sensory science

Walking and Urban Design (10-14-16)

A study lead by Rioux in France provides additional insights into how urban design can influence walking.  The researchers compared “walking patterns in two neighborhoods with different numbers of parks; parks did not differ in rated attractiveness nor did neighborhoods differ substantially in rated walkability.”  Data were collected from people 32 to 86 years old.  When these individuals “drew their 3 most recent walking routes on maps of their neighborhood.

Gait and Experience (10-13-16)

Research by Dobricki and Pauli confirms that the experience of walking through a space, literally, affects emotional response to it.  As the team details “we asked healthy humans to explore a life-sized Virtual Reality simulation of a forest glade by physically walking around in this environment on two narrow rectangular platforms connected by a plank.”  Some participants felt that they were walking on a rigid surface, but for others the ground underfoot seemed “bouncy.” When the virtual environment projections gave the impression that people in the study were high off the ground and walkin

Cities Similar, Now and Then (10-12-16)

An article published in PLoS ONE indicates that medieval and modern cities are more similar than you might think.  Cesaretti, Lobo, Bettencourt, Ortman, and Smith have found that “a new look at medieval cities’ population sizes and distributions suggest that some urban characteristics have remained remarkably consistent. . . .in both medieval and modern European cities, larger settlements have predictably higher population densities than smaller cities. . . .

Nature Images and Aggression (10-11-16)

Poon and his teammates have determined that nature images can be used to combat aggression; their findings can be applied in a range of spaces where aggressive activities might be anticipated.  As they report “Prior studies have consistently shown that ostracism promotes aggression. The present research investigated the role of nature in reducing aggressive responses following ostracism. Three studies provided . . . support to the prediction that nature exposure can weaken the relationship between ostracism and aggression.

Regret and Temperature (10-07-16)

Feeling regret for taking a particular action leads people to prefer particular temperatures.  Rotman, Lee, and Perkins found that “experiencing action regret - regret that leads to a negative outcome that results from one’s active choice creates the feeling of warmth, that the individual then is motivated to reduce. Individuals experiencing action regret feel more self-conscious emotions - shame, guilt, embarrassment, and remorse – which have been linked to warmth (e.g. blushing). . . . . individuals perceive the room to be warmer after recalling a situation of action regret. . .

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.


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