Affordances for Drinking Behaviour within Licensed Premises from a Drinker’s Perspective: Challenges and Theory

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsConference Presentation


Keywords: Social, cognition, behaviour, affordances, alcohol, environment, prevention.

5. Abstract:  Social cognition models typically specify intentions as an important antecedent of behaviour. However, intentions are a fairly poor predictor of behaviour and behaviour change.  An embodied, embedded approach to cognition explains behaviour in terms of the transactions that occur between organisms and their environment. Meaning exists in the interdependence of an organism and its environment, as suggested by Gibson’s (1979) affordanceconcept. The previous stage of this research programme used a non-participant observation design to assess the functional characteristics of drinking environments in terms of potential affordances for action. This illustrated potential affordances for promoting or inhibiting alcohol consumption. The aim of the current study was to focus on the subjective meaning placed on these environments by individuals who are regular drinkers. Twelve students viewed 50photographs from licensed premises and highlighted environmental and contextual features believed to be meaningful to their drinking behaviour and to that of others. These interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Recurrent features were grouped by increasing, decreasing, or having no effect on drinking behaviour. Preliminary findings indicate affordances relevant to drinking behaviour including those related to atmosphere, furniture, access, regulatory features, promotions, food availability, noise levels, entertainment and communication. A photo-elicitation approach is a useful approach to assessing potential affordances for heavier drinking in licensed premises. These features and those identified by the first study will inform subsequent research. These results could also inform policy, design and future prevention research, by providing a fuller understanding of how people behave within their social environments.


References: Gibson, J. J. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
PeriodJul 2013
Event titlePsychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG) Annual Conference
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionNational