design science

Sitting Up Straight: Benefits (02-10-17)

Research by Wilkes and colleagues confirms the psychological benefits of seats that encourage sitting with good posture.  As the investigators report, research has generally shown that “upright posture improves self-esteem and mood in [psychologically] healthy samples.”  Wilkes and her team studied a group of people “with mild to moderate depression.” Some study participants were asked to sit with good posture and others were not. The researchers found that “The postural manipulation significantly improved posture and increased high arousal positive affect. . . .

NICU Soundscapes (02-09-17)

Pineda and her team studied soundscapes in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).  Working with preterm infants born at 28 weeks or less gestation, placed either in private rooms or in open wards, the researchers learned that “There was [significantly] more silence in the private room . . . than the open ward, with an average of 1.9 hours more silence in a 16-hour period. . . .

Older Adults Living Apart Together (02-08-17)

Benson and Coleman have found that more older adults are choosing to “live apart together;” this new way of “co-habitating” has repercussions for home design, for example.  As a press release related to the Benson/Coleman research details,  “Since 1990, the divorce rate among adults 50 years and older has doubled. This trend, along with longer life expectancy, has resulted in many adults forming new partnerships later in life. A new phenomenon called ‘Living Apart Together’ (LAT)—an intimate relationship without a shared residence—is gaining popularity as an alternative form of commitment.

Sounds and Shapes (02-07-17)

A team lead by Hung confirmed that particular sorts of sounds are linked to certain shapes; their work is useful to people naming products and places, for example.  The research by Hung, Styles, and Hsieh, published in Psychological Science, indicates that  “Our tendency to match specific sounds with specific shapes, even abstract shapes, is so fundamental that it guides perception before we are consciously aware of it. . . .

East: West Creativity (02-06-17)

Liou and Lan investigated “cultural differences in creative behaviors.”  They report that “Western norms prioritize originality and Eastern norms usefulness. . . . Compared with Taiwanese, Americans generated more original ideas when they worked in a group or when the task required them to select ideas for further elaboration. . . . In contrast, compared with Americans, Taiwanese generated more useful ideas when they worked in a group or when the task required them to select ideas for further elaboration. . . .

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. . . .

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