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design psychology

2-D or 3-D? (09-05-14)

Is it worthwhile to go to the extra effort currently required to present design options in 3-dimensions?  Designers trying to answer this question will be interested in research completed by Bride and his teammates.  These scientists learned from studying people watching movies in 2- and 3-dimensions that “both 2D and 3D technology are highly effective tools for emotion elicitation.

Reading and Experiencing (09-04-14)

Researchers at Emory have learned that reading novels has an effect on areas of our brains related to physical sensations, at least temporarily.  As a press release from Emory states, “Heightened connectivity was . . .  seen in the central sulcus of the brain, the primary sensory motor region of the brain [after study participants read sections of a novel]. Neurons of this region have been associated with making representations of sensation for the body, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition.

Showering (09-03-14)

The Delta Faucet Company has investigated Americans’ bathing habits.  The insights they garnered can inform the design of bathrooms, in general.  Delta learned that “Relaxation is key when it comes to showering and bathing rituals.  Just under half of Americans note relaxing as the most important thing after washing. . . .Seventy-seven percent of Americans shower or bathe at least once per day, with 21 percent showering more than once a day. . . .

Designing the 9/11 Museum with Mental Health in Mind (09-02-14)

Miller reports on an interview with clinical psychologist Billie Pivnick that focused on Pivnick’s work advising the designers of the 9/11 Museum in New York City.  Pivnick tried to insure that the 9/11 Museum is psychologically impactful but not unbearable for visitors. Pivnick indicates that the museum incorporates “’lots of exits so people don’t feel claustrophobic and . . .

Green Failures (08-29-14)

Be careful how you promote green elements of a design solution!  Newman, Gorlin and Dhar have found that “Many companies offer products with social benefits that are orthogonal to performance (e.g., green products) . . . . information about a company’s intentions in designing the product plays an import role in consumers’ evaluations. In particular, consumers are less likely to purchase a green product when they perceive that the company intentionally made the product better for the environment compared to when the same environmental benefit occurred as an unintended side effect. . .

Smelling and Drinking (08-28-14)

Scent-scaping spaces where people will be drinking alcohol and making sure that these areas are well ventilated (to remove undesirable smells) should be top of mind with designers. Endevelt-Shapira and her team learned that “after alcohol consumption, subjects with low alcohol levels could make olfactory discriminations that subjects with 0% alcohol could not make [a statistically significant difference]. . . . performance [ability to pick out odors] was improved at low levels of alcohol . . .

Elevators, Stairs, and Exercise (08-27-14)

Building design can support/encourage inside exercise through activity-inducing floor plans.  Bassett and his crew recently conceptually replicated the findings of earlier researchers, investigating “if buildings with centrally located, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing staircases result in a greater percentage of people taking the stairs.”  They conducted research in “3 buildings on a university campus. One of the buildings had a bank of 4 centrally located elevators and a fire escape stairwell behind a steel door.

Research on Learning Spaces Design (08-26-14)

The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) has released the final report of Boys, Melhuish, and Wilson, the team awarded SCUP’s 2013-2014 M. Perry Chapman Prize.  Their work builds on previous studies that have determined that “there is never one correct solution for the design of a learning space that can be drawn from analyzing the data. Engagement with particular spaces depends on what students and faculty bring to them, how particular educational processes are played out, and what the space enables or hinders across diverse perceptions and experiences.”

Inclusive Kitchen Design (08-25-14)

Maguire and his teammates have comprehensively assessed ergonomics-related problems experienced by people over 60 in their home kitchens.  Their full report is available free at the web address noted below.  Highlights of their study:  “personal problems with reaching, bending, dexterity and sight were more likely to be experienced with increasing age while for specific tasks, ironing and cleaning created the most difficulty.”

Sunlight: A Powerful Magnet (08-22-14)

Researchers have learned why humans enjoy being in the sun.  Designers can use their findings to make it more likely that people will use certain spaces during daylight hours, for example, by installing windows and light tubes to fill them with sunlight.  Sanders reports that Fell, Robinson, Mao, Woolf, and Fisher found that “Ultraviolet light causes mice to churn out an opiate-like molecule. . . .