Swedish researchers have confirmed that whether workers do tasks requiring concentration/focus is a factor that should be considered when workplaces are being planned. Seddigh and his team report that “employees working in cell offices experience lower levels of distraction and stress than those working in open-plan offices. . . . this effect is stronger for employees who rate their job as requiring high need for concentration. . . . . these outcomes did not differ significantly between the different types of open-plan offices.”
Where do people choose to take leisure walks? The answer to this question can inform urban planning and the development of residential neighborhoods. Suminski and his team learned that “Almost all of the routes (98.2%) [for leisure walks among study participants] were within a straight-line 2,000 m buffer around participants’ homes. . . . leisure-time walking is neighborhood-based.”
Research indicates that ancient and modern cities share many attributes, suggesting underlying preferences for human experience of space. Ortman and colleagues learned by “develop[ing] a theory of settlement scaling in archaeology, deriving the relationship between population and settled area from a consideration of the interplay between social and infrastructural networks. . . .
Research indicates that formulas that are beautiful to mathematicians, for example, because of their “simplicity, symmetry, elegance or the expression of an immutable truth,” are processed in the same part of the brain as beautiful objects/scenes. Researchers report that “People who appreciate the beauty of mathematics activate the same part of their brain when they look at aesthetically pleasing formula as others do when appreciating art or music, suggesting that there is a neurobiological basis to beauty. . . .
Being reminded of fast food, for example, by seeing related signs/packages or walking by fast food restaurants, affects non-food experiences. House and his team leaned that “exposure to fast-food [reminders] impeded [study] participants’ ability to derive happiness from pictures of natural beauty. . . . [seeing reminders of fast foods] undermined positive emotional responses to a beautiful melody by inducing greater impatience. . . .
Research completed at Wharton can help designers interpret information they collect during programming research as well as determine appropriate rewards for their own employees. Mogilner and Bhattacharjee learned that “age — particularly the contrasts between people hovering above or below the mid-30s mark — played a key role in what made individuals happy. . . .
Research has clearly demonstrated that exposure to blue light at night makes people more alert. New research by Rahman and his team found that the same effects are found with daytime exposure to blue light. The blue light tested was 460 nm and its effects were compared to those of green light (555 nm). Study participants experienced one or the other for 6.5 hours in the middle of a 16-hour period of being awake. This experience with the blue light, to be specific “significantly improved auditory reaction time . . . and reduced attentional lapses . . .
When people feel powerless, they experience the physical world differently from people who don’t feel powerless. Lee and Schnall found that “people who feel powerless actually see the world differently, and find a task to be more physically challenging than those with a greater sense of personal and social power.” This finding may help researchers understand nuances of data they collect during the design process.
A European research team has developed a virtual reality program to help airplane passengers overcome some of the unpleasant situations they encounter while flying, such as having to sit close to strangers and not having much control over their physical environment. The Europeans “investigate[d] how flight journeys can be made into a more pleasant experience using Virtual Reality. . . . [the team] develop[ed] an airplane cabin in which test subjects can immerse themselves in their own preferred personal environment. . . .
More people are living alone in the United States. Deka reports that in 2010, 28 percent of households had only one person in them, compared with 6% of households in 1930. During the same period, the percent of married-couple households changed from 79% (1930) to 49% (2010).