Research Design Connections

Sound Management Tool (10-13-17)

The National Research Council of Canada, Construction Division, has released a new edition of their Guide to Calculating Airborne Sound Transmission in Buildings.  A copy is available free at the web address noted below.  The introduction to the Guide reports that “The International Standards Organization (ISO) has published a calculation method, ISO 15712-1 that uses laboratory test data for sub-assemblies such as walls and floors as inputs for a detailed procedure to calculate the expected sound transmission between adjacent rooms. . . .

Eating in Crowds (10-12-17)

Feeling crowded affects how many calories we consume.  Hock and Barchi determined via six studies that  “crowding increases calorie consumption.  These effects occur because crowding increases distraction, which hampers cognitive thinking and evokes more affective [emotional mental] processing.  When consumers process information affectively, they consume more calories.”  When people are processing information emotionally, if they're “given a choice between several different options, people select and eat higher-calorie items, but when presented with only one option, people eat more of the

Too Big to Miss? (10-11-17)

Research by Eckstein and his team indicates that scale influences perception in intriguing ways.  Eckstein, Koehler, Welbourne, and Akbas found that “Humans often miss giant targets [things they’re looking for] during visual search. . . . Missing giant targets is a functional brain strategy to discount distractors. . . .

Physical Valued More (10-09-17)

Items physically present seem more valuable than digital possessions, according to research completed by Atasoy and Morewedge.  The duo found that “in five experiments, people ascribed less value to digital than to physical versions of the same good.  Research participants paid more for, were willing to pay more for, and were more likely to purchase physical goods than equivalent digital goods, including souvenir photographs, books (fiction and nonfiction), and films. . . .

Standing and Thinking (10-06-17)

Rosenbaum and his colleagues evaluated how our mental performance is influenced by whether we are standing or sitting – their findings have added importance as people are being urged to spend more time standing and changing positions.  The team found that people standing have more cognitive control and that their selective attention systems function more effectively than people who are sitting.  Selective attention is our ability to react to stimuli of particular concern to us when we’re experiencing several different stimuli simultaneously.  In more technical terms: “we examined . . .

Nosenography (10-05-17)

Canniford, Riach, and Hill have coined a new term: “nosenography.”  They report that “Nosenography is a theoretical and methodological commitment to uncover the presences and practices of smell, an often-ignored sensory feature of market and consumption spaces. . . . smell is a dynamic and unruly force that. . . . (i) encodes spatial assemblages with meaning and power, (ii) identifies and directly links people with spaces and (iii) punctuates movements and change in these spaces.

Nature and Time (10-04-17)

How does being in nature influence how quickly time seems to pass?  Davydenko and Peetz found that “an experience in nature can feel longer than the same experience in a man-made environment, independent of actual duration. Participants overestimated the duration of a walk if this walk took them through a nature setting but perceived an equally long walk through an urban setting accurately.

Emotions and Outcomes (10-03-17)

Our emotional state influences our behavior and design can affect our emotional state.  Tamir and Bigman found that “expectations regarding the impact of emotions on behavior can influence the actual impact of emotions on behavior. . . . excited participants were more creative than calm participants when expecting excitement to promote creativity, whereas calm participants were more creative than excited participants when expecting calmness to promote creativity. . . .


Research Conversations


Cognitive science research findings are clear:  being in places that seem spacious is good for us, mentally and physically, and influences our behavior.

WorkplaceSeating NL

Increasing numbers of children and adults are being diagnosed with ADHD.  Design can support the cognitive, emotional, and physical wellbeing of these individuals without compromising the experiences of people who don’t have ADHD. 


Research in the social and physical sciences has shown that the surfaces under our feet have a significant effect on how we think and behave.   

Mirrors clearly and predictably influence space-user experience.

PlaceCoach News Briefs


Culture clues in workplaces


Research to guide policy development

Wisdom to guide design

Big benefits from shared experiences

Location has consequences

Questions to guide decisions

Destinations drive effects

Variations in implementation, consistencies in form

Book Reviews


Read and learn how to create humane spaces for humans

The resource mental/behavioral facility designer/managers have been waiting for

Design at Work


The design of the Moana Surfrider courtyard works because its built elements support and strengthen the seaside’s inherent ability to refresh and restore the people who visit it.