design psychology

Implications of Diagonals (10-06-16)

Whether a diagonal line seems to go up or down as it moves to the right has psychological repercussions.  Schlosser and colleagues learned via “four experimental studies and a content analysis” that  “diagonal direction can convey different levels of activity with upward—or ascending—diagonals conveying greater activity and effort than downward—or descending—diagonals.”  Their research focused on use of diagonals in marketing and sales situations and they share that “when the context highlights the benefits of activity (vs. passivity), upward (vs.

Analysis of Creativity (10-05-16)

Jordanous and Keller were interested in learning more about creativity.  So, they applied “techniques from the field of statistical natural language processing” to “identify a collection of fourteen key components of creativity.”  As a result “a number of distinct themes emerge, which collectively contribute to a comprehensive and multi-perspective model of creativity.”  The researchers have already applied their work with these components to assess creativity.  The fourteen key components of creativity identified by Jordanous and Keller are:  active involvement and persistence; dealing wit

Trees Are Social (10-04-16)

The depictions of trees found in some fairy tales, as social beings that communicate among themselves, seems to be based in reality.  Wohlleben reports on scientific research indicating that forests are social networks.  Trees help each other out during difficult times when one or another may be struggling for survival by sharing nutrients, for example.  Trees also seem to warn each other of dangerous situations.  Wohlleben’s insights shed new light on forest management and landscape architecture, generally.

Trust and Information Sources (10-03-16)

Designers are regularly asked to create objects and spaces that may help build trust among users.  Research indicates that encouraging trust via design faces new challenges.  Kushlev and Proulx report that “Using data from a large nationally representative survey (World Values Survey: Wave 6), we found that the more people relied on their mobile phones for information, the less they trusted strangers, neighbors and people from other religions and nationalities.

Perception Beats Reality, Again (09-29-16)

There’s more evidence that perceptions of situations can trump reality.  Orstad and her team found after they “systematically searched three databases for studies that examined agreement between perceived and objective measures and/or associations between comparable variables and physical activity. . . . [that] Perceived neighborhood environment variables were significantly associated with physical activity . . . at slightly higher rates than objective neighborhood environment variables.”

Better Housing, A Negative Effect (09-28-16)

Vaid and Evans have learned that all of the repercussions of moving to “better” housing are not necessarily positive.  As they detail, “Slum rehabilitation programs in economically developing countries are designed to improve housing and enhance residents’ health and well-being.”  During their study “Housing quality was assessed by trained raters on a walk-through among women in public housing as well as those currently in slums on wait-lists to relocate to public housing.

Ownership and Actions (09-26-16)

Work by Constable and her team sheds light on how our social world influences how we act in the physical one.   As they report “Participants passed mugs that differed in ownership status across a table to a partner [who was a friend]. We found that participants oriented handles less toward their partners when passing their own mugs than when passing mugs owned by their partners . . . and mugs owned by the experimenter. . . .


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