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Welcome to the Research Design Connections blog, started in 2007. Recent blog entries are available here. Earlier blog entries (one for every working day since the beginning of May, 2007) are available to subscribers.

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Hoendervanger’s multi-method dissertation probes who can most effectively use activity-based workplaces (ABW).  He shares that “a clear profile arises of workers who best fit with ABW environments, i.e.: high task variety, job autonomy, external and internal mobility, social interaction . . . low need for privacy; few high-complexity tasks, many non-individual tasks; appropriately using open and closed work settings; frequently switching between work settings; relatively young age. Furthermore, lack of privacy for high-concentration work, due to the highly prevalent use of open work settings, appeared to be the single-most important issue in current ABW practice. The ABW concept is clearly not a one-size-fits-all solution and requires careful implementation to provide the right mix of work settings, and to stimulate workers to use them in accordance with their varying and changing needs.”

Jan Hoendervanger.  2021. “On Workers’ Fit with Activity-Based Work Environments.”  University of Groningen, Dissertation,  https://research.rug.nl/en/publications/on-workers-fit-with-activity-bas...

In his dissertation project Zhou probed social connections formed in co-working spaces.  He reports that “Mixed methods were applied to study coworking spaces in New York City. . . . The results suggest that social connectivity between the members was low even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Three major reasons were identified: lack of opportunity, lack of motivation, and a behavioral norm of minimizing interaction in the open-plan environment. . . . I propose that flexibility is about . . . how much visibility and mobility the space offers, and how much time the occupants are physically present in the space. . . . Increased flexibility in space and time negatively affected an individual’s attitude toward social interaction. . . . These results suggest that the nature of coworking may embody a conflicting relationship between the two concepts: ‘flexibility’ and ‘community.’”

Yaoyi Zhou.  2021. “Flexibility Vs. Community:  Two Studies About Coworking Space and the Member’s Social Connectivity.”  Cornell University, Dissertation, https://www.proquest.com/openview/5bd133f73f6958b8a6da3d3db1c05e24/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Fukuie and colleagues probed how hearing particular sorts of music influences cognitive performance, and their findings may be complicated to apply in group settings, but not solo use ones.  The investigators report that “Hearing a groove rhythm (GR), which creates the sensation of wanting to move to the music, can also create feelings of pleasure and arousal in people, and it may enhance cognitive performance, as does exercise, by stimulating the prefrontal cortex. Here, we examined the hypothesis that GR enhances executive function (EF). . . . participants underwent two conditions: 3 min of listening to GR or a white-noise metronome. . . . Our results show that GR enhanced EF . . . in participants who felt a greater groove sensation and a more feeling clear-headed after listening to GR.”

Takemune Fukuie, Kazuya Suwabe, Satoshi Kawase, Takeshi Shimizu, Genta Ochi, Ryuta Kuwamizu, Yosuke Sakairi, and Hideaki Soya.  2022. “Groove Rhythm Stimulates Prefrontal Cortex Function in Groove Enjoyers.”  Scientific Reports, vol. 12, 7377, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-11324-3

Grant and Handelman study the evolving role of houses.  They report that “Traditionally, the home is regarded as a place of singularization that is to be aligned with the homeowner’s unique identity. This traditional meaning has come to be confronted with a contradictory understanding of the home as a marketplace asset. Homeowners come to experience a market-reflected gaze that shuns singularization while driving homeowners to exhibit expertise in aligning their homes with marketplace standards. Professionalization of the home, through marketplace expertise and standardization, discourages personalization, leading to an experience of disorientation with the place of home.”

Annetta Grant and Jay Handelman.  “Dysplacement and the Professionalization of the Home.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/uca023

Lieberman, in a study published in Psychological Review, probes how people come to understand the world in which they live.  A press release related to his work asks “Why are we so sure that the way we see people, situations and politics is accurate, and the way other people see them is foolishly wrong? The answer, according to new research by UCLA psychology professor Matthew Lieberman, lies in a region of the brain he calls the ‘gestalt cortex,’ which helps people make sense of information that is ambiguous or incomplete — and dismiss alternative interpretations. . . . People often mistake their own understanding of people and events as objective truth, rather than as merely their own interpretation. That phenomenon, called ‘naive realism,’ leads people to believe that they should have the final word on the world around them. . . . ‘When others see the world differently than we do, it can serve as an existential threat to our own contact with reality and often leads to anger and suspicion about the others,’ Lieberman said.”

“Well, I See It Differently!” 2022.  Press release, UCLA, https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/gestalt-cortex-why-people-see-things-...

Erraiaa and teammates evaluated the importance of aligning scents experienced in a store with brand image.  They determined via an experiment that “when the scent is perceived as congruent with the brand image, reactions in the store are more favourable. It is not enough to use a scent that ‘smells good’ or that is congruent with other factors (e.g. sensory environment); the scent must be perceived by consumers as consistent with the brand image. Findings also reveal that the diffusion of a scent congruent with the brand image improves guest satisfaction, intention to revisit and perceptions of the product and service. . . . The findings show how important it is for hospitality organisations to use scents to generate a positive impact on their guests. Hotel, restaurant and café managers wishing to enhance customer reactions through the creation of an olfactory atmosphere should take scent congruence with the brand image into consideration.”

Karim Erraiaa, Patrick Legoherel, Bruno Dauce, and Anil Bilgihan.  2021. “Scent Marketing:  Linking the Scent Congruence with Brand Image.”  International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 402-427, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2020-0637

Peng-Li and colleagues studied how sound influences food eaten.  They report that “Soft nature sounds [ocean waves] and loud restaurant noises [chattering and tableware noises] were employed to induce emotional relaxation and arousal respectively. One hundred and one healthy university students completed a repeated-measure design of the LFPQ [Leeds Food Preference Questionnaire]; once with each soundscape playing in the background. . . . nature sounds increased explicit liking of healthy (vs. unhealthy) foods, while no effect of soundscape on any wanting measures (explicit or implicit) were observed. . . . restaurant noise (vs. nature sound) induced faster response times for both healthy and unhealthy foods.”

Danni Peng-Li, Tiark Andersen, Graham Finlayson, Derek Byrne, and Qian Wang.  2022. “The Impact of Environmental Sounds on Food Reward.”  Physiology and Behavior, vol. 245, 113689, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113689

Smith explores how humans experience time.  He reports that “the passage of time is not directly perceived. . . . This conclusion is supported by the following observations: 1) down through the millennia, there have been recurrent ergonomic efforts to design technological proxies—from the pyramids to the atomic clock—for detecting the passage of time; and 2) these efforts point to our reliance on technology, rather than our own sensory feedback control capabilities, to track time. The implication of the research is that time represents the only environmental stimulus that cannot be directly experienced as perceived sensory feedback.”

Thomas Smith.  “Experiencing Time—A Commentary on Recent Perspectives on the Perception of Time.”  Ergonomics in Design:  The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/10648046221088454

Pappas reviews a wide range of research related to road traffic safety.  Design related information presented includes “Visually cluttered roads, confusing signage, and broad thoroughfares that practically beg drivers to stomp on the accelerator can encourage behaviors that raise risk. . . . Design choices like medians, trees, and cycle lanes can obstruct drivers’ views of the horizon and move their focus close to the front of their cars, encouraging more cautious driving.”

Stephanie Pappas.  2022. “Improving Traffic Safety.”  Monitor on Psychology, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 47-55.

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