design psychology

Getting People to Sit Less (04-14-16)

Gardner and his team investigated ways researchers have tried to encourage people to sit less.  They found that “Very or quite promising interventions tended to have targeted sedentary behaviour instead of physical activity. Interventions based on environmental restructuring, persuasion, or education were most promising. Self-monitoring, problem solving, and restructuring the social or physical environment were particularly promising behaviour change techniques.”  Providing sit-stand desks was one of the interventions most successful at reducing sitting time.

Workplace Wellness Programs Work (04-13-16)

Designers are often asked to design spaces that support workplace wellness.  New research indicates that efforts to encourage wellness pay off.  Goetzel and his team learned that “Stock performance of C. Everett Koop National Health Award winners . . . was measured over time and compared with the average performance of companies comprising the Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500 Index. The Koop Award portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 Index.

Gardens Prevail! (04-12-16)

Cervinka and colleagues studied the relative restorativeness of several spaces, and their findings have been published in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening.    A related press release states that the team found that when participants in their survey-based study “rated the restorative value of their private lounges, terraces, balconies and gardens. . . .  that gardens are experienced as being significantly more restorative than balconies or terraces [or lounges]. . .

“Territories” and Ideas (04-11-16)

Ideas can be marked and owned, just as territories can.  Brown (one of the leading researchers of physical territories) and Baer have learned that the territorial marking of ideas may not be a good idea.  They share that “Territorial marking allows people to communicate that a territory has been claimed. . . .  the use of control-oriented marking to communicate a territorial claim over one’s ideas inhibits invited creativity.” Verbally indicating ownership of an idea “marks territory” and reduces creative feedback on the thought shared.

Lunchtime Walks Pay Off (04-08-16)

There are clear benefits to getting previously sedentary employees up and walking at lunchtime.  Thogersen-Ntoumani and colleagues completed a study during which “Physically inactive employees [getting less than the recommended amount of exercise per week, average age 48, 93% of the 56 subjects were female] from a large university in the UK. . . . partook in three weekly 30-min lunchtime group-led walks for 10 weeks. . . .

Urban Gardens and Culture (04-06-16)

Urban gardens can support cultural traditions.  Taylor and his team studied urban gardeners in Chicago from African American, Chinese-origin, and Mexican-origin households who were growing crops on their own lots or at vacant lot food gardens.  When plants present were inventoried, the researchers learned that only 9.6% of the species cultivated were native to the Chicago region.  Researchers found, for example, that okra was only gardened by African American participants, only gardeners of Mexican-origin grew tomatillos and bitter melon was only raised by Chinese-origin study participants.

Light and Vision in Kids (04-05-16)

Research conducted in Australia indicates that being in naturally lit spaces is good for children’s vision.  A team from the Queensland University of Technology lead by Scott Read found that “Increasing exposure to outdoor light is the key to reducing the myopia (short-sightedness) epidemic in children. . . . children need to spend more than an hour and preferably at least two hours a day outside to help prevent myopia from developing and progressing.”


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