Research Design Connections

School Restrooms (11-23-15)

Cascades Tissues Group surveyed people in the US who are or have been on-campus students at the kindergarten through graduate school level relatively recently.  What they learned about how bathrooms at schools are being used is consistent with the findings of researchers who have studied workplace restrooms.  For more information on that workplace research, read this article.   

More on the Importance of Gestures (11-20-15)

Goldin-Meadow’s work indicates the importance of being able to see the gestures of others; a strong argument for co-location.  Her studies have “shown that the gestures we produce when we talk are not merely random movements used for emphasis—instead, these gestures are reciprocally tied to our thoughts. . . [gestures are] bodily action[s] that represents information and thus [have] an indirect effect on the world. . .

Sensory Links (11-19-15)

Hughes and Miller have collected additional information linking sensory experiences. They learned that among study their participants “there was an overall tendency to associate attractive voices with attractive faces and unattractive voices with unattractive faces, suggesting that a ‘what-sounds-beautiful-looks-beautiful’ stereotype exists.

Reconsidering Sitting (11-18-15)

Pulsford and his team have evaluated the hazards of sitting, using data collected over 16 years from thousands of men and women.  Their findings should inform the selection of furniture for offices and other spaces.  They report that “Sitting behaviours have been linked with increased risk of all-cause mortality. . . . Participants . . . provided information on weekly sitting time (at work, during leisure time, while watching TV, during leisure time excluding TV, and at work and during leisure time combined). . . .

Preventing Sleep Interruptions (11-17-15)

Research by Finan, Quartana, and Smith confirms how important it is to design in safeguards that prevent sleep from being disrupted (for example, adequate acoustic shielding around areas in homes, hospitals and dormitories, etc., where people can be expected to sleep).  The team found that “partial sleep loss from sleep continuity disruption [being awoken after falling asleep] is more detrimental to positive mood than partial sleep loss from delaying bedtime [falling asleep later].”

White Noise and the Performance of Children with ADHD (11-16-15)

Allen and Pammer completed a detailed study of the link between hearing white noise and the ability of children with ADHD (7 to 14 years old) to pay attention.  They studied the performance of kids working “under two noise conditions: a classroom noise condition and a classroom noise + white noise condition. The white noise stimulus was sounds of rain, administered using an iPhone application called Sleep Machine. . . . White noise may improve task engagement for non-medicated children.

Flowers and Helping (11-13-15)

Gueguen and his colleagues have linked seeing flowers with an increased likelihood to help others.  In their studies, passersby were more likely to help researchers (male and female) who dropped something on the floor when that investigator was holding a bunch of flowers than when they were holding something else or nothing.  The effect was not seen when people were carrying potted plants, just with cut flowers. The researchers state that “The positive emotions associated with the presence of flowers and their symbolism were used to explain our results.”


Research Conversations

National Gallery Atrium

Insights from the social and cognitive sciences should inform the design of atriums, whether they’re public or private, meant to encourage socializing or working or waiting or something else, or used by hundreds or only a few people at a time.

Communication—verbal and nonverbal—is vital to our wellbeing and performance and at the core of our human-ness. Space design can support or thwart our efforts to exchange desired and needed messages.

Green roofs benefit the people living and working under them as well as those who look at their plantings.  Research on green roofs and related topics details what's best for these users.

The Future of Places conference was held in Stockholm June 29 – July 1, 2015.

News Briefs

Greening influences performance

Reconciling conflicting goals

Managing workplace acoustics

Utilizing color's parameters

Evaluating working away from the corporate campus

Assessing how healthy a built environment is

Making a difference with scents

Linking a city's shape and citizens' lives 

Book Reviews

Turkle Book

Promoting conversation and life-enhancing design

Observing your way to better design

Design at Work

NMAI Exterior

Recognizing culture optimizes design