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Circadian Rhythms and Heart Attack Patients (04-03-14)

A study completed at the University of Guelph indicates that it’s important to help heart attach patients maintain appropriate circadian rhythms.  Design can do just that.  As researchers report, “To improve recovery for heart attack patients, hospitals should maintain normal day and night cycles for those patients during the first few days after the attack. . . . [this] new study shows for the first time that interrupting diurnal rhythms impairs healing immediately after a heart attack. . . .

Rainy Day Evaluations (04-02-14)

Researchers pondering variations in evaluations of designed objects and spaces will be intrigued by a study recently completed by Bakhshi, Gilbert, and Kanuparthy.  They linked weather conditions to the prevalence of positive and negative restaurant reviews.  More specifically, “After looking at 1.1 million online reviews for 840,000 restaurants in more than 32,000 cities across the country. . . researchers have found that the weather outside can be just as significant a factor for reviews as what happens inside a restaurant. . . .

Aesthetics and Nature-Based Tourism (04-01-14)

Breiby investigated links between aesthetics and satisfaction with nature-based tourism.  She determined “from qualitative interviews with key informants . . . [that] five aesthetic dimensions . . . may influence the tourists’ satisfaction in a nature-based tourism context: ‘harmony’, ‘variation/contrast’, ‘scenery/viewing’, ‘genuineness’, and ‘art/architecture.’”

Monica Breiby.  2014.  “Exploring Aesthetic Dimensions in a Nature-Based Tourism Context.”  Journal of Vacation Marketing, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 163-173.

Working All Night (03-31-14)

Scent has almost magical effects on the way our minds work.  Ritter and his team have learned that when we smell the same odor while sleeping that we did when we started to work on a problem, we develop more creative solutions (i.e., ones that are both more novel and useful) to that problem.  It’s relatively easy to make sure that you smell the same smell while working and sleeping – a common essential oil can be placed both in your bedroom and your office.  In the words of the researchers: “we investigate[d] whether one can actively enhance the beneficial effect of sleep on

The Power of Acoustic Experiences (03-28-14)

Richard Wiseman investigated the relationship between soundscapes heard while sleeping and dreaming.  He determined that when particular sounds are played while people sleep, they are more likely to “wake up feeling especially happy and refreshed.”  The soundscapes, a component of the “Dream:ON” app that Wiseman developed, were “carefully designed to evoke a pleasant scenario, such as a walk in the woods, or lying on a beach.” These findings indicate the value of consciously soundscaping designed spaces; the sounds we hear have a significant effect on our state of mind, even when

Greenspace and Life Satisfaction (03-27-14)

Ambrey and Fleming investigated the relationship between living near greenspace and life satisfaction.  They determined that in Australia’s capital cities “A positive relationship is found between the percentage of public greenspace in a resident’s local area and their self-reported life satisfaction, on average corresponding to an implicit willingness-to-pay of $1172 in annual household income for a 1 per cent (143 square metres) increase in public greenspace.”  In addition, “the value of greenspace increases with population density and that lone parents and the less educated ben

Introducing Ergoecology (03-26-14)

Garcia-Acosta and his colleagues are promoting the use of a new term, “ergoecology.”  It is defined as “a new multidisciplinary field . . . [combining] the elements of an ‘ergonomic system’ (human beings, physical space and object/machine) and defining the term ‘surroundings’ . . .  while emphasising the ecological aspects of human activities.” The authors continue that “The aim of ergoecology is to provide tools for confronting twenty-first century challenges.

Functionality and Apparent Spaciousness (03-25-14)

Meagher and Marsh have learned that spaces that are actually the same size can seem spacious or cramped, depending on how furnishings in the rooms are arranged.  When furniture, trashcans, etc., are arranged in a way that supports the probable activities in a space (e.g., completing assigned tasks in workplaces), a place seems larger than when arrangements aren’t supportive.  As the researchers state, “the negative outcomes associated with high density settings (e.g., feeling of crowding) can potentially be mitigated. . . .

Enhancing Benefits of Green Spaces (03-24-14)

The mood you’re in is a product of the space you’re in, what you’re doing, and other factors, as well.  Kinnafick and Thogersen-Ntoumani have determined that “physical activity [walking at your own pace] can further enhance the positive effects of a natural environment [on mood]. . . . policymakers, urban planners and those interested in public health should encourage greater use of natural open space in order to increase physical activity levels to promote psychological wellbeing.”

Homeownership and Life Satisfaction (03-21-14)

Environmental psychology research consistently indicates the value of having a home territory and Research Design Connections has previously reported on the benefits of having a place we feel we control in this article.  Zumbro’s research confirms that the relationship between having a home and life satisfaction remains strong.  Doing research in Germany, he found that there is “a positive relationship between homeownership and life satisfaction. . . .