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Advantages of No-Drive Commutes (09-10-14)

Health economists have identified a link between not driving to work and better mental health.  A press release from the University of East Anglia reports that “Walking or cycling to work is better for people's mental health than driving to work.  . . . people who stopped driving and started walking or cycling to work benefited from improved wellbeing [note, study participants changed their mode of travel to work]. In particular, active commuters felt better able to concentrate and were less under strain than if they travelled by car.

Inclusive Kitchen Design (08-25-14)

Maguire and his teammates have comprehensively assessed ergonomics-related problems experienced by people over 60 in their home kitchens.  Their full report is available free at the web address noted below.  Highlights of their study:  “personal problems with reaching, bending, dexterity and sight were more likely to be experienced with increasing age while for specific tasks, ironing and cleaning created the most difficulty.”

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.”

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.

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.