is a distracting factor, which interferes with the proper course of play. A white background in the center of the visual field may reduce the level of disturbance.