Feeling nostalgic can influence how warm a person thinks a room is and people in cooler places can be more nostalgic. Researchers have found that when study participants were asked to sit “in one of three rooms: cold (20˚C), comfortable (24˚C) and hot (28˚C) . . . Participants felt more nostalgic in the cold room than in the comfortable and hot rooms.
Ramesh reports on happiness research in a recent edition of The Guardian. As Ramesh describes, “Deprived areas of the country do not contain the unhappiest citizens, research by the government revealed as official statistics showed that one in eight people were struggling to manage financially during the economic slowdown.
Recent research has confirmed the importance of providing surgery patients with opportunities to hear soothing sounds during their procedures. A study reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology indicates “the use of an audio therapy known as binaural beats can significantly reduce patients' anxiety during cataract surgery . . . .
Veitch reports conclusions drawn from a review of research related to in-home windows: “NRC [National Research Council Canada] identified three processes by which windows and skylights in homes might influence health and well-being: light dose, view, and architectural aesthetics.
Recent research at Johns Hopkins confirms previous research linking negative outcomes to human experience of light at night (i.e., http://researchdesignconnections.com/content/more-evidence-problems-ligh...). Samer Hattar from Johns Hopkins found that “When people routinely burn the midnight oil, they risk suffering depression and learning issues, and not only because of lack of sleep.
Researchers from the University of Utrecht (Semin, de Groot, Smeets, Kaldewaij, and Duijndam) have confirmed that humans use chemical signals to communicate emotional states to other humans. Their research has important implications for design since it reinforces the value of co-location and in-person meetings. As a related press release from the Association for Psychological Science, which published this study, states, “Semin and colleagues wanted . . . to examine the role of chemosignals in social communication.
Nugent provides many practical suggestions for the design of residential common areas that college students are likely to use. For example: “Students want to see and be seen. Common areas that are open to, and visible from, the main entry and circulation route draw students in. Likewise, open spaces are far more likely to be active social spaces than closed rooms. Any level of barrier diminishes the likelihood that a student will enter the space and engage in activities.
Many recent workplace design projects encourage work outside company owned/rented office buildings and the increasing number of distributed teams means that some work groups have little or no face-to-face contact with each other.
Adolescents seem to be chronically sleep deprived and new research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute provides information about how light in schools and homes can be used to counter that condition.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have investigated “how short noise bursts affect humans’ mental state,” playing “quarter-second long white noise clips . . . as [test subjects] worked on arithmetic problems.”