New interior design class to teach students about human psyche

Kirsten Bowers

Topics covered in the course

Cultural variations

Designing for majority population

Americans with Disabilities Act

Social responsibility

Environmental consciousness

Personal space

Specialized populations

A new interior design course, Design and Human Behavior, will look at the way design and human behavior connect with one another.

The Kent State School of Architecture and Environmental Design will be offering the course in the spring semester; it will be available to all students.

“It’s about design affecting human behavior and human behavior affecting design,” said Pamela Evans, the associate dean of interior design. “You can’t just design without understanding the human psyche.”

The three-credit-hour lecture course will be one of two interior design courses offered to all majors.

“There is no expectation of creativity or design background or ability, and there doesn’t need to be,” said Terrence Uber, developer and professor of the course. “Design affects everybody, whether you know it or not.”

Uber said design can affect the way people behave in restaurants and stores. For example, fast food restaurants will use more upbeat music in their lobbies, which makes customers chew faster, Uber said.

Uber said design can affect students of all majors, including nursing students, who could use the course to learn about how “the environment can be shaped to help patients get well.”

Uber said he hopes students come away from this class with a better understanding of themselves, as well as better understanding of the way people interact with their environment.

Evans said she’d like to see students with majors outside the school of Architecture and Environmental Design enroll in the course, and she hopes non-interior design majors will be able to apply what they learn to their own majors.

“The spaces we inhabit really control us, and that’s why it’s critical that people understand the human being,” Evans said.

The course will cover material about how differences in religion, disabilities and culture can influence and impact design.

“As we become more global, we have to be more in tune to what’s happening outside our comfort-sphere,” Uber said.

Unlike other courses about diversity and culture, Evans said this course has a more specific purpose.

“It brings it back to the design,” Evans said. “It’s not just how people react, it’s how they react to the space and how one then learns from that and adjusts to meet those needs.”

Uber said he created this course to help give students, particularly interior design students, the information they need to continue on to the next part of their education.

“The course is instrumental in what we do,” Evans said. “It’s sort of the lynchpin of what interior design is about; it’s about creating environments where humans interact, and if we don’t pursue design in human behavior then we’re not doing our profession justice.”

Contact Kirsten Bowers at [email protected].