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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Preferences for Landscapes: A Matter of Cultural Determinants or Innate Reflexes that Point to Our Evolutionary Background?

Adevi, Anna; Grahn, Patrik


Two different theories exist relating to preferences for landscapes: 1) people prefer certain types of landscape independent of their cultural and ethnic background-preferences are innate; 2) people prefer landscapes experienced during childhood regardless of their appearance owing to learned conceptions-preferences are determined by culture. Our aim was to evaluate relationships among preferences for landscapes and childhood landscapes. Results are based on a questionnaire sent out at random to 2000 people in Sweden, and on a qualitative study comprising 19 people. They show that people: i) feel more at home in the type of landscape they grew up in and more often choose to settle down in this type of landscape, even if they have moved from their childhood region; ii) prefer qualities connected to childhood landscapes. However, some of these qualities, those suggested to be innate, are more preferred than others. In conclusion, people prefer landscapes experienced during childhood, but seem to attach more easily to qualities that are suggested to have an innate significance.


Preference; landscape; ecological self; evolution; attachment

Published in

Landscape Research
2012, Volume: 37, number: 1, pages: 27-49

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    • UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
      Landscape Architecture

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