Design Process and Issues

Conformity and Status (05-04-16)

Recent research by Gray and colleagues indicates that the likelihood that we will conform to design-related behavior in an area is tied to the relative wealth/status of that location, more wealth/status, more conformity.  As a press release from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill related to their work reports “Fashion seems to embrace two opposite goals—fitting in with the crowd and standing out from it. Now new research reveals that the choice to fit in or stand out depends on who exactly the crowd is – and the size of their high heels.

Intuition and Knowing (05-02-16)

During an investigation of intuition, Lufityanto, Donkin, and Pearson found that sensory information that we have not consciously processed influences decision-making.  As they report, “The long-held popular notion of intuition has garnered much attention both academically and popularly. . . .  Our behavioral and physiological data, along with evidence-accumulator models, show that nonconscious emotional information can boost accuracy and confidence in a concurrent emotion-free decision task, while also speeding up response times. . . .

Placebos Still Work (04-29-16)

Research by Garvey, Germann, and Bolton supports previous studies of the placebo effect.  They report that when people completed tasks using products that were promoted as enhancing performance on the tasks tested, their performance, objectively measured, was better than when exactly the same products were used to do the same tasks but not promoted as performance enhancing:  “Five field and laboratory studies demonstrate that this performance brand effect emerges through psychological mechanisms unrelated to functional product differences, consistent with a placebo. . . .

A Cautionary Tale (04-28-16)

Andersen and Roe report on a urban planning project in Oslo, Norway.  Their findings should be noted by people undertaking similar projects in the future.  The researchers learned that in Oslo “urban policies are designed to attract transnational companies and those in the creative class. A key strategy to achieve this has been to transform the city’s waterfront through spectacular architecture and urban design, as has taken place in other European cities. Transnational and local architects have been commissioned to design the Barcode, one of the most striking waterfront projects. . . .

Motivating Sustainability (04-27-16)

A press release from Binghampton University indicates that governments may decide to act in an environmentally responsible way for multiple reasons.  More specifically, “While environmental issues are often cited as a major factor in cities and towns in pursuing sustainability, a new study shows that economic concerns can be just as important to local governments in adopting concrete sustainability plans.”  Some study specifics: “Researchers from Binghamton University, Cornell University, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and two divisions of the American Planning

More On the Benefits of Drawing (04-25-16)

Drawing makes information more memorable.  Wammes and his team found via “[a set of experiments] . . . that drawing enhances memory relative to writing. . . .We propose that drawing improves memory by encouraging a seamless integration of semantic, visual, and motor aspects of a memory trace.”

Jeffrey Wammes, Melissa Meade, and Myra Fernandes.  2016.  “The Drawing Effect:  Evidence for Reliable and Robust Memory Benefits in Free Recall.”  The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vo. 69, no. 9, pp. 1752-1776.

Restrictions and Creativity (04-19-16)

Restrictions can enhance creativity.  Haught-Tromp reports on her research: “Two experiments tested the hypothesis that constraints imposed on a common writing task yield more creative outputs. In the 1st study, participants were asked to include a given noun in a 2-line rhyme for a special occasion. In the 2nd study, they generated their own nouns, which they then had to include in their rhymes. . . .  Mere practice with constraints can stimulate creativity.”  Haught-Tromp found that the enhanced creative thinking continued after restrictions were eliminated.


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