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Being in a traumatic situation, living through a flood, for example, effects how lives are lived and selections made, even after that flood or other traumatic situation ends.  Sigirci, Rockmore, and Wansink have learned that  “Traumatic experiences – such as combat, living in a conflict country or war-torn nation, or experiencing a violent crime or natural disaster . . . may . . . influence a life-time of consumer relationships with brands and shopping. . . .  We show that those who experienced heavy trauma (e.g., heavy combat). . . .became . . . more open to switching brands, to trying new products, and buying the least expensive alternative. . . . Trauma, such as combat, may change one’s decision horizon. Functionality and price become more important, which is consistent with the idea that they are more focused on the present moment than on building on the past or saving for the future.”  This finding has implications for the design of spaces and things to be used by people who are likely to have experienced trauma, for example, Veterans Administration hospitals, particularly when those traumatized individuals will participate in the design process.

Ozge Sigirci, Marc Rockmore, and Brian Wansink.  “How Traumatic Violence Permanently Changes Shopping Behavior.”  Frontiers in Psychology, in press.

Think that aches and pains vary based on the weather?  You’re correct.  Researchers from the University of Manchester (UK) have found “a link between weather conditions – specifically rain and lack of sunshine – and chronic pain. . . . results suggest a correlation between the number of sunny days and rainfall levels and changes in pain levels. . . . as the number of sunny days increased from February to April, the amount of time spent in severe pain decreased. However, the amount of time spent in severe pain increased again in June when the weather was wetter and there were fewer hours of sunshine.”  Data analyzed were collected in a novel way:   “Members of the public who have long-term pain record their daily pain symptoms on a special app. The app also independently captures hourly weather conditions using the smartphone GPS, thus joining pain data with real-time local weather events.”  These findings are potential useful in a variety of contexts, including for explaining differences in responses to places and things when data are collected on different days.

“Link Between Weather and Chronic Pain Is Emerging Through and Innovative National Smartphone Research Project.”  Press release, The University of Manchester,

Canonico’s research indicates that the performance-related benefits of telework decrease over time.  After collected data from over 500 employees of a British organization, she determined that  “The benefits of working from home disappear over time for both employees and organisations if it is a full-time arrangement. . . . While previous studies have demonstrated that home workers are more productive than office-based workers, . . . [this study] shows that on a long term basis, there are no differences between home and office workers. The reason, according to Dr. Esther Canonico from LSE’s Department of Management, is that employees no longer see home working as a discretionary benefit or a ‘privilege’ when it becomes the ‘norm’ in an organisation. Dr. Canonico says: ‘The study showed that some home working employees feel resentful that employers don’t pay their utility bills, or cover stationery costs, for example. Some managers, on the other hand, feel home workers take advantage of the situation. . . . .Some of the downsides of home working are an increased sense of professional isolation and a decrease in sharing knowledge with colleagues. It’s not for everyone but it is becoming entrenched into our working culture.’”

“Home Working Loses Its Appeal Over Time for Both Companies and Staff.”  2016.  Press release, The London School of Economics and Political Science,

Researchers probed human responses to triangles in different orientations.  They have learned that “the same triangular stimuli were generally rated as less pleasant, less liked, and less familiar when they pointed downward than when they pointed upward.”

Xu Shen, Xiaoang Wan, Bingbing Mu, and Charles Spence.  2015.  “Searching for Triangles:  An Extension to Food and Packaging.”  Food Quality and Preference, vol. 44, pp. 26-35.

In an open source article, Charles Spence thoroughly reviews how information collected through multiple senses influences the experience of eating food.  His findings, directly relevant to eating, provide insights on how multiple sensory experiences can combine in other contexts as well.  Spence reports that  “The latest research by psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists increasingly reveals the complex multisensory interactions that give rise to the flavor experiences we all know and love, demonstrating how they rely on the integration of cues from all of the human senses. . . . [there is a] growing realization that the same rules of multisensory integration that have been thoroughly explored in interactions between audition, vision, and touch may also explain the combination of the (admittedly harder to study) flavor senses. Academic advances are now spilling out into the real world, with chefs and food industry increasingly taking the latest scientific findings on board in their food design.”

Charles Spence.  2015.  “Multisensory Flavor Perception.”  Cell, vol. 161, pp. 24-35.

Salgado-Montejo and his colleagues probed psychological responses to concave and convex lines.  They learned via data collected in the United Kingdom and Colombia that when “participants viewed four variants (concave [smile-like] line, convex [frown-like] line, straight line, line absent) of three different products (tea, shampoo, juice). . . . [that there was] a general tendency across scales, products, and countries for the participants to rate products more positively and to choose products more frequently when they displayed a concave line relative to a convex line . . . the effects were present for both concave and convex lines, but were stronger in the concave instance.”

Alejandro Salgado-Montejo, Isabell Leon, Andrew Elliot, and Charles Spence.  2015.  “Smiles Over Frowns:  When Curved Lines Influence Product Preference.”  Psychology and Marketing, vol. 32, no. 7, pp. 771-781.


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