Research Design Connections

Working in an Active Space (02-05-16)

Engelen and colleagues investigated the implications of moving into a workplace designed to increase user activity levels.  They determined that after study participants “relocated into a new active design building. . . . participants spent [significantly] less work time sitting . . . and [significantly] more time standing . . . while walking time remained unchanged. Participants reported [significantly] less low back pain. . . . Sixty per cent of participants in the new workplace were in an open-plan office, compared to 16% before moving.

Active Transport and Income (02-03-16)

Researchers have devoted a great deal of attention to identifying neighborhood and urban design that encourages active transport (e.g., walking or riding a bicycle).  It turns out that income levels influence how people respond to active transport options.  University of Washington researchers Xi Zhu and Cynthia Chen, presented research at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting indicating that “Lower- and middle-income [people] who live in denser neighborhoods — with stores, libraries and other destinations within easy reach — are more likely to walk or bike. . .

Leading Creative Groups (02-02-16)

Who should lead a group charged with coming up with creative ideas?  It turns out that a confident fellow creative is the best choice.  Huang and his team learned that when a team’s leader is confident of their own creative ability, the team members perform at a higher level.

Lei Huang, Dina Krasikova, and Dong Liu.  206.  “I Can Do It, So Can You:  The Role of Leader Creative Self-Efficacy in Facilitating Follower Creativity.”  Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 132, pp. 49-62. 

Face-to-Face Friends (02-01-16)

Interacting with friends face-to-face periodically is important.  Oxford professor Robin Dunbar has studied friendships and concludes “‘Social media certainly help to slow down the natural rate of decay in relationship quality that would set in once we cannot readily meet friends face-to-face.  But no amount of social media will prevent a friend eventually becoming ‘just another acquaintance’ if you don’t meet face-to-face from time to time.  There is something paramount about face-to-face interactions that is crucial for maintaining friendships.  Seeing the white of their eyes from time to


Research Conversations

Shoppers’ physical, emotional, and cognitive responses to retail environments influence whether merchandise and services are sold, or not.  Design can make sales-inducing experiences more likely.

Cafe Seats, Stockholm

Social and cognitive scientists have developed time-related insights that designers can apply to create spaces that work in and through time, enduring and enriching.

It’s easier to persuade someone to do something in some environments than others.

A new issue of Psychomusicology is an important resource for concert hall designers, covering topics ranging from human beliefs about sounds to acoustical physics. 

News Briefs

Eyes and citrus make a significant difference

Body position can promote chumminess

Face-to-face contact still important

Reaffirming the benefits of seeing nature

All open-plan workplaces are not created equal

Control more important than predictability

Bigger tables => less eating

Standing supports brain function

Book Reviews


Understand what signs in the visual arts are “saying”

An important introduction to best practices

Design at Work

The Poetry Foundation in Chicago is a great place to celebrate poetry.