Latest Blog Posts
Satish, Joseph, and Nanavati recap the benefits of natural light. They report that “Exposure to daylight, in particular, plays an outsized role in our overall well-being and mental health. Like almost all animals, humans have a circadian cycle that regulates sleep, metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature over a 24-hour cycle. Daylight is the main environmental stimulus that syncs the body’s internal clock with the external world. . . . Studies have shown that daylight access can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and even improve a person’s cognitive function.”
Usha Satish, Anjali Joseph, and Kaushal Nanavati. 2022. “Illuminating Results,” Healthcare Design, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 26-27.
Researchers have identified an increased likelihood of hoarding in people with ADHD; this finding may indicate a greater need for storage options among people with ADHD who are not hoarding. Morein-Zamir and colleagues report that “Whilst formerly associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it is now recognised that individuals with HD [hoarding disorder] often have inattention symptoms reminiscent of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here, we investigated HD in adults with ADHD. . . . Clinically significant hoarding symptoms were found in ∼20% versus 2% of ADHD and control groups. . . . Patients with ADHD had a high frequency of hoarding symptoms, which were specifically linked to inattention.”
Sharon Morein-Zamir, Michael Kasese, Samuel Chamberlain, and Estherina Trachtenberg. 2022. “Elevated Levels of Hoarding in ADHD: A Special Link with Inattention.” Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 145, pp. 167-174, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.12.024
Abrams probed the experiences of people with ADHD working during the pandemic and her findings indicate how workplace design can support people with ADHD generally. Abrams states that “Working from home has also presented challenges for adults with ADHD, including dealing with the loss of boundaries—such as a dedicated workspace or an on-site supervisor—that help them avoid distractions and provide cues about when to stop and start tasks. . . . [mental health care] providers have used a mix of old and new strategies to help people with ADHD function well during the pandemic. . . . For adults working from home, a clear workspace that contains only work-related items helps to limit distractions, Politi [Danielle Politi, PsyD, Multi-Health Systems, Inc.] said. She also recommends scheduling frequent breaks and using the last 15 to 30 minutes of each workday to reset: Clear your inbox and office space and make a plan for the following day. . . . People with ADHD can improve their functioning by seeking out optimal work times and settings.”
Zara Abrams. 2022. “Helping Adults and Children with ADHD in a Pandemic World.” Monitor on Psychology vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 68-74.
Liao and teammates’ work supports previous studies with color-based metaphors. The researchers learned that “Previous studies demonstrated that colors evoke certain affective meanings. . . . Japanese participants were presented with emoticons depicting four basic emotions (Happy, Sad, Angry, Surprised) and a Neutral expression, each rendered in eight colors. . . . The affective [emotional] meaning of Angry and Sad emoticons was found to be stronger when conferred in warm and cool colors, respectively. . . . The findings provide evidence that affective congruency of the emoticon expression and the color it is rendered in facilitates recognition of the depicted emotion, augmenting the conveyed emotional message.”
Songyang Liao, Katsuaki Sakata, and Galina Paramei. “Color Affects Recognition of Emoticon Expressions.” I-Perception, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/20416695221080778
Chuquichambi and colleagues’ work confirms that humans prefer curved lines to sharp angled ones. The research team reports that “Lines contribute to the visual experience of drawings. People show a higher preference for curved than sharp angled lines. We studied preference for curvature using drawings of commonly-used objects drawn by design students. We also investigated the relationship of that preference with drawing preference. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed preference for the curved drawings in the laboratory and web-based contexts, respectively. Experiment 3 showed that the curved drawings were also preferred to draw than the sharp-angled ones. However, this effect only appeared when the drawings were made by hand, but not when they were made by computer. We found a moderate positive correlation between liking and drawing preference. . . . Sex, art experience and openness to experience did not influence preference for curvature. Altogether, our findings support the curvature effect and the hypothesis that people prefer to draw what they like to see.”
Erick Chuquichambi, Daniela Sarria Guido Corradi, and Enric Munar. “Humans Prefer to See and Imagine Drawing Curved Objects.” Empirical Studies of the Arts, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/02762374221084212
Howell and Booth link neighborhood walkability and the presence of outdoor amenities to better health and fewer cases of diabetes among residents. The duo report that “researchers and policymakers alike have been searching for effective means to promote healthy lifestyles at a population level. . . . there has been a proliferation of research examining how the ‘built’ environment in which we live influences physical activity levels, by promoting active forms of transportation, such as walking and cycling, over passive ones, such as car use. Shifting the transportation choices of local residents may mean that more members of the population can participate in physical activity during their daily routine without structured exercise programs.” The researchers determined that people living in walkable neighborhoods who had access to parks and other options for outdoor activities were both more active and also less likely to be diabetic or obese.
