Research Design Connections

Crowding, Music, Stores (08-30-17)

Can the number of beats per minute (i.e., the tempo) of music being played influence perceptions of crowding in stores?  A research team lead by Knoferle has found that it does: “In non-hedonic [not pleasure focused] settings such as retail stores, high perceived crowding has primarily been associated with negative outcomes such as stress, negative feelings, reduced feelings of control, and reduced spending. . . . Yet, from a shop owner’s perspective, social density [the number of people in an area] is desirable, as more customers typically lead to more sales.. . .

Store Sprawl – Why It Matters (08-29-17)

Sevilla and Townsend investigated links between retail sales and  “’product-to-space ratio’ - how much [retail] space is dedicated to the presentation of each item.”  The researchers report that they “demonstrate that retailers that allocate more space to the presentation of an assortment benefit from positive effects on product valuation, purchase, and even perceived product experience (taste).”

Ownership’s Implications (08-28-17)

Chung and Johar investigated links between feeling ownership of an object and performance of object-related tasks.  They report that “Possessions define who we are (Belk, 1988). . . .Research has found that consumers perceive themselves to possess the same traits as products they feel ownership over (McCracken, 1986) and exhibit product-consistent behaviors (Gino, Norton, & Ariely, 2010). . . .

Photographing’s Effects (08-25-17)

Users and potential users of spaces/objects are often asked to take photos in design-relevant situations and to answer questions about their experiences in the photo’ed scenes.  Research completed by Barasch and her colleagues should inform the analysis of data collected in this way:  “In two field and four lab experiments, we find that taking photos can actually heighten engagement in experiences, which for positive experiences results in increased enjoyment. This is the case even when an experience is visually homogenous, and is not affected by the number of photos taken.


Research Conversations


Humans live better lives around plants – whether those plants are “real” or man made or pictured in artwork.  Research in the sciences makes it clear that our green leafy friends can’t be ignored and shouldn’t be abandoned.


Cognitive scientists have extensively researched how the design of a building can streamline its evacuation.    This article presents the most applicable of their findings.


In the last three years (2015 – 2017) scientists have been busy publishing important new insights on how what we see, hear, touch, and smell influences how we think and behave.  Their most important design-relevant work is reported here. 

Often designing a familiar-seeming sort of environment/object is best, although there are plenty of situations when unusual is a better design direction.   

PlaceCoach News Briefs


Public debate on findings continues


Color gets mainstream attention

Relevant research reviewed by a master

Light intensity affects mood and alertness

Response to art linked to the room

Positive design for the homeless and formerly homeless

Who likes what varies, a lot

Are all seasons created equal?

Book Reviews


Learn more about designing spaces where people do well, mentally and physically

Packed with useful insights  savvy designers can  apply

Design at Work


London’s Design Museum is a marvelous place to spend time and to learn about design's ability to influence our lives.