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Our opinions of people influence our evaluations of places.  Assessments of familiar individuals transfer to imagined places that are linked to them; knowing about this tie may be useful when synthesizing research findings, for example.   Benoit, Paulus, and Schacter found that “Humans have the adaptive capacity for imagining hypothetical episodes. Such episodic simulation is based on a neural network. . . . This network draws on existing knowledge (e.g., of familiar people and places) to construct imaginary events (e.g., meeting with the person at that place). . . . . In two experiments, we demonstrate how imagining meeting liked versus disliked people (unconditioned stimuli, UCS) at initially neutral places (conditioned stimuli, CS) changes the value of these places. . . . attitude changes induced by the liked UCS are based on a transfer of positive affective value between the representations (i.e., from the UCS to the CS). . . . mere imaginings shape attitudes towards elements (i.e., places) from our real-life environment.”

Roland Benoit, Philipp Paulus, and Daniel Schacter. 2019.  “Forming Attitudes Via Neural Activity Supporting Affective Episodic Simulations.”  Nature Communications, vol. 10, article number 2215,

Skov conducted a literature review of neuroscience-based aesthetics research. He determined that “Aesthetic appreciation is not driven only by object properties. . . . . [neuroimaging] evidence suggests that identical stimuli can give rise to diverse computational representations, both in perceptual networks and in the reward circuit, as well as different hedonic [pleasure-related] values, when contextual circumstances vary. This flexible nature of aesthetic appreciation reflects its functional purpose. . . . . For example, chocolate is valued higher when blood sugar levels are low, and lower when these are high, because this variance in hedonic value helps decide if it is advantageous or not to consume chocolate.”

Martin Skov. “Aesthetic Appreciation:  The View from Neuroimaging.”  Empirical Studies of the Arts, in press,

Research indicates that developing prenatal care offices where fathers feel more comfortable may increase their involvement with prenatal care.  As Albuja and teammates report, “A father’s involvement in prenatal care engenders health benefits for both mothers and children. . . . three studies tested whether the inclusion of environmental cues that represent men and fatherhood in prenatal care offices influenced men’s beliefs and behavioral intentions during the perinatal period. Men in studies 1 and 3 viewed online videos of purported prenatal care offices, while men in study 2 visited the office in person. Those who viewed or were immersed in a father-friendly prenatal care office believed that doctors had higher expectations of father involvement compared to treatment-as-usual. This perception predicted greater parenting confidence, comfort, and behavioral intentions to learn about the pregnancy and engage in healthy habits, such as avoiding smoking and alcohol during their partner’s pregnancy. . . . results suggest that shifting environment office cues can signal fathering norms to men in prenatal settings, with healthier downstream behavior intentions.”  Cues in prenatal care offices that support fathers’ involvement include photos of fathers with babies, for example.

Analia Albuja, Diana Sanchez, Shawna Lee, Joyce Lee, and Stacy Yadava. 2019. “The Effect of Paternal Cues in Prenatal Care Settings on Men’s Involvement Intentions.”  PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 5, e021645,

Iosifyan and Korolkova evaluated emotional responses to textures felt and their findings are published in Consciousness and Cognition.  The researchers found that when study participants were blindfolded and touching various surfaces that “Touching . . . may incur certain emotions. . . . 21 textures were used in the experiment, namely: brick, granite, glass, glass seashells (texturized), plasticine, leather, rabbit fur, metallic kitchen sponge, rubber, velvet, natural silk, polished wood, a spiky acupressure mat, unpolished wooden block, tile, glass pebbles (smooth), sandpaper, polished marble, concrete, toy slime and clay. . . . The results of the research demonstrated that soft surfaces are generally associated with pleasant emotions, while rough surfaces – with unpleasant feelings. However, this is not always true. For instance, plasticine is soft, but is associated with disgust. And while glass pebbles might be hard, they are actually associated with happiness. Each of the textures offered to the respondents was usually associated with several emotions. For example, the kitchen sponge was associated fear, disgust, and anger. . . . the sound that appears when a person touches the surface may also impact the emotional associations.”

“Emotions from Touch:  What Textures Bring Happiness, and What Cause Anger.”  2019.  Press release, National Research University Higher School of Economics,

Candido, Chakraborty, and Tjondronegoro investigated how office design influences user perceptions of their performance, health, and comfort.  The researchers found via a post-occupancy evaluation program (nearly 9,000 completed surveys) of offices in Australia that “For open-plan offices, the best-performing features for predicting perceived productivity were . . . amount of interruption, work area aesthetics, degree of adaptation of the work area, furnishing, overall amount of noise, cleanliness, and personal control over lighting. Furnishing, work area connection to outdoors, building aesthetics, sound privacy, and degree of adaptation of the work area were the critical predictors of health. As for the overall comfort of the work area, . . . key predictors [were] work area aesthetics, degree of adaptation of the work area, furnishing, overall air quality, cleanliness, and amount of interruption. . . . [in]high-performance. . . . offices . . . Pods of all sizes were . . . prominent . . . and had walls with textured elements and/or plants, promoting visual integration but some privacy at the same time. . . . layouts privileged workers’ access to daylight and views.”

