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Selections and preferences were probed in a recent study.  Silver and colleagues report that “The question of how people’s preferences are shaped by their choices has generated decades of research. In a classic example, work on cognitive dissonance has found that observers who must choose between two equally attractive options subsequently avoid the unchosen option, suggesting that not choosing the item led them to like it less. However, almost all of the research on such choice-induced preference focuses on adults. . . . we examined the developmental roots of this phenomenon in preverbal infants. . . . In a series of seven experiments using a free-choice paradigm, we found that infants experienced choice-induced preference change similar to adults’. Infants’ choice patterns reflected genuine preference change and not attraction to novelty or inherent attitudes toward the options. Hence, choice shapes preferences—even without extensive experience making decisions and without a well-developed self-concept.”

Alex Silver, Aimee Stahl, Rita Loiotile, Alexis Smith-Flores, and Lisa Feigenson.  “When Not Choosing Leads to Not Liking:  Choice-Induced Preference in Infancy.”  Psychological Science, in press,

Jonauskaite, Parraga, Quiblier, and Mohr assessed how consistent people’s emotional associations are when they read the name of colors and when they see patches of the same colors.  The team found “high similarity in the pattern of associations of specific emotion concepts with terms and patches . . . for all colours except purple. . . . We also observed differences for black, which is associated with more negative emotions and of higher intensity when presented as a term than a patch. . . . results from studies on colour–emotion relationships using colour terms or patches should be largely comparable.”  This finding is useful, for example, to designers and researchers developing data collection tools.   The researchers studied responses to red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, purple, pink, brown, white, gray, and black. Color patches used were “the best exemplars of each colour category. . . . which are largely universally recognized.”  Also,“Pinkwhitegreenorangeblueyellow, and turquoise were all significantly biased towards positive [emotional] associations . . . while blackgrey, and brown . . . were significantly biased towards negative associations.”  For “Red . . . and purple . . . . . . the same number of positive and negative emotion concepts was on average associated with these colours.”  The researchers also report that Labrecque and Milne (2012), interestingly, link viewed black with the ideas of sophistication and elegance.

Domicele Jonauskaite, C. Parraga, Michael Quiblier, and Christine Mohr. 2020.  “Feeling Blue or Seeing Red?  Similar Patterns of Emotion Associations with Colour Patches and Colour Terms.”  I-Perception, vol. 11, no. 1,

Stanischewskiand team mates review and extend research related to human responses to curvilinearity and rectillinearity.  They share that previous research has shown that “Curvilinearity is a perceptual feature that robustly predicts preference ratings for a variety of visual stimuli. . . . The present results support the idea that people prefer curved stimuli over angular ones overall. Specifically, participants rated curved stimuli as more pleasing and harmonious than the angular stimuli.”

Sarah Stanischewski, Carolin Altmann, Anselm Brachmann, and Christoph Redies. “Aesthetic Perception of Line Patterns: Effect of Edge-Orientation Entropy and Curvilinear Shape.”  I-Perception, in press,

Li and colleagues studied how streetscapes influence walking in Boston.  They report that “Publicly accessible Google Street View images were used to estimate the amount of street greenery. . . .  Statistical analysis results show that the associations between human walking activities and the streetscape variables vary among different land use types after controlling the confounding variable of the Walk Score and population. . . .  In residential and commercial land use areas, the visibility of the street greenery is negatively associated with human walking activities.  For recreational land and industrial land, there is no significant association between the visibility of street greenery and human walking activities.”

Xiaojiang Li, Paolo Santi, Theodore Courtney, Santosh Verma, and Carlo Ratti. “Investigating the Association Between Streetscapes and Human Walking Activities Using Google Street View and Human Trajectory Data.”  Transactions in GIS, in press, DOI:  10.1111/tgis.12472

Alamir and Hansen evaluated how experiencing particular sorts of sounds influences our response to food served.  They determined that “Relaxing music increased the liking of food at 30 and 40 dBA by 60 and 38%, respectively.  Restaurant noise and road traffic noise decreased the liking of food at all noise levels.  The increase of noise levels [data were collected at 30, 40 and 50 dBA] decreased the liking of food for all noise types. . . . These results could also be helpful in choosing and designing dining areas with background noise that increase food enjoyment.

