Researchers have determined that the color red communicates danger. As Pravossoudovitch and her team describe, there is “an implicit association between red and danger. Our findings confirm the wisdom of using red to communicate danger in systematic signal systems, and suggest that red may be used more broadly in other communication contexts to efficiently convey danger-relevant information.”
British practitioners/researchers installed a new signage system in several hospitals (images are available at the website noted below). They determined that effective signage in customer service areas not only helps people navigate from one area of a hospital to another, but provides information that helps keep people in a space calm. The signage tested “has been found to reduce aggression and violence by 50 percent.”
This common sense finding is applicable in all complex environments visited by the public, not just hospitals.
Gantman and Van Bavel report on their recent work on pareidolia, or “seeing something significant in an ambiguous stimulus.” Their studies indicate that “moral content gave a ‘boost’ to perceptually ambiguous stimuli.” Moral content can be related to fundamental human, survival related needs: “Think about how you experience food when you are hungry . . . When you are hungry, food seems to ‘pop out’ and capture your attention. . . . In the moral domain, such ‘hunger’ may take the form of a desire to redress injustice.”
Ridgway and Myers investigated emotions linked to particular logo colors. Their research does not indicate how colors used on surfaces or in lighting influence humans emotionally. For information on the psychological implications of using particular colors, see Colors to Buy, Work, Live, Heal and Play By.
Dubois, Rucker, and Galinsky have confirmed that sometimes people select options because of perceptions of their own social status. The reported findings can be useful to designers presenting options to clients or synthesizing design-programming data. As the researchers report, “consumers view larger-sized options within a set as having greater status. . . . states of powerlessness led individuals to disproportionately choose larger . . . options from an assortment. . . .
Smart Growth America has issued a new report, highlighting the differential effects of sprawl and compact, connected development.
Hierarchies can be helpful, particularly when people feel that they lack control over their lives, and design can be used to make them apparent. Friesen and his team found that “hierarchies are specifically conducive to fulfilling the psychological need to perceive one’s existence and surroundings as structured. By structured, we mean clear, orderly, and predict able and not ambiguous or random. . . .
A study completed at the University of Guelph indicates that it’s important to help heart attach patients maintain appropriate circadian rhythms. Design can do just that. As researchers report, “To improve recovery for heart attack patients, hospitals should maintain normal day and night cycles for those patients during the first few days after the attack. . . . [this] new study shows for the first time that interrupting diurnal rhythms impairs healing immediately after a heart attack. . . .
Researchers pondering variations in evaluations of designed objects and spaces will be intrigued by a study recently completed by Bakhshi, Gilbert, and Kanuparthy. They linked weather conditions to the prevalence of positive and negative restaurant reviews. More specifically, “After looking at 1.1 million online reviews for 840,000 restaurants in more than 32,000 cities across the country. . . researchers have found that the weather outside can be just as significant a factor for reviews as what happens inside a restaurant. . . .
Breiby investigated links between aesthetics and satisfaction with nature-based tourism. She determined “from qualitative interviews with key informants . . . [that] five aesthetic dimensions . . . may influence the tourists’ satisfaction in a nature-based tourism context: ‘harmony’, ‘variation/contrast’, ‘scenery/viewing’, ‘genuineness’, and ‘art/architecture.’”
Monica Breiby. 2014. “Exploring Aesthetic Dimensions in a Nature-Based Tourism Context.” Journal of Vacation Marketing, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 163-173.