Neuroarchitecture: a new form of mentalism.


Neuroarchitecture: a new form of mentalism.

  • Date:
  • Auteur:
    Catherine Fontaine-Lavallée

Does magic exist? Illusionists and mentalists, professionals of illusions and mind manipulation, nevertheless leave us perplexed with their sometimes-spectacular tricks! A few well-worked techniques are enough to create a paranormal effect in the spectators, for example: 1) psychology and the power of deduction, 2) suggestion, 3) the development of memory (think of rapid calculation) and 4) illusion through manipulation. These artists thus use blind spots in our minds and direct our attention through rigorously calculated gestures.

Science, along with training, is therefore the true master of this performing art; tricks and illusions are rooted in the laws of physics and mind manipulation comes from cognitive neuroscience. These scientific elements can be used in other areas of our lives, for example in the architecture of our built environment: neuroarchitecture.

NEUROARCHITECTURE - The study of the relationship between health and the management of spaces through the contributions of neuroscience. The study of the relationship between brain processes and architectural environments and their impact on people's emotional and physical health

Our unconscious 'self,' or embodied cognition

Our brain is, according to itself, the central organ of our body as it harmonizes all its functions. It constantly works, whether we are aware of it or not! For a long time, we believed that it functioned like a computer program that processes received information without any external influence. Now, a revolution in cognitive science has been taking place for several decades: embodied cognition. This theory implies that our thinking is constantly informed and influenced by our body and our environment.

As Bridgeman & Tseng (2011) put it: "perception can be interpreted as a set of skills that facilitate two functions necessary for our survival: 1) knowledge of our environment and 2) control of our (behavioral) interactions with it, in real-time". This speed of execution between what our senses pick up as signals and our actions means that our brains are constantly creating; scenarios based on the information coming into our brains and the decisions we have to make. Since there is much more information than we consciously perceive, much of it is perceived; by our 'unconscious self'. According to psychologist and author of the book Mind in motion, Barbara Tversky, "all thought is first of all spatial thought." Thus our sensory-motor experiences concerning our environment influence our thinking, including some internal processes such as emotions. A striking example of this influence can be found in a 2008 Yale University study : holding a cup of hot coffee in your hands affects your social judgment. You will have a warmer attitude towards strangers!

processus perceptuels de la cognition incarnée
Modified from

Neuroarchitecture as a form of mentalism

The built environment has the power to use embodied cognition, like a magic wand, to modulate our emotions and perceptions, as mentalism does. When we enter a church, for instance: we experience sentiments of humility and solemnity not by chance, but because of the architectural genius behind the large building: high ceilings that make us feel small, stained glass windows and lanterns that create a subdued light, and stones that amplify the voice. These buildings are real make-believe machines: different built environments, different palettes of emotions: a relaxing spa or a scary abandoned house. The architect can create both types and intensities of emotions in his designs. In everyday life - without going into 'strong' emotions such as fear, the inclusion of design elements that promote the comfort of body and mind can lead to a sense of fulfillment.

lumière à travers fenêtres d'église
David Osta/Pixabay

When the goal is a fulfillment

LabNco's Well certification and the use of neuroarchitecture in our practice demonstrate our company's commitment to creating environments in which users feel good and achieve an adequate stimulation level. Integrating well-known scientific principles into built environments is a way to flourish in our society. We understand what people value and find stimulating, and we take advantage of what makes their lives more enjoyable and promotes their development.

  • Online quoteContact us
Lévis - Thetford Mines - La Beauce - Montréal