Researchers have known for some time that watching fish swim in fish tanks is psychologically restorative and aquariums stocked with fish are regularly used to defuse stress in spaces in which people are likely to feel tense, such as dentists’ offices.
Psychological restoration, or restocking cognitive energy is generally associated with viewing nature. As Mastandrea states: “All scholars agree that contact with nature promotes several benefits (the recovery of central cognitive functions, the reduction of stress and the induction of positive emotions) that can be labeled as ‘psychological restoration’.” He believes that “that even a totally built and artificial environment can have a restorative potential” and reviews literature indicating that visits to art museums displaying art enjoyed by the visitor can be psy
Some studies are important because they rigorously confirm our expectations. A recent investigation by Wilhelm-Stanis, Vaughan, and Kaczynski of parks does just this. The research team found that “while more parks exist in lower-income neighborhoods, they tend to be less attractive than parks in upper- and middle-class neighborhoods, which have more amenities and are more visually pleasing . . . . In the study, which was completed in Kansas City, Mo., the research team found that lower-income areas had more parks, but fewer amenities such as playgrounds.
Galvan and her research team have gathered additional evidence indicating that acoustically shielded telephone booths/rooms/conversation areas are useful in workplaces, transportation hubs, healthcare facilities, and anywhere else people can potentially overhear telephone conversations. During the first study “to have observed cognitive effects of cell phone conversations on bystanders in a realistic context . . .
Information collected by McGraw-Hill during its 2012 Green Schools Study indicates that there are significant benefits from greening schools. Researchers, who “looked at green in both new construction/major renovations and retrofits/operational improvements, “ and gathered information from school personnel, found that “Two-thirds report that their school had an enhanced reputation and ability to attract students to their green investments; 91% of K-12 schools and 87% of higher education state that their green schools increase health and well-being; 74% of K-12 and 63
Research that will soon appear in Psychological Science indicates further links between physical conditions and mental states (for more information, see https://researchdesignconnections.com/pub/sensory-metaphors-–-more-meets-ear). Caruso, van Boven, Chin, and Ward have learned that “We say that time flies, it marches on, it flows like a river — our descriptions of time are closely linked to our experiences of moving through space . . .
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate surveyed members of the Millennial generation (18-35 years old) to identify features they desire in homes. The researchers learned that “Stereotypical luxury and prototypical homes do not entice them [Millennials]; rather these consumers strive to own homes that stand apart and suit their personal lifestyle… Nearly 1 in 3 (30%) Millennials surveyed would actually prefer a “fixer-upper” to a house with minimal repairs needed . . . .
Zillow has scientifically assessed home architecture styles across the United States. The patterns they’ve found will be useful to designers working with clients who like to conform to prevalent styles, as opposed to live in homes that are more distinctive. Zillow learned that “Midwestern states most commonly have bungalow and ranch/rambler-style houses . . . . .
Research has shown that walking is good for our physical health and mental performance, but how can design encourage people to take a stroll? (For more information on walking see encouraging walking at work). Researchers at the University of Melbourne set our to answer that question and found “Residents of new housing developments increased their exercise and their wellbeing when they had more access to shops and parks. . . .
Researchers have learned that people living in urban environments don’t seem to concentrate as well as those living in more rural areas and it is unclear if design can help correct this situation. As Goldsmiths, University of London reports “People living in urbanised environments are less able to concentrate on the task in hand than people who live in remote areas . . . . A study led by Dr.