New England Complex Systems Institute


Environmental Complexity: Information for Human-Environment Well-Being

Alice W. Davidson and Yaneer Bar-Yam


We investigate the importance of environmental complexity as a factor influencing cognitive function and well-being of the elderly. Environmental complexity was calculated based upon an estimate of the number of visually distinct environments characteristic of the objects in five photographs of each elderly subject's home. It was found that more complex environments correlated with the higher cognitive function and more robust locomotor activity of those living in the community. Complexity was found to be a quality of the environment independent of aesthetics.

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