sensory science

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.

Pre-Crastination and Design (08-01-14)

Rosenbaum and his team have developed the concept of pre-crastination, and their work may help designers better understand how spaces and objects are used.  The term “pre-crastinate” is used “to refer to the hastening of subgoal [intermediate] completion, even at the expense of extra physical effort.”  The effect was “discovered while conducting experiments on walking and reaching. We asked university students to pick up either of two buckets. . . and to carry the selected bucket to the alley’s end. In most trials, one of the buckets was closer to the end point.

Repercussions of Sound Tempo (07-31-14)

Humans complete activities at speeds related to the tempo of sounds they’re listening to.  Kuribayashi and Nittono report that “Hearing fast-tempo music in the background is shown to affect the pace of motor behavior.” The researchers  “investigated how tempo influences behavioral pace in a simple perceptual-motor task in which participants heard background sound sequences (30, 60, 120, 180, and 240 bpm [beats per minute]) . . . . When sound sequences changed from slower to faster tempi (that is, ascending series), behavioral pace accelerated.

Presence of Mobile Devices an Issue (07-30-24)

Misra and her team have learned that if a mobile device  (defined as a smartphone, cell phone, laptop, tablet, or similar item) is visible (for example, because it’s on a table top or in someone’s hand) during a conversation, the quality of discussion among people present deteriorates.  Data were collected in Washington, DC area coffee shops.  These findings indicate the value of banning phones, laptops, etc., from meetings and also should spur the development and use of furnishings that keep these items out of view during discussions.  Specifically, the research team fo

Kid Travel (07-29-14)

Urban planners creating child-supportive spaces can apply research completed by Loebach and Gilliland.  Children 9 to 13 years old wore Global Positioning System loggers for 7 days as data were collected during the Loebach/Gilliland study.  Researchers were investigating the “children’s pedestrian-based neighborhood activity: the maximum distance traveled from home.”  The information gathered indicated that “Participants spent a large portion of their out-of-school time (75%) in their NAS [neighborhood activity space].

Nurses and Design (07-28-14)

Readers familiar with environment-behavior research will not be surprised to learn that researchers have determined that the design of the spaces where they work influences nurses’ job satisfaction.