Thesis: An Analysis of Interior Wood Products and Their Psychological Impact
Abstract: This research focused on understanding people’s perceptions of wood, particularly in interior applications. The goal was to determine what type of environment wood products create and to determine if they can have a positive effect on an individual’s health and well-being. A total of 119 respondents from the Greater Vancouver Regional Area completed the study. The research consisted of four separate sections, of which each subject completed three. Subjects were asked a variety of questions focusing on indoor environments, interior furnishing materials, wood products and perceptions of wood. The main objectives of this study were to: determine if wood environments have an impact on emotional states and, therefore, implications for psychological health; determine if there are any demographic differences with respect to how people emotionally respond to wood (e.g. age, culture, gender); and determine if emotional response to interior wood products can be used in the development of marketing strategies.
The research indicated that people’s response to wood is, for the most part, extremely positive. Furthermore, there appears to be a strong belief that wood creates healthful environments. Wood environments were continuously described with the following terms: ‘warm’, ‘homey’, ‘relaxing’, ‘natural’, and ‘inviting’. Perceptions of wood do not appear to be related to any demographic differences, showing that people’s positive response to wood and wood environments appears to be relatively widespread. Humans have an innate desire to try and replicate nature in their indoor environments either through the use of large windows and views of nature, natural light, plants, and natural materials such as wood.
Wood’s positive effects on health and well-being need to be added to wood’s total product concept. Wood manufacturers have the opportunity to market wood in an entirely new and innovative manner. Secondary processed wood products have many opportunities in today’s global market, but it is important that all of wood’s positive attributes, including potential psychological benefits, be properly exploited in order for wood to successfully compete against other products.
Current Position: Industry Advisor, FPInnovations (Forintek), Vancouver, BC, Canada