Environmental Inference in Psychological Counselling Rooms: Effects of Room Settings on the Judgements of Counsellor Qualities

[Speaker] Ito Alpturer, Mari:1
1:Yeditepe University (Turkey)

Symbolic meanings inferred from a room can be attributed to its occupants. The study examined how counsellors were judged depending on the counselling room conditions. Four room photographs were prepared combining factors revealed important in the previous study: seating arrangements (with/without a desk between counsellor's and counselee's seats) and furnishing (soft/hard). University students (N=280) rated an imagined counsellor while looking at one of the room photographs. Factor Analysis of the ratings of 50 counsellor attributes yielded four composite scales: expertise, interpersonal style, responsiveness and forcefulness. 2-way ANOVAs revealed that furnishing significantly influenced all four ratings; counsellors in soft-furnished rooms were found more professional, less authoritarian, more helpful, and less aggressive. Seating arrangements significantly influenced the interpersonal-style rating only; counsellors in rooms with a desk were judged to be more authoritarian, formal, cold and distant than those in rooms with no desk. Careful designing of counselling rooms is recommended.
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