Pedersen and Johansson investigated how motion activated street lights influence pedestrian behavior. They found that participants in their study of motion activated lights in a simulated outdoor environment “walked significantly slower under [initially] dimmed than static lighting conditions, even after the illuminance had increased. . . . The effect was seen both before and after the increase to full light.
Framework for Reaction to Place
DiGiacomo lead a study that assessed how the location of recycling and composting bins influences their use. Details: “[the researchers] placed bins in three different locations: a garbage disposal area (the least convenient option), at the base of an elevator in a building (a more convenient option), and by elevator doors on each floor (the most convenient option). The experiments were carried out at three multi-family apartment buildings in Vancouver’s west side neighbourhood and in two student residence buildings at UBC. . . .
Romero and Biswas learned that to encourage consumption, healthier options should be placed to the left of unhealthier ones. Their work determined that “displaying healthy items to the left (vs. right) of unhealthy items enhances preference for the healthy options. In addition, consumption volume of a healthy item (vis-à-vis an unhealthy item) is higher when it is placed to the left (vs. right) of the unhealthy item. We propose that a ‘healthy-left, unhealthy-right’ (vs.
De Groot, Semin, and Smeets provide additional information about how scents influence how we interact with each other. Since current, generally available, technologies do not support human communication via smells, face-to-face meetings will remain important for the foreseeable future. As de Groot and his team report “Humans use multiple senses to navigate the social world, and the sense of smell is arguably the most underestimated one. An intriguing aspect of the sense of smell is its social communicative function. Research has shown that human odors convey information about a range of
Research by Wu and his team identified new links between aesthetics and use. They determined that “While prior research suggests enhanced aesthetics should have a uniformly positive influence on pre-usage evaluations and choice, the present research examines the downstream effects of nondurable product aesthetics on consumption behavior and post-consumption affect [mood]. . . .
Zohar-Shai and Tzelgov confirmed that our mental number line (MNL) runs from left to right with smaller values to the left. They share that “Several studies . . . have reported [findings indicating] that. . . the ‘mental number line’ extends from left to right. The . . . effect has been found mainly in native speakers of Germanic/Romanic languages; it has been suggested that the . . . effect may derive from the experience of reading from left to right. . . . we provide the first demonstration of a horizontal, left-to-right . . . effect in native speakers of Hebrew. . . .
Halali and colleagues learned that just thinking about temperature has a serious effect on how our brains work. After the researchers got people thinking about temperature, by, for example, showing them various landscapes “associated with cool vs. warm temperatures [and asking them to imagine themselves in the location shown] . . . . cool compared to warm temperatures lead to improved performance on . . .
Bellezza, Paharia, and Keinan found that people link appearing busy with perceived higher status, at least in American workplaces. Their findings indicate that it may be desirable to eliminate visual shielding around some busy people, in the US, for example, those doing work that doesn’t require them to focus. The Bellezza team determined that “Americans increasingly perceive busy and overworked people as having high status. . . . the authors conducted a series of studies, drawing participants mostly from Italy and the US.
Altmann and David Hambrick confirm that mental interruptions can impede performance. They report that “As steps of a procedure are performed more quickly, memory for past performance . . . become less accurate, increasing the rate of skipped or repeated steps after an interruption. We found this effect, with practice generally improving speed and accuracy, but impairing accuracy after interruptions. . . .
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.