Researchers Arsel, Debenedetti, and Oppewal have found that home-like environments spur retail sales. As a press release from Concordia details, “Why put a big comfy couch in the corner of the local bookshop? Why provide stacks of board games free of charge at the corner café? . . . . Because by making people feel at home in a commercial space, marketers can turn their own clients into salespeople . . . . a sense of homeyness results in a fierce loyalty in customers, who in turn demonstrate an enthusiasm and sense of commitment that goes beyond the norms.
Retail design can help customers feel relaxed, and it seems that investments in calming shades of paint for walls, etc., are worthwhile. Pham and colleagues determined that being relaxed “increases the monetary valuation of products . . . in six experiments . . . participants who were put into a relaxed . . . state reported higher monetary valuations than participants who were put into an equally pleasant but less relaxed state. . . .
Reinholtz, Lee, and Pham have linked being in sunlight with taking risks. They determined that “exposure to sunlight, and not simply sunny weather, can increase an individual’s tendency to select a higher-risk course of action.” These findings support encouraging (for example, by adding clerestory windows) or discouraging (for example, by adding curtains) exposure to sunlight in spaces where risk-taking is more or less desirable – for example, places where different sorts of financial decisions are made.
Bernhofer and her team have gathered additional evidence indicating how important it is to maintain normal circadian rhythms and the role light can play in doing so.
Incorporating natural light into a space has documented positive effects on how humans perform cognitively and socially and using it indoors conserves our energy resources. Hargmann and Heikenfeld have developed a new way to bring natural light deep into building interiors. They determined that with “tiny, electrofluidic cells and a series of open-air ‘ducts,’ sunlight can naturally illuminate windowless work spaces deep inside office buildings and excess energy can be harnessed, stored and directed to other applications.” Diagrams at the website noted below effectively il
Research at Vanderbilt confirms how important it is to provide in-room signage that allows patients to learn and remember information about their physicians. Jahangir and his research team “studied the effects of giving a randomized group of patients a simple biosketch card about their doctor.” They learned “that patient satisfaction scores for the group receiving the card were 22 percent higher than those who did not receive the card.”
Margulis investigated how repetition in music influences our thoughts and her findings are relevant not only when selecting music but, in general, when developing soundscapes for spaces. She defines repetition in music as “a motif repeated throughout a composition or a favorite song played again and again.” Margulis determined that “’Repetition makes it possible for us to experience a sense of expanded present, characterized not by the explicit knowledge that x will occur at point y, but rather a deja-vu-like sense of orientation and involvement . . .
Walk Score has released its 2013 walkability ratings for cities and neighborhoods, and they’re available at the web address below. Planners will find some of the information included in the related press release (with citations) interesting. For example, “the majority of Americans rate being within a short commute to work and within an easy walk of neighborhood amenities as key criteria when deciding where to live. This trend is even more pronounced amon
Chris Malone and Susan Fiske are the authors of The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies. A central premise of this new book is that our impressions of companies “are the result of spontaneous judgments of warmth and competence – precisely the same elements that drive our impressions of other people . . . . ‘Warmth involves whether we view others to be honest, trustworthy, kind or friendly, while competence relates to whether they seem capable, intelligent or skilled . . .
Recent research confirms that noise, defined as unwanted sound, has a negative influence on us psychologically. Scientists have found that “The combined toll of occupational, recreational and environmental noise exposure poses a serious public health threat going far beyond hearing damage . . . . because of the ubiquitous exposure to environmental and social noise, its public health effect is easily underestimated . . . .