Research Design Connections

Virtual Reality, Mood, and Feeling Mentally Refreshed (03-24-17)

Schutte and her team have learned that time spent in virtual reality nature, compared to time spent in virtual reality urban spaces, can lead to better moods.  Also, people who experience virtual reality nature believe that they are more refreshed mentally (in other words, that they are more cognitively restored) after spending time there than the people placed in the virtual urban places.  The researchers immersed users in 360-degree natural or urban interactive virtual environments and learned that “Virtual reality experience of a natural environment compared to virtual reality experience

Thinking About Temperature: Consequences (03-23-17)

Halali and colleagues learned that just thinking about temperature has a serious effect on how our brains work.  After the researchers got people thinking about temperature, by, for example, showing them various landscapes “associated with cool vs. warm temperatures [and asking them to imagine themselves in the location shown] . . . . cool compared to warm temperatures lead to improved performance on . . .

Designing Observed Busyness into US Workplaces (03-22-17)

Bellezza, Paharia, and Keinan found that people link appearing busy with perceived higher status, at least in American workplaces.  Their findings indicate that it may be desirable to eliminate visual shielding around some busy people, in the US, for example, those doing work that doesn’t require them to focus.  The Bellezza team determined that “Americans increasingly perceive busy and overworked people as having high status. . . . the authors conducted a series of studies, drawing participants mostly from Italy and the US.

More Evidence Interruptions Are Undesirable (03-21-17)

Altmann and David Hambrick confirm that mental interruptions can impede performance.  They report that  “As steps of a procedure are performed more quickly, memory for past performance . . . become less accurate, increasing the rate of skipped or repeated steps after an interruption. We found this effect, with practice generally improving speed and accuracy, but impairing accuracy after interruptions. . . .

More on Symmetry (03-17-17)

Research by Westphal-Fitch and Fitch confirms that visual symmetry is valued by humans.  They learned that “symmetrical patterns are not only used most frequently in real life . . .  [they] are rated as significantly more attractive than are random patterns.”

Gesche Westphal-Fitch and Tecumseh Fitch.  “Beauty for the Eye of the Beholder:  Plane Pattern Perception and Production.”  Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, in press.

Liabilities of Empty Space (03-16-17)

It often seems like a good idea to leave empty space around important texts.  New research indicates that white space may not always be a plus. Kwan, Dai, and Wyer found that via seven field and laboratory studies that “The empty space that surrounds a text message can affect the message’s persuasiveness. . . . people find a message less persuasive, and are less likely to act on its implications, when it is surrounded by empty space than when it is not. . . .

Park Walks, Relaxation Exercises, and Office Worker Tension (03-15-17)

Research collected from Finnish knowledge workers indicates that both taking a walk in nature at lunchtime and doing relaxation exercises over lunch have about the same effect on how tense employees feel after lunch.  Building spaces that support relaxation exercises, and teaching those exercises to employees, could be a viable alternative to developing nature-based experiences in many locations.

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Research Conversations

During too many meetings, whatever people have gathered to do just doesn’t get accomplished.  Science-informed design of meeting rooms can change that and make group gatherings more effective.
 

Reflected Façades

Façades are more than just skins that surround a structure.  Their design influences the thoughts and behaviors of viewers, sometimes without their knowledge.  Cognitive science research can be used to make it more likely that the designs of façades send chosen messages and encourage desired behaviors, inside and out.
 

Times Square

When people move, they burn off calories.  Slimming our waistlines isn’t all that moving does for us, however.  Research consistently shows, for example, that when we’re walking we think more clearly, creatively and productively (whether inside or outdoors), and get along better with others.
 

How do you decide what to name places, products, and projects? Do you consider how those names sound, for example?  Cognitive scientists spend a lot of time thinking about the implications of the letters and sounds in names.

PlaceCoach News Briefs

Office workstation

Sharing isn't always a good idea
 

Alleyway

Alleys can be pleasant places to spend time

 A-FOs can be better places to work

Prior state matters, a lot

Younger children may be less distractable than other people

Not everyone's sensory systems are the same

Living near a major road may harm our mental wellbeing

Different places on the planet => different preferences

Book Reviews

Digial Futures Bookcover

Insights on creating cities that support residents, visitors, and their technologies

Useful information that can be applied to create a world where more can prosper

Design at Work

1447

The 1447 is a place that works because its design recognizes and respects the tasks its users need to accomplish.