Research Design Connections

Music: Consistent Assessments by Kids and Adults (01-18-17)

Franco and his team have learned that children and adults categorize the emotional effects of music in the same ways.  This finding is important because children do not necessarily respond to sensory stimuli as adults do.  The researchers found that “novel child-directed music was presented in three conditions: instrumental, vocal-only, and song (instrumental plus vocals) to 3- to 6-year-olds previously screened for language development. . . . children chose a face expressing the emotion matching each musical track.

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? . . .

Pages

Research Conversations

CeilingArt

The images that people see as they work, heal, study, and, in general, live their lives, have a significant effect on how they think and behave.   
 

Casual office seating

It’s difficult to design a workplace where employees perform to their full potential over an extended period of time. Using Maslow to guide design decisions increases the likelihood that design-based objectives are achieved and employees have positive at-work experiences.  
 

Rustic bedroom

In much of the developed world, people seem to be struggling to get enough “good” sleep.  Design can make it easier for us to drift gently off into healthy sleep—and  to stay asleep—whether we’re at home, visiting a hotel, in a hospital bed, or trying to take a nap break at work.
 

‘Tis the time of the tiny homes.  What does cognitive science have to say about the experience of living in them?
 

News Briefs

Glass art

Curvier or more angular makes a difference
 

Dome view

Feeling awed leads us to think in different ways

Perceptions trump reality and moods matter

Psychiatric nurses have clear opinions about what is best

Noise has multiple roles in mental health facilities

A useful new way to quantify responses

 Changing spaces, changing experiences

Research-based recommendations

Book Reviews

Dream Cities Cover

Provides useful context for the development of in-city spaces

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.