Conflicts between developers and residents often arise when building skyscrapers, wind turbines, and solar power facilities. One of the reasons residents oppose the development plan is that the new additions to the existing landscape will pollute the landscape and make the residents feel that something is strange (FSS). FSS landscapes would seem to lower liking for the landscape, but it has not been experimentally verified. Additionally, residents see that landscape again and again because it is part of their daily lives. Mere Exposure Effect is a known phenomenon in which repeated exposure to a stimulus increases or decreases the liking for that stimulus. Therefore, liking of the FSS landscape may also change with repeated exposure. So, this study aimed to reveal the effect of repeated exposure to visual pollution in the landscape on liking rates.
In preliminary experiment I, 100 participants rated their preferences of the 100 Non-FSS landscape photographs.
Twelve of the one hundred landscapes were selected to use in preliminary experiment II and the main experiment. In preliminary experiment II, twelve FSS landscapes were produced by adding a skyscraper or other object to the Non-FSS landscapes. Fifty participants evaluated the oddness and pleasantness of the landscapes on the FSS scale. Welch’s t-test was performed for each pair of FSS and Non-FSS landscape scores and found that the FSS landscape showed a greater score than the Non-FSS landscape in oddness, pleasantness, and total scores.
Thirty-two participants took part in the main experiment which consisted of 9 sessions. During sessions 1, 3, 5, and 9, participants evaluated their liking of the landscapes on a 7-point scale. Participants were shown 6 FSS and 6 Non-FSS landscapes in each session. For sessions 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8, participants tackled the recognition task as a filler task and were asked if each landscape was previously presented (“old”) or not presented before (“new”). Twelve landscapes, the same ones as used in the liking rating task, and 30 novel landscapes were used in the recognition task.
Welch’s t-test was applied for the liking rates on the first viewing and the results were that the FSS landscape was evaluated significantly lower than the Non-FSS landscape. ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of the exposure frequency on the liking. The mere exposure effect was found in the FSS condition and the repeated exposure to the FSS landscape resulted in decreased liking for the stimulus. In contrast, the mere exposure effect was not shown in the Non-FSS landscape.
Even as residents became accustomed to seeing visual landscape pollution, it was clear that their evaluation did not increase, but rather decreased. A decrease of the liking on the landscape would then lead to the formation of the impression that the area is inhibited in some way and residents may desire to move to another property. If the attraction of the area as a tourist destination is also reduced, the economic conditions of the area would eventually deteriorate.