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Older People and Distractions (07-16-14)

People designing spaces where older adults can be expected to do cognitive work, for example, fill out medical forms, must make certain those areas are free of sensory distractions.  A team from Rice and Johns Hopkins reports that  “Older people are nearly twice as likely as their younger counterparts to have their memory and cognitive processes impaired by environmental distractions.” Two groups of people participated in this study; a set whose average age was 21 (with individual ages ranging from 18 to 32) and another with an average age of 71 (ranging between 64 and 82). 

Differences in Preferred Home Design (04-23-14)

The National Association of Home Builders rigorously assessed how people of different ethnicities but with the same type of household, age, and income level felt about home design.  They determined that “Most buyers of all racial/ethnic groups want an open kitchen-family room arrangement. . . . Compared to White buyers, significantly higher shares of the three minority groups [African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics] consider the dining room essential. . . . There is no consensus on the need for a living room. White buyers are evenly split . . .

Working All Night (03-31-14)

Scent has almost magical effects on the way our minds work.  Ritter and his team have learned that when we smell the same odor while sleeping that we did when we started to work on a problem, we develop more creative solutions (i.e., ones that are both more novel and useful) to that problem.  It’s relatively easy to make sure that you smell the same smell while working and sleeping – a common essential oil can be placed both in your bedroom and your office.  In the words of the researchers: “we investigate[d] whether one can actively enhance the beneficial effect of sleep on

Homeownership and Life Satisfaction (03-21-14)

Environmental psychology research consistently indicates the value of having a home territory and Research Design Connections has previously reported on the benefits of having a place we feel we control in this article.  Zumbro’s research confirms that the relationship between having a home and life satisfaction remains strong.  Doing research in Germany, he found that there is “a positive relationship between homeownership and life satisfaction. . . .