Research Design Connections
Ellard directs the Urban Realities Laboratory at the University of Waterloo. He reports that some of his Laboratory’s research findings include: “Street-level facades that are low in visual complexity not only cause participants to self-report lower levels of interest and pleasure, but their levels of autonomic arousal become low. The biometric signature of a low-complexity street looks very much like the signature shown by participants in laboratory studies who are experiencing states of boredom.” Also, “Immersion in greenspace in cities, even when it is modest (a community garden in t
A recently published study indicates that nature images in a space and being in nature do more than just help people restock their mental processing power and de-stress. Swami and team found that “exposure to images of natural, but not built, environments resulted in improved state body image. . . . [and a] walk in a natural environment resulted in significantly higher state body appreciation [a feature of positive body image], whereas [a] walk in a built environment resulted in significantly lower scores. . . .
New research indicates the best sorts of exercise opportunities to provide to employees and other groups. A press release from the British Psychological Society, reporting on the work of John Hackston, states that “The effectiveness of someone’s exercise regime may depend on their individual personality type. . . . [data collected via surveys determined that] people with extraverted personality types were more likely to prefer exercising at the gym.
A research team lead by Siu indicates that children and adults have similar associations to the color red. This research is important because as Siu and colleagues indicate “Color has been identified as a key consideration in ergonomics. Color conveys messages and is an important element in safety signs, as it provides extra information to users.” The researchers report that while previous studies have shown that adults link red with “hazard/hazardous,” their research indicates that children 7 to 11 years old associate red with “don’t.” This information means that the color red is a good
Whitby links environmental design and positive experiences for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). She reports that “Inclusive design enhances environmental competency and removes barriers to enable people to interact with their surroundings in the way they want to. Two disorders that can affect people's environmental competency are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This scoping study found that interpersonal interactions were a key barrier to their use of public buildings.
Kuo and her team have learned that outdoor teaching sessions have positive implications after students return to their indoor classrooms. The researchers report that “Using carefully matched pairs of lessons (one in a relatively natural outdoor setting and one indoors), we observed subsequent classroom engagement during an indoor instructional period. .
Research completed by Lingwood, Blades, Farran, Courbois, and Matthews indicates that children may be better at finding their way through spaces than previously believed, which has repercussions for the design of spaces frequented by children, for example. The Lingwood-lead team “investigated whether children could learn a route after only a single experience of the route. A total of 80 participants from the United Kingdom in . . . groups of . . . 8-year-olds, 10-year-olds, 12-year-olds, and adults were shown a route through a 12-turn maze in a virtual environment.
Data collected via a smartphone app confirms that there are psychological benefits to nearby nature. A press release issued by Kings College reports that Bakolis, Hammond, Smythe, Gibbons, Davidson, Tognin, and Mechelli found that among people in cities “(i) being outdoors, seeing trees, hearing birdsong, seeing the sky, and feeling in contact with nature were associated with higher levels of mental wellbeing, and that (ii) the beneficial effects of nature were especially evident in those individuals with greater levels of impulsivity who are at greater risk of mental health issues [higher
O’Hara and her team investigated macrocognition in pediatric intensive care units. Macrocognition is a scientific term for thinking done in the real world by real people; the alternative is thinking that study participants do in laboratories. For more on macrocognition, see this brief article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrocognition