design psychology

Appropriately Considering Neighborhood Conditions (07-07-15)

Stein and Conley have determined that links between neighborhood conditions and crime are more nuanced than previously believed.  Their research indicates that “In previous studies . . .  researchers may have declared that specific neighborhoods are more or less susceptible to crime or opportunities for crime due to conditions in their neighborhood, such as dilapidated buildings, or boarded up houses.  . . . [the new research] research also found neighborhoods contained pockets where generalizations attached to those conditions didn’t apply.

Space Syntax Online Training (07-06-15)

Space syntax is a hot research methodology, but one that can be complicated to learn.  An online space syntax training program is now available free at .  The well-respected team that prepared this training, the Space Syntax Laboratory at The Bartlett, University College London and Space Syntax Limited describe it: “The Space Syntax Online Training Platform introduces the fundamentals of space syntax theory and provides a unified training resource for academics and practiti

More Reasons for Napping Spaces (07-02-15)

Goldschmied and her colleagues have identified a few more reasons to create spaces for naps in places outside the home.  Building on previous research that “has shown that napping can increase positive mood, and improve immune functioning” they determined that after “a brief, midday nap. . . . nappers showed a decrease in self-reported impulsivity and increased tolerance for frustration, while those in the no-nap condition showed the opposite pattern.”  Nap periods were 60 minutes long.

Navigating Via Scents (07-01-15)

Need to make it easier for people to find their way through a space?  Add scents.  Jacobs, Arter, Cook, and Sulloway have learned that “Like homing pigeons, humans have a nose for navigation because our brains are wired to convert smells into spatial information. . . . While humans may lack the scent-tracking sophistication of, say, a search-and-rescue dog, we can sniff our way, blindfolded, toward a location whose scent we’ve smelled only once before. . . .

Sensory Metaphors Memorable (06-30-15)

Want to describe something in a way that’s memorable?  Use a sensory metaphor.  As Akpinar and Berger report, “There are multiple ways to convey the same thing and phrases with similar meanings often act as substitutes, competing for usage. A not so friendly person, for example, can be described as unfriendly or cold. . . . compared with their semantic equivalents (e.g., unfriendly person), phrases which relate to senses in metaphoric ways (e.g., cold person) [are] more culturally successful. . . .

Biases in Perception (06-29-15)

People who are happier see the world differently than individuals who aren’t as happy, which can explain variations in responses to spaces by user groups as well as different reactions to environments by designers and users.  Raila and her team learned that happy and satisfied people attend to (and therefore see) the world differently. . . . people who are happy and satisfied with life may literally see the world in a more positive light, as if through rose-colored glasses.”

Traffic Noise and Health (06-26-15)

A new study confirms that hearing traffic noise is bad for our health, further supporting actions such as using acoustic insulation in homes and sound dampening material on roadways.  Research by Halonen and associates published in the European Heart Journal indicates that “Living in an area with noisy road traffic may reduce life expectancy. . . . The findings suggest a link between long-term exposure to road traffic noise and deaths, as well as a greater risk of stroke, particularly in the elderly. . . .

Moods and Thoughts (06-25-15)

A recent study links being in a good mood with more creative sorts of thinking; multiple previous studies have also shown that design can affect mood.  As Myers and Sar detail “Positive mood state was shown to facilitate the induction of mental imagery processing, . . . . negative mood . . . appeared to encourage a detail-oriented analytical processing.”

Jun Myers and Sela Sar.  2015.  “The Influence of Consumer Mood State as Contextual Factor on Imagery-Inducing Advertisements and Brand Attitude.”  Journal of Marketing Communications, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 284-299.

Perceptions of Neighborhood and Aging (06-24-15)

Our perceptions of the neighborhoods where we live influences cellular aging within our bodies.  Park and colleagues “examined whether neighborhood quality was associated with leukocyte telomere length, an indicator of cellular aging. . . . Neighborhood quality was assessed using modified measures of perceived neighborhood disorder [for example, vandalism], fear of crime, and noise. . . . .

Symbolic Power of Place: New Case Study (06-23-15)

Usher’s research has produced an interesting new example of the symbolic power of place.  She found that  “Across the United States, newspapers are physically relocating their headquarters to smaller spaces, often away from the centers of downtown. This is the latest manifestation of the newspaper crisis manifest through a tangible and visible public manner. . . . physical newsroom moves are perceived to impact coverage, . . . objects inside the newsroom can also be symbols of newsroom decline and invigoration, and . . .


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