Framework for Reaction to Place

Mortality and Green Spaces (06-14-17)

Women living in greener spaces have lower mortality rates.  James and his colleagues report that “Green, natural environments may ameliorate adverse environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution, noise, and extreme heat), increase physical activity and social engagement, and lower stress. . . . Using data from the U.S.-based Nurses’ Health Study prospective cohort, we defined cumulative average time-varying seasonal greenness surrounding each participant’s address using satellite imagery. . . .We followed 108,630 women and observed 8,604 deaths between 2000 and 2008. . . .

Seeing the Coast and Feeling Pain (06-13-17)

Tanja-Dijkstra and her colleagues linked seeing coastal scenes via virtual reality and experiencing less pain (even during dental treatments such as tooth extractions and fillings).  They report that “Virtual reality (VR) distraction has become increasingly available in health care contexts and is used in acute pain management. However, there has been no systematic exploration of the importance of the content of VR environments. Two studies tested how interacting with nature VR influenced experienced and recollected [remembered] pain after 1 week. . . .

Humans' Preference for Shiny Finishes (06-09-17)

Research by Silvia and his team confirms that people prefer shiny objects to matte ones.   Silvia and colleagues share that “Researchers in the evolutionary aesthetics tradition have suggested that people prefer shiny objects because glossiness connotes water. We . . . present an experiment that manipulated the glossiness of metal objects. Young adults . . . viewed silver coins that were either dull or in ‘brilliant uncirculated’ condition as well as copper cylinders that were either rough and tarnished, polished with a brushed surface, or polished with a mirror finish.

Commuting and Control and Wellbeing (06-07-17)

Smith’s work verifies that having a comfortable level of control over our lives increases our wellbeing and it also supports adding bicycle storage rooms to office buildings.  Smith found that “Active travelers are happiest with their commute trips. . . .For car and transit commuters, traffic congestion significantly decreases commute well-being and using the trip productively increases commute well-being . . . Data were collected from a web-based survey of workers . . . in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. with four modal groups: walk, bicycle, transit and car users. . . .

Organizational Change Stressful (05-30-17)

Often workplaces are redesigned during periods of organizational change and research released by the American Psychological Association indicates that organizational change can be very stressful.  Workplaces can be designed to defuse at least some of that stress and the knowledge that it is present should inform the interpretation of research data, for example, information collected in the course of a post-occupancy evaluation.  The APA press release reports that “American adults who have been affected by change at work are more likely to report chronic work stress, less likely to trust the

Touch and Consumer Behavior (05-26-17)

Streicher and Estes gathered evidence indicating that haptic, or touch-related, experiences have a significant effect on consumer behavior.  They report that  “Consumers often touch products before reaching purchase decisions, and indeed touch improves evaluations of the given product. . . . We show that grasping a . . . product increases . . . the likelihood of choosing [a haptically similar; “haptic” means ”touch”] product. . . . We also show that visually crowded rather than sparse product displays increase the effect of touch on choosing other haptically similar products. . .

What We See (05-24-17)

New research confirms that people from different national cultures vary in how they perceive their physical worlds.  The specific findings of the study discussed here are not as important as the determination that cultural variations exist. A research team lead by Yoshiyuki Ueda of Kyoto University reports that “an ability to perceive differences between similar images depends on the cultural background of the viewer. Scientists have long recognized that the mental processes behind thinking and reasoning differ between people raised in Western and Eastern cultures.

More on Moving and Wellbeing (05-19-17)

Panza and his team investigated links between levels of physical activity and wellbeing.  They learned that “light-intensity physical activity [was] positively associated with [subjective] psychological well-being . . . and negatively associated with depression . . . moderate intensity negatively associated with pain severity . . . and positively associated with psychological well-being; sedentary behavior negatively associated with psychological well-being and positively associated with depression. . . .

Active Symbols (05-18-17)

Awad’s research indicates that the symbols present in urban environments continually evolve and that different groups have varying relationships with them.  As she states, “Our urban environment is filled with symbols in the form of images, text, and structures that embody certain narratives about the past. Once those symbols are introduced into the city space they take a life span of their own in a continuous process of reproduction and reconstruction by different social actors.

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