design research

Park Walks, Relaxation Exercises, and Office Worker Tension (03-15-17)

Research collected from Finnish knowledge workers indicates that both taking a walk in nature at lunchtime and doing relaxation exercises over lunch have about the same effect on how tense employees feel after lunch.  Building spaces that support relaxation exercises, and teaching those exercises to employees, could be a viable alternative to developing nature-based experiences in many locations.

Environmental Control: Repercussions (03-14-17)

Shahzad and her team studied some of the implications of user control over temperature in their work areas.  The investigators “compared a workplace, which was designed entirely based on individual control over the thermal environment, to an environment that limited thermal control was provided as a secondary option for fine-tuning: Norwegian cellular and British open plan offices. The Norwegian approach provided each user with control over a window, door, blinds, heating and cooling as the main thermal control system.

Neighborhood Design, Physical Activity, and Wellbeing (03-13-17)

Zuniga-Teran and her team have extensively investigated how neighborhood design influences physical activity and wellbeing.  They studied “four types of neighborhood designs: traditional development [these include homes and accessible commercial spaces], suburban development, enclosed [gated] community, and cluster housing development [which generally preserve natural/green spaces and include townhouse-type homes], and assess their level of walkability and their effects on physical activity and wellbeing. . . . traditional development showed . . .

Context and Evaluations (03-09-17)

The way that “hotspots” such as parks or nearby noisy highways influence the evaluation of other spaces, such as homes for sale, has been carefully studied.  Blaison, Gollwitzer, and Hess found that “Irrespective of intrinsic [inherent] neighborhood attractiveness, pleasantness ratings went up with increasing distance from negative hotspots [that noisy highway]. . . . negative hotspots are much more harmful to attractive neighborhoods than to unattractive ones.

Light at Night (03-08-17)

Bedrosian and Nelson studied how being exposed to light at night influences wellbeing and mood.  They share that “Many systems are under circadian control, including sleep–wake behavior, hormone secretion, cellular function and gene expression. Circadian disruption by nighttime light perturbs those processes and is associated with increasing incidence of certain cancers, metabolic dysfunction and mood disorders. . . .

Seasonal Playlists (03-07-17)

Krause and North researched how music-playlist preferences vary by time of year.  They report that “The literature concerning seasonal correlates of mood and behavior suggests that colder weather is associated with low activity and a reflective cognitive style, whereas warmer weather is associated with higher activity levels. Analyses of the season-based music-playlist preferences of 402 participants . . .

Ways of Discussing Colors (03-03-17)

Think that the ways that cultures discuss colors don’t change or that all cultures speak about the color spectrum in the same way?  Think again.  An article in the Journal of Vision, reports that an analysis of color terms used by modern Japanese speakers determined that they utilized  “the 11 basic color categories common to most modern industrialized cultures (red, green, blue, yellow, purple, pink, brown, orange, white, gray and black). . . .

Happy Sounds, Sad Sounds (03-02-17)

Sheldon and Donahue’s work confirms that the type of music listened to influences memories recalled.  The researchers found that “if you listen to happy or peaceful music, you recall positive memories, whereas if you listen to emotionally scary or sad music, you recall largely negative memories from your past.” The Sheldon/Donahue study is published in Memory and Cognition.   More details on the study conducted: “participants had 30 seconds to listen to 32 newly composed piano pieces not known to them.

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