Research Design Connections

Repercussions of Looking at Emotion-Stirring Images (01-17-17)

Looking at pictures that stir strong emotions influences how human brains work.  So, pictures that pack an emotional wallop, whether it’s positive or negative, need to be used with caution.  Quoting Sutherland and his team: “Emotionally arousing stimuli are attention grabbing and highly memorable, and they also have influences on attention and memory that continue after the removal of the emotional stimulus. This is thought to occur due to changes in cognition that allow one to more easily adapt to harmful or threatening circumstances, or to engage in reward-seeking activity. . . .

Balance and Cell Phones (01-16-17)

Researchers have found that people’s sense of balance is impaired when they talk on cell phones – another reason to make sure circulation spaces, plazas, and the like, are free of trip hazards, etc.  A study-related press release reports that “cell phone texting and talking can have a negative effect on one’s balance during everyday activities. . . . cell phone texting during exercise significantly impacts postural stability – by 45 percent — when compared to no cell phone use.

Labeling Paintings a Good Idea (01-13-17)

Bubic and colleagues found that knowing the name of a painting influences responses to it. Details on their project: “The present study . . . explore[d] the perception of 12 selected abstract and figural Wassily Kandinsky paintings among two groups of participants, one familiarized with the titles prior to viewing the artworks and another unfamiliar with the paintings’ titles. . . . participants who knew the titles prior to viewing the artworks liked both figural and abstract paintings more compared with those unfamiliar with the title.

Changing Habits (01-12-17)

Verplanken and colleagues’ research indicates that we’re more likely to successfully change habits when attempts at the desired modifications are paired with other changes in our lives, such as moving to a new home.  A press release for the upcoming Society of Personality and Social Psychology conference, where Verplanken will discuss his work, reports that this outcome is called the “discontinuity effect.”

Learning from Unusual Workplaces (01-11-17)

Myerson and Privett share insights regarding workplace design that they garnered while studying extreme workplaces, such as academic libraries, theatres, air traffic control centers, and newsrooms.  Particular attention is devoted to psychological comfort in these environments.  This text may help readers resolve workplace design challenges.

Jeremy Myerson and Imogen Privett. 2015.   Life of Work:  What Office Design Can Learn from the World Around Us.  Black Dog Publishing: London, UK.

Choosing or Rejecting (01-10-17)

Sokolova and Krishna learned that when people are being asked to make a selection, how that task is described makes a difference.  Their findings, which can be applied by anyone asking others to make choices, are straightforward: “People can make decisions by choosing or by rejecting alternatives. This research shows that changing a task from choice to rejection makes people more likely to rely on deliberative processing, what we label the task-type effect. . . .

Envy at Work (01-09-17)

Parrott effectively reviews, in the chapter available free at the web address noted below, the repercussions of people being envious in workplaces.  As he details, “there [are] a multitude of . . . ways that a person can be perceived as enjoying advantages. Offices can be bigger or brighter and can have better windows or nicer furnishings. . . . envy can be even more intense when directed horizontally within organizational levels than it is when directed from lower to higher levels. . . . .

Shapes Seen: Implications (01-06-17)

Romero and Craig have identified a relationship between shapes seen, thoughts, and money spent.  They report that “Human-like shapes are abundantly present in the marketplace, such as in product shapes (e.g., Coca-Cola bottles) and décor (e.g., mall decorations).  Are these shapes innocuous or do they impact subsequent purchase decisions? . . .

Repercussions of Parents’ Concerns About Neighborhoods (01-05-17)

Researchers at Louisiana State University have studied links between parents’ concerns about neighborhoods and the amount of time their children spend playing outdoors.  The scientists report, in a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, that “parents who are concerned about their neighborhoods restrict their children’s outdoor play. . . . ‘Parents who do not trust their neighbors or feel they have no control over neighborhood problems were more likely to restrict their child’s outdoor play,’ says lead author Maura Kepper, PhD. . .

Pages

Research Conversations

Frank Lloyd Wright interior

Visual complexity is an important driver of experience.  Both too much and too little are bad for our mood and cognitive performance.  Neuroscience research reveals how to manage visual complexity, disorder, and clutter.
 

An engaging cubicle

“Engagement” is a hot topic—it’s being discussed by everyone from human resource managers to community organizers; boosting it is the goal of almost every group, regardless of size.   And the research is clear:  design can buoy users’ engagement with organizations, or not. 
 

Surveillance Sign

Want people to obey the rules, do the right thing, keep out of mischief and just generally, behave in socially acceptable ways?  Environmental neuroscientists have done a lot of research on how design can encourage space and object users to be on their best behavior—insights from their studies can be applied in practice.
 

Nest Chairs

The design of temporary nests make a real difference in humans’ lives.  The spaces people call “home” for short periods of time can constructively enrich experiences when thoughtfully and empathetically developed.

News Briefs

Stadium-style seating

Thinking changes with a tip of the head
 

Aligning project phases with working conditions expedites creativity

Too little is too bad

Bright, uniform, and overhead prevail

An outcome to be avoided

Color saturation influences perceptions

Opportunities affect responses

Book Reviews

Reviews fractals and their role in design, for the mathematically inclined reader

Design at Work

PawsWay1

The design of Purina’s PawsWay center in Toronto boosts the mood—and wellbeing—of all of its users, regardless of species.