Nicholas Howell and Gillian Booth. “The Weight of Place: Built Environment Correlates of Obesity and Diabetes.” Endocrine Reviews, in press, https://doi.org/10.1210/endrev/bnac005
Uziel and Tomer Schmidt-Barad investigated how the decisions to be alone and to be with others influence wellbeing and their findings confirm the importance effects of control on wellbeing. The research duo report that “Stable social relationships are conducive to well-being. . . . The present investigation suggests that . . . social interactions increase ESWB [experiential subjective well-being] only if taken place by one's choice. Moreover, it is argued that choice matters more in a social context than in an alone context because experiences with others are amplified. These ideas were tested and supported in two studies: An experiment that manipulated social context and choice status, and a 10-day experience-sampling study, which explored these variables in real-life settings. Results showed that being with others by one’s choice had the strongest positive association with ESWB, sense of meaning, and control, whereas being with others not by one’s choice—the strongest negative association with ESWB.”
Liad Uziel and Tomer Schmidt-Barad. 2022. “Choice Matters More with Others: Choosing to Be With Other People is More Consequential to Well-Being Than Choosing to Be Alone.” Journal of Happiness Studies, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-022-00506-5
Reid, Rieves, and Carlson evaluated the effects of access to greenspace on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. They share that they used data collected via a survey completed by Denver, CO residents (November 2019 – January 2021) “and [also] measured objective green space as the average NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) from aerial imagery within 300m and 500m of the participant’s residence. Perceived green space was measured through Likert scores on five questions about vegetation near the home that captured perceived abundance, visibility, access, usage, and quality of green space. . . . Adjusted for sociodemographic and pandemic stressors, we found that spending a lot of time in green space (usage) was significantly associated with lower anxiety and depression. We also observed significantly lower depression scores associated with NDVI . . . (objective abundance) and significantly lower anxiety scores with perceived abundance of green space. . . . We did not observe significant associations for any green space metric and perceived stress after adjustment for confounding variables.”
Colleen Reid, Emma Rieves, and Kate Carlson. 2022. “Perceptions of Green Space Usage, Abundance, and Quality of Green Space Were Associated with Better Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Residents of Denver.” PLoS ONE, vol. 17, no. 3, e0263779, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263779
Jiang and colleagues have found, via a study using immersive virtual environment (IVE) techniques, that views of green spaces through windows can make it easier to move from one part of a building to another effectively and efficiently; their findings are readily applicable to non-healthcare space types. The team reports that “Participants’ wayfinding performances were interpreted using several indicators, including task completion, duration, walking distance, stop, sign-viewing, and route selection. . . . participants performed better on high complexity wayfinding tasks in the IVE hospital with visible greenspaces, as indicated by less time consumed and shorter walking distance to find the correct destination, less frequent stops and sign viewing, and more efficient route selection. Participants also experienced enhanced mood states and favorable spatial experience and perceived aesthetics in the IVE hospital with visible greenspaces than the same environment without window views. . . . Hospital greenspaces located at key decision points could serve as landmarks that positively attract people’s attention, aid wayfinding, and improve their navigational experience.”
Shan Jiang, David Allison, and Andrew Duchowski. “Hospital Greenspaces and the Impacts on Wayfinding and Spatial Experience: An Explorative Experiment Through Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) Techniques.” HERD: Health Environments Research and Design Journal, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/19375867211067539
Yin, Bratman, Browning, Spengler, and Olvera-Alvarez evaluated how seeing desert scenes through windows influences stress levels. They report that they studied “the effect of a virtual reality (VR) exposure to a desert vs. green environment among . . . residents of El Paso, Texas. The procedure consisted of an acute stressor followed by random assignment to a 10 min VR experience (desert, green space, or office [control condition]). . . . exposure to a desert environment in VR promoted stress recovery just as much as a green environment. . . . participants reported a preference for a picture of green landscape over a picture of a desert landscape. . . . As our participants . . . had a degree of familiarity with the predominantly brown landscape of the Chihuahuan desert to which they were exposed. . . . immersion in the desert environment . . . could have afforded this population a more rapid assessment of safety, thereby counteracting the effects of the acute stressor and aiding in recovery." These data were collected via virtual reality and not direct exposure to the desert, which may have influenced the findings.
Jie Yin, Gregory Bratman, Matthew Browning, John Spengler, and Hector Olvera-Alvarez. “Stress Recovery from Virtual Exposure to a Brown (Desert) Environment Versus a Green Environment.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2022.101775