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What is Neuroarchitecture?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
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Neuroarchitecture is a discipline that seeks to explore the relationship between neuroscience and the design of buildings and other man made structures that make up the artificially created environment that most human beings live within. More specifically, neuroarchitecture addresses the level of human response to the components that make up this sort of built environment. The underlying purpose is to assess the impact that various structures have on the human nervous system and brain.

At the core of the study of neuroarchitecture is the utilization of neuroscience. Basically, neuroscience has to do with understanding how various internal and external factors interact with the central nervous system of the body. Within the study of this science, researchers will consider a number of different elements, such as genetics, physical and emotional development, pharmacology, evolution, and the pathology of the nervous system.

Neuroarchitecture is based on the premise that artificial elements added by humanity have a significant impact on the function of the brain and nervous system. In some cases, the impact may be beneficial, while in other situations the form and structure of the building may create a negative reaction on some level. It is understood that the impact may not be overt at first, and could in fact effect changes to the way the nervous system functions over an extended period of time.

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One of the leading organizations involved in the study of neuroarchitecture is the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture. As part of their stated purpose, the ANFA seeks to promote the study of the relationship between buildings and the human body. In operation since the 1980’s, the Academy actively encourages research that seeks to employ the tools of neuroscience study to the impact that humanly constructed elements have on the function of the nervous system and what type of brain activity occurs as a result of the stimulation to the senses. The Academy has sponsored and been actively involved with studies that included investigating the neuroarchitectural impact of homes, office spaces, manufacturing spaces, houses of worship, and sports arenas.

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