Nour Tawil

LIFE Berlin

LIFE Fellow since 2020, MPI for Human Development, Berlin

I am an architect and a doctoral student at the Lise Meitner Group “Environmental Neuroscience” at the MPI for Human Development in Berlin. I received my BA in Architecture from Beirut Arab University (Beirut, 2003), and immediately started my professional practice, with a focus on residential, retail and mixed-use developments. My strong belief in the human-centric design approach has inspired my interest in understanding the relationship between the built environment and the body/brain system, and I pursued my degree in “Neuroscience applied to Architectural Design” at Universita Iuav di Venezia (Venice, 2018). For my thesis, I explored the spatial experience from a phenomenological perspective by investigating specific emotional needs and translating them into design. The virtual modified environments were later tested in an EEG pilot experiment, and guided my further interest in neuroscience research. As a LIFE fellow, I am working with Simone Kühn’s team to examine age-specific neuronal mechanisms in different architectural configurations, using neuroimaging tools and cognitive testing, with the purpose of informing architecture in ways to optimize cognitive functioning, physical/ mental health and well-being.

Dissertation project:

Affective and behavioral mechanisms underlying the response to architectural stimuli

Selected Publications

Tawil, N., Elias, J., Ascone, L., & Kühn, S. (2024). The curvature effect: Approach-avoidance tendencies in response to interior design stimuli. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 93, Article 102197.

Tawil, N., Ascone, L., & Kühn, S. (2022). The contour effect: Differences in the aesthetic preference and stress response to photo-realistic images of living environments. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, Article 933344.

Tawil, N., Sztuka, I. M., Pohlmann, K., Sudimac, S., & Kühn, S. (2021). The living space: Psychological well-being and mental health in response to virtual interior architecture in a free exploration paradigm. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(23), Article 12510.

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