Often workplaces are redesigned during periods of organizational change and research released by the American Psychological Association indicates that organizational change can be very stressful. Workplaces can be designed to defuse at least some of that stress and the knowledge that it is present should inform the interpretation of research data, for example, information collected in the course of a post-occupancy evaluation. The APA press release reports that “American adults who have been affected by change at work are more likely to report chronic work stress, less likely to trust the
Research Design Connections
Streicher and Estes gathered evidence indicating that haptic, or touch-related, experiences have a significant effect on consumer behavior. They report that “Consumers often touch products before reaching purchase decisions, and indeed touch improves evaluations of the given product. . . . We show that grasping a . . . product increases . . . the likelihood of choosing [a haptically similar; “haptic” means ”touch”] product. . . . We also show that visually crowded rather than sparse product displays increase the effect of touch on choosing other haptically similar products. . .
Work by Giebelhausen and colleagues indicates that there’s value in building support for charitable activities into retail spaces—for example: convenient spaces to place cash collection boxes near cash registers. The Giebelhausen lead team reports that “Checkout charity is a phenomenon whereby frontline employees (or self-service technologies) solicit charitable donations from customers during the payment process. . . .
New research confirms that people from different national cultures vary in how they perceive their physical worlds. The specific findings of the study discussed here are not as important as the determination that cultural variations exist. A research team lead by Yoshiyuki Ueda of Kyoto University reports that “an ability to perceive differences between similar images depends on the cultural background of the viewer. Scientists have long recognized that the mental processes behind thinking and reasoning differ between people raised in Western and Eastern cultures.
Speer and Delgado report that thinking about happy memories enhances wellbeing when people are stressed. Their study “explored whether recalling autobiographical memories that have a positive content—that is, remembering the good times—can dampen the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis stress response.” Study participants were stressed psychologically by the researchers and the scientists then determined that “recalling positive, but not neutral, memories resulted in a dampened cortisol rise and reduced negative affect [mood] . . . .
Cartoons can be better ways to present information than photographs when certain outcomes are desired, according to research done by Rodriguez and Lin. The scientists conducted a study that “compare[d] two modes of visually presenting information about wind energy – one using photographs and the other using cartoons – on audience’s knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions. . . .
Panza and his team investigated links between levels of physical activity and wellbeing. They learned that “light-intensity physical activity [was] positively associated with [subjective] psychological well-being . . . and negatively associated with depression . . . moderate intensity negatively associated with pain severity . . . and positively associated with psychological well-being; sedentary behavior negatively associated with psychological well-being and positively associated with depression. . . .
Awad’s research indicates that the symbols present in urban environments continually evolve and that different groups have varying relationships with them. As she states, “Our urban environment is filled with symbols in the form of images, text, and structures that embody certain narratives about the past. Once those symbols are introduced into the city space they take a life span of their own in a continuous process of reproduction and reconstruction by different social actors.
Kushner’s text challenges readers to thoughtfully consider the role that architecture plays in people’s lives today and how design can support future users. As Kushner details, “Architecture impacts how you feel every day. . . . We can control this powerful force—we just have to start asking more from our buildings. . . . [the] architectural revolution is already upon us. The average person is more comfortable having an opinion about architecture today than ever before, mostly due to the dialogue enabled by social media. . .
Corsello and Dylan Minor assessed how where people sit in a workplace influences their performance. Data collected over 2 years from thousands of employees at a large tech company with offices in the US and Europe determined that “neighbors have a significant impact on an employee’s performance.” The researchers “categorized workers into three types: productive workers, who completed tasks quickly but lacked quality; quality workers, who produced superior work but did so slowly; and generalists, who were average across both dimensions. . . .