design psychology

Public Response to Standing/Activity Research (02-03-17)

A team of British researchers, Gardner, Smith, and Mansfield, studied the general public’s response to research encouraging people to spend less time sitting at work.  Their findings indicate how important it is to effectively communicate with users when environments/objects are, or may be, changed.  The Gardner team report that “In June 2015, an expert consensus guidance statement was published recommending that office workers accumulate 2–4 h of standing and light activity daily and take regular breaks from prolonged sitting.

Customization Effects (02-02-17)

Kaiser, Schreier, and Janiszewski link product customization and enhanced performance.  Their research “demonstrates that the self-expressive customization [this would be a modification that reflects the user’s beliefs, ideas about who they are as a person, membership in a group, etc.] of a product can improve performance on tasks performed using the customized product. Five studies show that the effect is robust across different types of tasks (e.g., persistence tasks, concentration tasks, agility tasks).

Benefits of Signaling Greenness (02-01-17)

Wang, Krishna, and McFerran studied how consumers’ environmentally responsible behavior is affected by the actions of organizations.  They report that “Firms can save considerable money if consumers conserve resources (e.g., if hotel patrons turn off the lights when leaving the room, restaurants patrons use fewer paper napkins, or airline passengers clean up after themselves).”  Data gathered “in real-world hotels . . . show that consumers' conservation behavior is affected by the extent to which consumers perceive the firm as being green. . . .

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.”  

Resident Preferences and Walkability (01-30-17)

Brookfield probed how resident preferences align with neighborhood design elements that have been tied to walkability.  She found, after conducting focus groups with eleven residents’ groups with diverse sets of participants, that “Residents’ groups favoured providing a selection of services and facilities addressing a local need, such as a corner shop, within a walkable distance, but not the immediate vicinity, of housing. . . .

Workplace Losses (01-27-17)

Barnes and Wineman investigated employees’ bonds to their workplaces.  At the 2017 SPSP conference they reported that data were collected in the course of a workplace redesign project: “In a longitudinal study our team examined worker satisfaction, wellbeing, work effectiveness and engagement within workplace environments on a large university campus.  Findings suggest that perception of loss is a predictor of [lower] worker satisfaction and that designing for functional fit does not solve the impact of perceived loss.”

Linking Place and Psychological State (01-26-17)

Ellard and his team reported on their work at the 2016 Psychology of Architecture conference.  They shared that they “have developed a toolkit using specially programmed mobile phones and sensor technology that permits rapid assessment of psychological and physiological responses to place.  Participants in our experiments are led on curated walks while prompted to answer self-assessment questions, complete cognitive tests, and are monitored for physiological arousal and some simple indices of brain activity.  Findings from experiments conducted in five different cities have shown a strong d

Auto-Focus (01-25-17)

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience indicates that we may be quicker to focus our thoughts in some locations than others.  A press release from Duke reports that “We are constantly being bombarded with attention-grabbing distractions, from the flashy shop fronts and advertisements that flank the side of the road to the tempting buzz of the phone during a meeting with the boss.

Taste and Culture (01-24-17)

People designing spaces, objects, and services don’t frequently consider how something tastes, literally, but thinking about flavors can result in useful insights for their work.  As stated on Bloomsbury’s webpage for The Taste Culture Reader, “Taste is recognized as one of the most evocative senses. The flavors of food play an important role in identity, memory, emotion, desire, and aversion, as well as social, religious and other occasions.”

Carolyn Korsmeyer (ed.).  2016.  The Taste Culture Reader:  Experiencing Food and Drink.  Bloomsbury:  New York. 

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