Mahmoud Alamir and Kristy Hansen.  2021.  “The Effect of Type and Level of Background Noise on Food Liking:  A Laboratory Non-Focused Listening Test.”  Applied Acoustics, vol. 172, 107600,

Zhao lead a group that investigated how environments can influence cheating by 5- and 6-year olds. The team report that they “test the moral barrier hypothesis, which posits that moral violations can be inhibited by the introduction of spatial boundaries, including ones that do not physically impede the act of transgressing. We found that both real and imagined barriers, when placed strategically [between children and a piece of paper with the answers to test questions on it], were able to reduce cheating among 5- to 6-y-olds. . . . We found that, as compared to a no barrier condition, children cheated significantly less often when a barrier was strategically placed to divide the space where children were seated from a place that was associated with cheating. This effect was seen both when the barrier took a physical form and when it was purely symbolic. . . . . these findings . . . show that even seemingly unremarkable features of children’s environments can nudge them to act honestly.”   An imaginary boundary created by the researchers was outlined in midair by a toy described as a “magic wand.”   

Li Zhao, Yi, Zheng, Brian Compton, Wen Qin, Jiaxin Zheng, Genyue Fu, Kang Lee, and Gail Heyman.  2020. “The Moral Barrier Effect:  Real and Imagined Barriers Can Reduce Cheating.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 117, no. 32, pp. 19101-19107,

Sadik and Kamardeen researched the professional implications of experiencing indoor nature (for example, inside plants, window views, pre-recorded nature sounds) and outdoor nature.  They determined via a literature review that “indoor nature exposure contributes [positively] to social sustainability through its impact on workers' health and motivation while outdoor nature exposure contributes [positively] to economic, environmental and social sustainability through its impact on workers' restoration, stress reduction and stress coping. Workplace design should therefore embed both indoor and outdoor nature exposure to maximise impacts on employees. . . . Social sustainability, the human dimension of sustainable development, embodies essential aspects of human life including quality of life, health, employment and pleasant work. . . . Social sustainability therefore emphasises the significance of employees’ well-being and satisfaction to the global development agenda.”

Abdul-Manan Sadik and Imriyas Kamardeen.  2020.  “Enhancing Employees’ Performance and Well-Being with Nature Exposure Embedded Office Workplace Design.”  Journal of Building Engineering, vol. 32, 101789,

Weingarten and Goodman’s research provides more nuanced insights into experiential consumption. They report that “A wealth of consumer research has proposed an experiential advantage: consumers yield greater happiness from purchasing experiences compared to material possessions. . . . the authors develop a model of consumer happiness and well-being based on psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, relatedness [need to feel social bonds to other humans], self-esteem, and meaningfulness), and conduct an experiential advantage meta-analysis to test this model. . . .  the meta-analysis supports the experiential advantage . . . The analysis . . . . [suggests] that the experiential advantage may be more tied to relatedness than to happiness and willingness-to-pay. The experiential advantage is reduced for negative experiences, for solitary experiences, for lower socioeconomic status consumers, and when experiences provide a similar level of utilitarian [practical] benefits relative to material goods.”

Evan Weingarten and Joseph Goodman.  “Re-Examining the Experiential Advantage in Consumption:  A Meta-Analysis and Review.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press,

Barhorst and colleagues evaluated how use of augmented reality (AR) by retailors influences shopping experiences.  They determined that when “a commercially available AR app was utilized to conduct [online research]. . . . [that] AR vividness, AR interactivity, and AR novelty, are all key contributors to the immersive state of flow. . . . The results of this research indicate a more significant state of flow with AR in comparison to a regular shopping experience. . . . a more vivid display of products, in this case through AR, is more likely to influence a consumer’s cognitive processing resulting in the flow experience due to its more interesting appeal. This results in an increased evaluation of the product and its information than what pallid information would involve.. . . AR can be an effective tool with which to induce optimal states of flow and enhance satisfaction with customer experiences in the shopping context.”

Jennifer Barhorst, Graeme McLean, Esta Shah, and Rhonda Mack. 2021.  “Blending the Real World and the Virtual World:  Exploring the Role of Flow in Augmented Reality Experiences.” Journal of Business Research, vol. 122, pp. 423-436,

Research by Weiss and Merlo confirms the value of designing spaces to support particular moods.  The Weiss-Merlo team reports, that “affective [emotional] states influence work performance by impacting the attentional resources dedicated to the task. . . . When people fully engage their attention on the task, performance is optimized. . . .  negative affective states negatively influence concurrent . . . performance through attentional misallocation. . . . positive affective states can enhance attentional focus and . . . performance.”

Howard Weiss and Kelsey Merlo.  “Affect, Attention, and Episodic Performance.”  Current Directions in Psychological Science, in press,


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