Research Design Connections

Success and Choices Made (09-22-17)

Success and selecting luxurious options have been linked by Wu and his team.  They report that “Conspicuous consumption refers to the phenomenon where individuals purchase goods for signaling social status, rather than for its inherent functional value. . . .  Winning a [social] competition increased . . . preferences for higher-status vs. lower-status products.”  All participants in the study by Wu and colleagues were male and an example of conspicuous consumption is buying an expensive sports car.

Color Names and Color Use (09-21-17)

Gibson and his team studied the how languages communicate color information.  They learned that “Across languages, from the hunter-gatherer Tsimane' people of the Amazon to students in Boston, warm colors are communicated more efficiently than cool colors. This cross-linguistic pattern reflects the color statistics of the world: Objects (what we talk about) are typically warm-colored, and backgrounds are cool-colored. Communicative needs also explain why the number of color terms varies across languages: Cultures vary in how useful color is.

Failing to Support Walking (09-19-17)

The National Walking and Walkable Communities Report Card has been issued.  It seems that the United States may need some remedial tutoring: “The United States earns failing grades when it comes to the number of people walking to work and school plus the number of walkable communities. . . . The U.S. earned an “F” for children and youth walking behavior, safety, public transportation, institutional policies and pedestrian infrastructure. It earned a “D” for walkable neighborhoods and pedestrian policies. It got a “C” for adult walking behavior. . .

Film Sets => Interior Design (09-18-17)

Whitehead ties interior design, generally, to the design of film sets.  As the material at his publisher’s website states: his “book sets out to explore the creation of interior atmosphere as seen through the lens of mise-en-scène. [Readers] learn how this film theory informs the concept of 'staged space' translated through the narrative and expressive qualities of a particular scene. Jean Whitehead . . . takes this concept beyond the screen and considers its application to the interior 'setting'.

Standing and Performance (09-15-17)

Finch and her colleagues assessed how standing influences reading comprehension and creativity.  They report on the findings of their lab experiment:  study “participants completed reading comprehension and creativity tasks while both sitting and standing. Participants self-reported their mood during the tasks and also responded to measures of expended effort and task difficulty. . . . body position did not affect reading comprehension or creativity performance, nor did it affect perceptions of effort or [task] difficulty. . . .

Beware of Too Much Workplace Standing (09-13-17)

Multiple recent studies report that sitting too long at work can be dangerous; new research by Smith and his team indicates that too much standing at work can also be harmful.  Workplace options that encourage people to sit, stand, move, and change position are advantageous.  Data collected over 12 years for 7320 employed Canadians 35 years old or older, who were free of heart disease when the study began, were examined.  The researchers determined that “Occupations involving predominantly standing were associated with an approximately two-fold risk of heart disease compared to occupations

Personal Space Invasions (09-12-17)

Lewis and her team researched personal space invasions in airplanes.  Their findings indicate there are several ways we can invade each other’s space: “The invasion of personal space is often a contributory factor to the experience of discomfort in aircraft passengers. . . . the results of this study indicate that the invasion of personal space is not only caused by physical factors (e.g.


Research Conversations


Researchers have learned a lot about how the colors on surfaces and in light affect what we think and do.  This article lays out what brain scientists know about the cognitive, emotional, and physical consequences of seeing specific colors.


In many cases, the same spaces and objects are used by both men and women.  But not always. When one gender will be a heavier user of a space or object than another, it's important to apply research detailing the differences in the ways that men and women live best in their physical worlds.


Sometimes metaphors are more than just quick-off-the-lips verbal expressions—they are linked in fundamental ways to physical experiences.  Knowing that these ties can exist makes developing design solutions that resonate with users in a positive way more likely.   

Non-designers and designers often have different opinions of, and experiences using, the same objects/spaces.  Research sheds light on these differences and their origins.

PlaceCoach News Briefs


For some, different is delightful


Weirder can be wonderful

People are likely to be more forthcoming with info in some spaces than others

Choices depend on what we think about ourselves

People on urban streets can feel secure, even at night

Labels influence viewing experience

Options have psychological value

Book Reviews


New and useful insights on a well-researched topic

A scholarly review of how emotions, art, and real world experiences are linked

Design at Work


As the world becomes an increasingly contentious place, people need to spend more time with their pets, at home and away from home.