sensory science

Experiencing Dynamic Lighting (04-28-17)

Pedersen and Johansson investigated how motion activated street lights influence pedestrian behavior.  They found that participants in their study of motion activated lights in a simulated outdoor environment “walked significantly slower under [initially] dimmed than static lighting conditions, even after the illuminance had increased. . . . The effect was seen both before and after the increase to full light.

Another Reason to Design to Encourage Stairway Use (04-27-17)

Using the stairs instead of an elevator helps us keep trim and saves energy—and stairway design and placement, for instance, can boost the likelihood we’ll take the stairs.  New research supplies another reason to encourage stair use via design – we feel energized after walking up and down stairs.  Investigators have found that “10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine-about the equivalent to the amount in a can of soda. . . . [Patrick J.

Vacant Lots and Crime (04-25-17)

A study published in Applied Geography links well-kept vacant lots and lower crime levels.  Researchers found that “Maintaining the yards of vacant properties helps reduce crime rates in urban neighborhoods.”  Data were collected over 9 years in Flint, Michigan:   “’We’ve always had a sense that maintaining these properties helps reduce crime and the perception of crime,’ said Christina Kelly, the land bank’s [Genesee County Land Bank Authority] planning and neighborhood revitalization director.

Millennials and Workplaces (04-24-17)

Millennial leaders’ responses to workplaces were investigated via a recent study.  A podcast sponsored by Wharton featured Ron Williams and Rebecca Ray; Williams and Ray, who are both executives with The Conference Board, discussed research that group did with Millennial leaders.  The introduction to the transcript of part of that podcast reports that investigators determined that these Millennials “are more like the older generation than originally thought, and the current differences are mainly due to the life stage that they are in.”  Ray states that “Millennial leaders don’t necessarily

Walkability and Foreclosures (04-21-17)

Won, Lee, and Li studied links between walkability and foreclosure spillover effects (such as property prices declining near foreclosures).  They determined that “property values in walkable neighborhoods were less subject to foreclosure spillover, but this was only significant for middle/high-income neighborhoods. Walkable neighborhoods were shown to offer more advantages in maintaining neighborhood stability during the recovery of 2013 than in the market crash of 2010.

More Information on the Energizing Effects of Blue Light (04-20-17)

A team lead by Heo has found more evidence that seeing blue light, particularly at night, is energizing.  The researchers “investigated the immediate effects of smartphone blue light LED on humans at night. . . . Each subject played smartphone games with either conventional LED or suppressed blue light from 7:30 to 10:00PM (150 min). Then, they were readmitted and conducted the same procedure with the other type of smartphone. . . . use of blue light smartphones was associated with significantly decreased sleepiness . . . and confusion-bewilderment . . . and increased commission error.”

Bin Placement Affects Recycling and Composting Behavior (04-19-17)

DiGiacomo lead a study that assessed how the location of recycling and composting bins influences their use.  Details: “[the researchers] placed bins in three different locations: a garbage disposal area (the least convenient option), at the base of an elevator in a building (a more convenient option), and by elevator doors on each floor (the most convenient option). The experiments were carried out at three multi-family apartment buildings in Vancouver’s west side neighbourhood and in two student residence buildings at UBC. . . .

Healthy to the Left (04-18-17)

Romero and Biswas learned that to encourage consumption, healthier options should be placed to the left of unhealthier ones.  Their work determined that “displaying healthy items to the left (vs. right) of unhealthy items enhances preference for the healthy options. In addition, consumption volume of a healthy item (vis-à-vis an unhealthy item) is higher when it is placed to the left (vs. right) of the unhealthy item. We propose that a ‘healthy-left, unhealthy-right’ (vs.

Communicating by Smell (04-17-17)

De Groot, Semin, and Smeets provide additional information about how scents influence how we interact with each other.  Since current, generally available, technologies do not support human communication via smells, face-to-face meetings will remain important for the foreseeable future.  As de Groot and his team report “Humans use multiple senses to navigate the social world, and the sense of smell is arguably the most underestimated one.  An intriguing aspect of the sense of smell is its social communicative function.  Research has shown that human odors convey information about a range of

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