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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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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.

Liu and colleagues probed how physical effort relates to assessments of natural beauty; their findings linking effort and judgments made are likely applicable more broadly than the tested condition.  They report that “participants wearing a heavy backpack gave higher esthetic scores to and generate a strong attentional bias toward the green natural landscapes. Furthermore, the implicit association test (IAT) revealed that a green natural landscape was more readily associated with a high level of relaxation when the participants wore a backpack. The results indicated that the bodily sensation of a physical burden modulates [affects] the esthetic preference for natural environments when they consist of green plants, which are associated with a high level of relaxation and have significant evolutionary implications.”

Sizhe Liu, Hua Wang, Wenxuan Liu, Shuxian Lai, Xueru Zhao, Xianyou He, and Wei Zhang.  “The Influence of Physical Burden on the Esthetics Preference for Green Natural Environment.”  Environment and Behavior, in press,

Flouri and teammates set out to learn how physical environments influence decisions made by children.  They report that This study used the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study to investigate the role of greenness of the child’s immediate residential area at ages 9 months and 3, 5, 7, and 11 years in reward and punishment sensitivity, measured using the Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT), at age 11 years. Our sample was the children who lived in urban areas at all five time-points and with data on the CGT at the fifth. . . . children in the least green areas were more likely to engage in ‘fast’ decision strategies than other children: they showed higher sensitivity to reward (or lower sensitivity to punishment). . . . in children, the relative absence of contextual greenery is associated with increased risk-taking rather than its increased quantity with reduced risk-taking. . . . the built environment can impact on risk-taking among children as young as 11 years old.”

Eirini Flouri, Dongying Ji, and Jonathan Roiser.  2022. “The Role of Urban Greenspace in Children’s Reward and Punishment Sensitivity.”  Landscape Research, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 256-270,

Steelcase conducted a pediatric healthcare-related literature review and developed design principles that can be used in a variety of spaces, from waiting areas to exam rooms.  Via the literature review, Steelcase determined that in pediatric healthcare settings “engaging young patients in their surrounding environment can help minimize anxiety and promote a sense of calm. Exploration provides choices, and choices provide a sense of control. . . . Children need movement and sensory experiences to reduce stress. . . . Children need environments tailored to their abilities and ages.” The design principles developed include: “Encourage play and positive distraction. . . . Activity zones should be tailored to different ages, abilities and characteristics. . . . Incorporate natural elements. . . . biophilic design can also suggest or reflect nature in more subtle ways. For example, floor tiles that mimic the flow of a river and nature-inspired artwork can provide wayfinding as well as wellbeing benefits. . . . creating a variety of settings within a larger area can meet needs for both privacy and community. . . .  flexibility is a value-add for the patient experience as well as the organization.”

Steelcase.  2022. “Designing Effective Pediatric Care Spaces.”

Radun and colleagues investigated the effects of impulsive sound on cognitive performance.  They report that “Exposure to impulsive sound (65 dB LAeq) was compared with quiet sound (35 dB LAeq) and steady-state sound (65 dB LAeq). . . . Compared to quiet sound, impulsive sound caused more annoyance, workload, and lack of energy, raised cortisol concentrations, reduced systolic blood pressure, and decreased accuracy. . . . Compared with steady-state sound, impulsive sound was experienced as more annoying and causing a higher workload and more lack of energy. Impulsive sound caused physiological and psychological stress and decreased performance compared to quiet sound. . . . Impulsive sound . . . involves strong onsets, i.e., rapid elevations of the sound level, and a release of sound right after the impulse has reached its maximum. . . . examples in everyday life are walking, door sounds, ball games, keyboard tapping, and hammering.”  Physiological stress was determined via concentrations of stress hormones, heart rate variability, and blood pressure readings.

Jenni Radun, Henna Maula, Ville Rajala, Mika Scheinin, and Valtteri Hongisto.  “Acute Stress Effects of Impulsive Noise During Mental Work.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press,


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