Christhina Candido, Prithwi Chakraborty, and Dian Tjondronegoro.  2019.  “The Rise of Office Design in High-Performance, Open-Plan Environments.” Buildings, vol. 9, no. 4, 100,

How does air temperature influence potential consumers willingness to pay for goods?  Researchers have determined that “whereas higher (vs. moderate) temperatures elicit higher willingness to pay in auctions, they lead to a lower willingness to pay in negotiations, and temperature-induced discomfort and aggression underlie these effects.”

Jayati Sinha and Rajesh Bagchi.  “Role of Ambient Temperature in Influencing Willingness to Pay in Auctions and Negotiations.”  Journal of Marketing, in press,

Gharaveis, Hamilton, Shepley, Pati, and Rodiek studied how Emergency Department design influences teamwork, communication, and security;  their findings are applicable in both healthcare and other contexts.  The Gharaveis-lead team reports that “By providing high accessibility and visibility, the security issues can be minimized and teamwork and communication can be enhanced. . . . Transparency in the core of the ED would improve levels of teamwork and communication. . . .  design should provide visual and acoustical privacy when needed by flexibility in design. . . . Observation and supervision are important strategies to promote security. Psychiatric patients should have high visibility from/to staff. . . . EDs with efficient layouts (in terms of visibility, flexibility and accessibility), appropriate size of different locations, private spaces and lower levels of background noise provide opportunities to have higher values of teamwork and communication. The data of this study also suggest that ED security would be enhanced through unit configuration to provide visibility, connectivity to all locations, entrance observation, specific locations for psychiatric patients and security personnel close accommodation.”

Arsalan Gharaveis, D. Hamilton, Mardelle Shepley, Debajyoti Pati, and Susan Rodiek.  “Design Suggestions for Greater Teamwork, Communication and Security in Hospital Emergency Departments.”  Indoor and Built Environment, in press,

Bodin Danielsson reports on the context of work.  She shares that “the experience of office architecture, similar to other architectural experiences, is a holistic experience created by the combined effect of the physical characteristics of the environment and the functional feature of office work. . . . . three separate studies. . . . all indicate that personal control is a key factor for high employee satisfaction and that different factors can enable this using different means.”

Christina Bodin Danielsson. 2019.  “The Office Architecture:  A Contextual Experinece with Influences at the Individual and Group Level.”  In Herbert Meiselman (ed.), Context: The Effects of Environment on Product Design and Evaluation, Woodhead Publishing: Cambridge, MA, pp. 431-455,

Karp and colleagues studied the design of primary care clinics.  They probed, via multiple research tools, how “two different primary care clinic physical layouts (onstage/offstage and pod-based [PB] designs) influenced pre- and post visit team experiences and perceptions.Protocols encourage healthcare team communication before and after primary care visits to support better patient care. . . .In the onstage/offstage design, colocated teams had increased verbal communication but perceived being isolated from other clinic teams. In contrast, teams in PB clinics communicated with other clinic teams but had more informal patient contact within care-team stations that imposed privacy risk.”

Zaher Karp, Sandra Kamnetz, Natalie Wietfeldt, Christine Sinsky, Todd Molfenter, and Nancy Pandhi. “Influence of Environmental Design on Team Interactions Across Three Family Medicine Clinics:  Perceptions of Communication, Efficiency, and Privacy.” HERD:  Health Environments Research and Design Journal, in press,

Al-Kodmany thoroughly investigated how tall buildings can support placemaking and developed the ten related guidelines that are noted here.  Al-Kodmany’s article is available without charge at the web address provided below.

Guidelines for placemaking via tall buildings reported are:  

  1. “Create ‘micro-urbanism’ with tall buildings that support the human scale. . . .
  2. Create ‘macro-urbanism’ to support placemaking at the larger scale of the build environment. . . . 
  3. Respect neighboring buildings and the natural environment. . . . 
  4. Create a visual contrast. . . . 
  5. Employ a design that connects people to vernacular architecture. . . . 
  6. Employ local ‘green aesthetics’. . . .
  7. Design a tower’s base with respect to human scale, providing visual continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces, and support socio-economic activities. . . .
  8. Design urban plazas and public parks. . . . 
  9. Integrate tall buildings with multi-model, mixed use transit nodes and ensure that each node features unique perceptual characteristics at a steadily decreasing density. . . . 
  10. Utilize new building technologies that may provide new architectural expressions and promote placemaking.”

Kheir Al-Kodmany. 2018.  “Planning Guidelines for Enhancing Placemaking with Tall Buildings.” International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 5-23,


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