Enhance Experience

More on Symmetry (03-17-17)

Research by Westphal-Fitch and Fitch confirms that visual symmetry is valued by humans.  They learned that “symmetrical patterns are not only used most frequently in real life . . .  [they] are rated as significantly more attractive than are random patterns.”

Gesche Westphal-Fitch and Tecumseh Fitch.  “Beauty for the Eye of the Beholder:  Plane Pattern Perception and Production.”  Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, in press.

Context and Evaluations (03-09-17)

The way that “hotspots” such as parks or nearby noisy highways influence the evaluation of other spaces, such as homes for sale, has been carefully studied.  Blaison, Gollwitzer, and Hess found that “Irrespective of intrinsic [inherent] neighborhood attractiveness, pleasantness ratings went up with increasing distance from negative hotspots [that noisy highway]. . . . negative hotspots are much more harmful to attractive neighborhoods than to unattractive ones.

Happy Sounds, Sad Sounds (03-02-17)

Sheldon and Donahue’s work confirms that the type of music listened to influences memories recalled.  The researchers found that “if you listen to happy or peaceful music, you recall positive memories, whereas if you listen to emotionally scary or sad music, you recall largely negative memories from your past.” The Sheldon/Donahue study is published in Memory and Cognition.   More details on the study conducted: “participants had 30 seconds to listen to 32 newly composed piano pieces not known to them.

Nature Images During Labor/Delivery (03-01-17)

Seeing images of nature in the labor/delivery room improves the experience of giving birth.  Aburas and her team report that “Incorporating design elements and strategies that calm and reduce negative emotions may create positive experiences for women in labor.”  When images of nature were present during the labor and delivery period, scores were higher on “the Quality of Care From the Patient’s Perspective (QPP) subscale. In addition, there was an increase in the QPP scores associated with the increase in Nature TV watching time, QPP mean of watching time (less than 1 hour) group . . .

Artificial Plants OK (02-27-17)

Blaschke and her colleagues have learned that adding artificial plants to spaces can have desirable outcomes.  Their study was based in an oncology clinic waiting room in Australia and collected data from cancer patients, staff members, and people caring for the cancer patients.  The investigators found that  “Eighty-one percent . . . of respondents noticed the [artificial] green features when first entering the waiting room and 67% . . . noticed they were artificial. Eighty-one percent . . . indicated ‘like/like a lot’ when reporting their first reaction to the green features.

National Culture and Workplace Design (02-22-17)

Grenness’ work indicates the importance of aligning national culture and workplace design.  He reports on research done with Telenor, a Norwegian firm.  In Norway, an open-plan, flexible workplace, that reflected the country’s egalitarian social structure worked well.  This was not the case in areas in Asia.  Regarding the design of its offices outside Norway, Grenness reports that “Based on the interviews, it was fairly obvious that Telenor had not given the issue [of alignment with national culture] much thought.  Its overall strategy was to copy the design of its head office in Norway .

Curved Contours, Sharp Contours, Responses (02-14-17)

Pati and colleagues investigated responses to curved and sharp contours in healthcare environments and gathered some intriguing data.  The team report that “Recent studies in cognitive neuroscience suggest that humans prefer objects with a curved contour compared with objects that have pointed features and a sharp-angled contour.”  During their study  “subjects (representing three age-groups and both sexes) were exposed to a randomized order of 312 real-life images (objects, interiors, exteriors, landscape, and a set of control images).

Good, Small Urban Parks (01-31-17)

Currie studied how the design of small urban parks.  She learned that “Public parks contribute to neighbourhood quality of life, promote a more public daily life, serve as important focal points for neighbourhoods, and provide access to nearby nature as part of the built environment. . . . This research identified design principles that good, small urban parks share – including accessibility, specificity, authenticity, functionality, and adaptability – applicable in smaller cities, towns, and lower density areas.”  


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