Differences and similarities in perception of landscape photographs between American-English, Spanish-Catalan and Russian speakers
Schoenberg, Tatyana Borisovna
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The study of landscape perception has a long history, beginning in the mid-1930s. Almost all previous research has involved preferences analysis, which uses a rank-order approach. The research described here is different, for it is based not on preferences, but on the combination of visual perception and language. The specific research questions are (1) "What differences and similarities can be found in landscape photo perception between different groups of people the American, Catalan and Russian cultures?" And (2) "How do people from three different cultures, using their native languages, conceptualize and communicate about the landscape?" The dissertation shows that cultural background and individual experience form a basis of our process of perception and combinations of cultural factor and individual experience form a basis of our learning about the world. The research is designed to test theories based on classic works on perception by Grano (1929), Gibson (1979), Lynch (1960) and Tuan (1974). The set of photographs includes landscapes that are familiar and unfamiliar to all three cultures. Subjects were asked to write down what features they see in the order in which they see them. The purpose of analysis was to find differences and similarities in the answers both of individuals and of groups. The main findings of this dissertation are: (1) American students tended to perceive and name objects first. Russian students tended to perceive and name natural features first. (2) There was a strong influence of cultural factors on perception among the Russian students. (3) Students from Barcelona were more general in their responses. (4) American students and Russian students named the same type of trees differently. (5) American students tended to mention recreational activities that could be done at the places shown. (6) American students frequently named "sky" as their first response. (7) The techniques used here can be used in comparison between any sets of cultures.