Work by Huebner and his colleagues confirms that the ambient temperatures individuals prefer vary. This variation makes central temperature management difficult. Huebner and his team studied temperatures in living rooms in England during the winter finding that “homes differ significantly in their respective temperature profile over the course of the day. . . . [the researchers identified] four different clusters of temperature profiles.
Research Design Connections regularly reports on links between metaphors and physical experiences. Consistent with those findings, Sullivan determined that “images of open books with bright backgrounds are rated as more likely to represent works of genius than open books with darker backgrounds. When books are closed, their ‘genius’ is inaccessible and INTELLIGENCE IS BRIGHTNESS has no effect.” This research has implications for interior design decisions as well as for the conduct of professional meetings where findings are reported.
Visually impaired people can learn the “layout” of a space without being there. This is possible because “interactive exploration of virtual acoustic room simulations can provide sufficient information for the construction of coherent spatial mental maps, although some variations were found between the two environments tested in the experiments. Furthermore, the mental representation of the virtually navigated environments preserved topological and metric properties, as was found through actual navigation.”
Rubin and Morrison have learned that whether people are more individualistic or collectivistic influences how cities are evaluated. More specifically: “people who scored high in self-responsibility (individualism) rated the cities [toured virtually] as more liveable because they perceived them to be richer and better resourced. In contrast, people who scored high in collectivism rated the cities as having a better environmental quality because they perceived them to (1) provide a greater potential for community and social life and (2) allow people to express themselves.
Twedt studied restorative environments in conjunction with her dissertation research. These spaces are important because they “foster recovery following a stressor.” Twedt found that when “participants rated the perceived restorative potential of environments that ranged on a continuum from completely natural to completely built or from completely formal to completely informal. . . . the visual appeal of environments reliably predicted perceived restorative potential above and beyond environment category or naturalness. . . .
Debenedetti and colleagues researched emotional bonds people form to specific commercial spaces. They learned via interviews that people become attached to business locations “through perceptions of familiarity, authenticity, and security . . . [which] evolve into experiences of homeyness. Consumers find these encounters of homeyness extraordinary and respond by engaging in volunteering, over-reciprocation, and ambassadorship toward the place.”
New research indicates that separating people from their cell phones can be problematic and throws into question the value of “no phones present” meetings. It should further encourage the development of distraction minimizing furniture, such as tabletops with niches that allow phone owners to see that they have an incoming call but doesn’t share this information with others nearby. Clayton, Leshner, and Almond have “found that cell phone separation can have serious psychological and physiological effects on iPhone [cell phone] users, including poor performance on cognitive tests.
Evidence from new sources is confirming the value of face-to-face contact with other humans. Sabatini and Sarracino surveyed about 50,000 people in Italy, finding that “face-to-face interactions and the trust people place in one another are strongly correlated with well-being in a positive way. In other words, if you tend to trust people and have lots of face-to-face interactions, you will probably assess your well-being more highly.”
Researchers have uncovered a link between classroom seats and popularity that should motivate designers and teachers to develop new classroom configurations. Van den Berg and Cillessen found via research with fifth and sixth graders that when children were unsystematically assigned to seats by their teachers “Children who sat closer to the center of the classroom were liked more. Moreover, classmates who sat closer together liked each other more and perceived each other as more popular.”
Recent research provides insights useful to people selecting art. Via a study that will be published in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, a team led by Anke Karl learned that “Being shown pictures of others being loved and cared for reduces the brain’s response to threat. . . .