Research Design Connections

Healthy to the Left (04-18-17)

Romero and Biswas learned that to encourage consumption, healthier options should be placed to the left of unhealthier ones.  Their work determined that “displaying healthy items to the left (vs. right) of unhealthy items enhances preference for the healthy options. In addition, consumption volume of a healthy item (vis-à-vis an unhealthy item) is higher when it is placed to the left (vs. right) of the unhealthy item. We propose that a ‘healthy-left, unhealthy-right’ (vs.

Communicating by Smell (04-17-17)

De Groot, Semin, and Smeets provide additional information about how scents influence how we interact with each other.  Since current, generally available, technologies do not support human communication via smells, face-to-face meetings will remain important for the foreseeable future.  As de Groot and his team report “Humans use multiple senses to navigate the social world, and the sense of smell is arguably the most underestimated one.  An intriguing aspect of the sense of smell is its social communicative function.  Research has shown that human odors convey information about a range of

Thermal Comfort Tool from the CBE (04-13-17)

At the web address below, the Center for the Built Environment at Berkeley shares a free tool for evaluating thermal comfort.

As the web page introducing the tool states, the CBE’s objectives were, in part, to “Develop a web-based graphical user interface for thermal comfort prediction according to ASHRAE Standard 55. Include models for conventional building systems (predicted mean vote) and also for comfort using the adaptive comfort model, and with increased air speeds (for example, when using fans for cooling).”

Workplace Preferences (04-12-17)

Chadburn, Smith, and Milan studied the reactions of knowledge-workers in London to various workplace options.  They found that this group responded positively to “a flexible range of office settings that enable both a stimulating open and connected work environment, knowledge sharing, collaboration, as well as, quiet concentration locations, free of distractions and noise. . . . hot-desking was unanimously disliked by knowledge workers.”

Implications of Urban Green Spaces (04-11-17)

Researchers from the Universities of York and Edinburgh studied responses to busy and green urban spaces.  They determined that among the people over 65 who participated in their study “Walking between busy urban environments and green spaces triggers changes in levels of excitement, engagement and frustration in the brain. . . . volunteers. . . wore a mobile EEG head-set which recorded their brain activity when walking between busy and green urban spaces.  The research team also ran a video of the routes the people walked, asking the participants to describe ‘snapshots’ of how they felt.

Neighborhood Noise and BMI (04-10-17)

Researchers studied ties between neighborhood noise levels and body mass index.  Their study “links the sounds of all-night car horn blasts and shouting by bar revelers in New York City’s noisiest neighborhoods to unexplained improvements in body weight and blood pressure for the urban poor living there. ‘To be clear, we’re not saying that neighborhood noise causes better health, and a lot of further research is needed to explain the relationship we found between this kind of disturbance and health,’ says senior study investigator and NYU Langone epidemiologist Dustin Duncan, ScD.

Homes and Wellbeing: Older Adults (04-07-17)

Kylen and her colleagues investigated how living situations influenced the wellbeing of people aged 67-70.  They found that “depression was less common among participants who reported . . . bonding to the home, and among those who felt that they had control over their housing situation. . . . external housing-related control beliefs were associated with psychological well-being.”  So, generally, housing-related control was linked to greater psychological wellbeing and lower likelihood of depression.  Data were collected in southern Sweden.

Aesthetics and Use (04-06-17)

Research by Wu and his team identified new links between aesthetics and use.  They determined that “While prior research suggests enhanced aesthetics should have a uniformly positive influence on pre-usage evaluations and choice, the present research examines the downstream effects of nondurable product aesthetics on consumption behavior and post-consumption affect [mood]. . . .

Visibility and Green Behavior (04-05-17)

Brick, Sherman and Kim studied when people were more or less likely to behave in pro-environmental ways.  They determined that “When an environmentalist considers a pro-environmental behavior such as carrying reusable grocery bags, being observed by others . . .  may increase behavior (‘green to be seen’). When an anti-environmentalist considers a pro-environmental behavior . . . being observed may lead to less behavior (‘brown to keep down’). . . . antienvironmentalists do behave in ways that help the environment, especially in private. . . .

Position and Value (04-04-17)

Zohar-Shai and Tzelgov confirmed that our mental number line (MNL) runs from left to right with smaller values to the left.  They share that “Several studies . . . have reported [findings indicating] that. . .  the ‘mental number line’ extends from left to right. The . . .  effect has been found mainly in native speakers of Germanic/Romanic languages; it has been suggested that the . . . effect may derive from the experience of reading from left to right. . . . we provide the first demonstration of a horizontal, left-to-right . . . effect in native speakers of Hebrew. . . .

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Research Conversations

During too many meetings, whatever people have gathered to do just doesn’t get accomplished.  Science-informed design of meeting rooms can change that and make group gatherings more effective.
 

Reflected Façades

Façades are more than just skins that surround a structure.  Their design influences the thoughts and behaviors of viewers, sometimes without their knowledge.  Cognitive science research can be used to make it more likely that the designs of façades send chosen messages and encourage desired behaviors, inside and out.
 

Times Square

When people move, they burn off calories.  Slimming our waistlines isn’t all that moving does for us, however.  Research consistently shows, for example, that when we’re walking we think more clearly, creatively and productively (whether inside or outdoors), and get along better with others.
 

How do you decide what to name places, products, and projects? Do you consider how those names sound, for example?  Cognitive scientists spend a lot of time thinking about the implications of the letters and sounds in names.

PlaceCoach News Briefs

Office workstation

Sharing isn't always a good idea
 

Alleyway

Alleys can be pleasant places to spend time

 A-FOs can be better places to work

Prior state matters, a lot

Younger children may be less distractable than other people

Not everyone's sensory systems are the same

Living near a major road may harm our mental wellbeing

Different places on the planet => different preferences

Book Reviews

Digial Futures Bookcover

Insights on creating cities that support residents, visitors, and their technologies

Useful information that can be applied to create a world where more can prosper

Design at Work

PetBathroom

Pets traveling through the San Antonio airport, and their owners, are no doubt thrilled by its pet relief areas.