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sensory science

Lean Vs. Green (08-15-14)

Nieuwenhuis and his team have confirmed the value of adding plants to workplace environments. 

This research is timely because, as the researchers describe, “Principles of lean office management increasingly call for space to be stripped of extraneous decorations so that it can flexibly accommodate changing numbers of people and different office functions within the same area.”

Clocks and Babies (08-14-14)

Researchers Justin Moss and Jon Maner of Florida State University have conducted research that again illustrates what interesting creatures humans are.  Their work has repercussions for the design/soundscapes of healthcare facilities and homes, for example.  The team learned that “The subtle sound of a ticking clock can quite literally speed up a woman’s reproductive timing. That is, the sound of a ticking clock can lead women to want to start a family at an earlier age, especially if she was raised in a lower socio-economic community. . . .

Tight vs. Loose Cultures (08-13-14)

Research completed at the Rotman School of Management highlights the social implications of living in a “tight” or “loose” culture.  Designers can use this information when planning interactions with clients and suggesting design options, for example.  As stated in Rotman’s press release, “Tight cultures such as those in China, Germany, and Pakistan have a lower tolerance for deviation from cultural norms and may even impose severe sanctions for doing so.

Duffy on Space Management (08-12-14)

Frank Duffy, an important workplace design researcher, has contributed material to a new book on urban design.  He reports that “The concept of the “intelligent building” . . . is based on the unrealistic assumption that automated environmental control mechanisms will have the capacity to anticipate, and respond to, open–ended user expectations and ever changing patterns of occupancy. The very term is an excellent example of a “pathetic fallacy”, the belief that lifeless objects, on their own, can anticipate change.

Happy Consumers, Healthier Environments (08-08-14)

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Miriam Tatzel linked happiness and environmentally responsible behavior.  A related press release reports on her presentation: “The pursuit of true happiness can lead people to lifestyles that will not only be satisfying but will be better for the environment. . . . Positive psychology, or the study of happiness, well-being and quality of life, provides the answers to what really brings happiness to consumers. . . .

Neighborhood Design, Disability, and Life Experiences (08-07-14)

Botticello and her colleagues investigated the life experiences of people in the National Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems database living in different sorts of areas.  They determined that “Living in communities with greater land use mix and more destinations was associated with a decreased likelihood of reporting optimum social and physical activity. Conversely, living in neighborhoods with large portions of open space was positively associated with the likelihood of reporting full physical, occupational, and social participation."

Consistent Implications of Workplace Design (08-06-14)

Tomovska-Misoska and her research team identify consistencies between the responses of Macedonian knowledge workers to the design of workplaces and those of employees in other countries. As the researchers report “A statistically significant difference was found in the satisfaction with privacy between employees in different office types and in the level of satisfaction with privacy between employees working in office shared with colleagues and open office. This result is similar to the findings of other studies as well (Danielsson, 2005 [a Swedish researcher]). . . .

Music and Feeling Powerful (08-05-14)

Hsu and his team investigated the relationship between music heard and feelings of power.  They determined that hearing “power-inducing music produced three known important downstream consequences of power:  abstract thinking, illusory control [feeling of being in control, even when no control actually is present], and moving first. . . music with more bass increased participants’ sense of power.”  Designers with the opportunity to soundscape spaces and objects they develop can apply these research findings.

Sales Implications of Feeling Nostalgic (08-04-14)

Design can make it more or less likely that people feel nostalgic, which has retail sales implications.  Lasaleta, Sedikides, and Vohs have determined that people are “more likely to spend money when we’re feeling nostalgic. . . . [when we are] feeling a sense of nostalgia-evoked social connectedness.”

“The Nostalgia Effect:  Do Consumers Spend More When Thinking About the Past?”  2014.  Press release, The University of Chicago Press, http://www.journals.uchicago.edu.