Research Design Connections

Pink Noise and Sleep (05-15-17)

Papalambros and her team have learned that hearing pink noise (described here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_noise) while sleeping can enhance sleep quality and memory performance the day after the pink noise is heard among older individuals.  People 60 to 84 years old participated in the Papalambros lead study and the pink noise was coordinated with sleeping brain rhythms.   Zhou, Liu, Li, Ma, Zhang, and Fang (2012) reported, more generally, that “steady pink noise has significant effect on reducing brain wave complexity and induc

Rosemary and Working Memory in Children (05-12-17)

Moss and Earle tested the effects of smelling rosemary on working memory in children.  They found that “Exposure to the aroma of rosemary essential oil can significantly enhance working memory in children. . . . A total of 40 children aged 10 to 11 took part in a class based test on different mental tasks. Children were randomly assigned to a room that had either rosemary oil diffused in it for ten minutes or a room with no scent. . . . Analysis revealed that the children in the aroma room received significantly higher scores than the non-scented room.

Children and Distractions (05-11-17)

Children and adults respond in different ways to their environments. Sloutsky and Plebanek “found that adults were very good at remembering information they were told to focus on, and ignoring the rest.  In contrast, 4- to 5-year-olds tended to pay attention to all the information that was presented to them – even when they were told to focus on one particular item. . . . The fact that children don’t always do as well at focusing attention also shows the importance of designing the right learning environment in classrooms, Sloutsky said. ‘Children can’t handle a lot of distractions.

Six-Foot Sneeze Zones (05-10-17)

Speaking at the 2017 Science to Practice Conference, organized by the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces at Berkeley, John Swartzberg, MD, discussed the spread of disease in workplaces, among other topics.  He reviewed research indicating that sick individuals can spread diseases, such as the flu, to people within 6 feet when they sneeze.  The reported findings have implications for workplace and healthcare waiting room design, for example.

In-Store Consistency (05-09-17)

Backstrom and Johansson studied consumer responses to being in stores, replicating a study they conducted in 2006.  They investigated “consumers’ in-store experiences and their components, from both a consumer and retailer perspective. . . . we also examine how the role of the physical store has changed over the last decade. . . . consumers’ in-store experiences to a large extent are created by the same aspects today as ten years ago (e.g. personnel, layout, atmosphere).

Determining Value (05-08-17)

Job and her colleagues learned more about how people determine how much they think something is worth.  They share that  “Past research finds that people behave as though the particular qualities of specific, strongly valenced individuals ‘rub off’ on objects. People thus value a sweater worn by George Clooney but are disgusted by one worn by Hitler.

Multi-Tenant Offices: User Experiences (05-05-17)

Some individuals respond more positively to multi-tenant offices than others.  Hartog and her team report that “Many different multi-tenant offices have arisen over the last decades, as building owners address the changing nature of the workplace – a need for users to share facilities. . . . Data were collected through a questionnaire distributed among users of 17 different multi-tenant offices (business centres, incubators serviced offices and co-working places). . . .

Likeability and Posture (05-04-17)

Vacharkulksemsuk and colleagues investigated links between posture and likeability.  Data collected via “two field studies . . . suggested that (i) expansive (vs. contractive) body posture increases one’s romantic desirability; (ii) these results are consistent across gender. . . . Expansiveness makes the dating candidate appear more dominant.”  An example of an expansive posture is leaning backwards, in a reclining chair, for instance.

Urban Mental Health (05-03-17)

McCay reports on ways that urban design can support mental health.  As she details “There are four key areas of opportunity for urban planners and designers. . . . . Accessibility to green places in the course of people’s daily routines. . . . activity is one of the most important design opportunities for mental health [so providing opportunities to be active are recommended]. . . . Mental health is closely associated with strong social connections and social capital. . . .

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Research Conversations

RestroomSign

Public bathrooms can be designed so that they make the lives of users a little—or a lot—better.  Social science research details ways design can provide welcoming, comfortable experiences to everyone visiting a restroom.
 

MITLobby

Research on educational spaces, at both the pre K-12 and college/university levels, continues to generate fresh, important insights .  This new wisdom supports design options that make learning a more pleasant and productive experience. 
 

BeeInTheCatmint

Actively managing how a place or object smells is becoming increasingly accepted and strategically important.  Scientific studies detail how to create scent-scapes that drive design solutions to successfully meet objectives.
 

What scientists have learned about our experiences in vehicles should not only be applied when new transporting spaces are designed, but also as more stationary places are being developed.

PlaceCoach News Briefs

BeachWalk

Another reason to build in opportunities to walk, indoors and outside
 

SwedishFarmersMarket

Consistency matters, a lot

Green boosts workers' professional experiences

Use islands not aisles

Consider task difficulty

Motivating workers via workplace design

A guide to getting people where they want to be

Vegetation cover and mental health are related

Design at Work

TheGlasshouse

A space that makes happy memories more likely.