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Do the environments in which taste tests are conducted influence outcomes?  New research indicates that they do to some extent. Hannum and colleagues determined that when “red-wine consumers evaluated the same 4 wines in 3 environments—a traditional sensory booth, an immersive wine bar, and an actual wine bar. . . . at the individual level. . . On average, the greatest difference in liking scores occurred between the traditional booths and the actual wine bar . . . and was significantly greater than the difference in liking scores between the booths and immersive wine bar . . . Generally, consumers . . . estimated the wines at a higher price point in the actual environment compared to the traditional. . . . Overall, results suggest wine liking scores across environments were stable within the population, whereas greater variability was observed in individuals when comparing liking scores between traditional booths and the actual environment.”

Mackenzie Hannum, Sheri Forzley, Richard Popper, and Christopher Simons. 2019.  “Does Environment Matter?  Assessments of Wine in Traditional Booths Compared to an Immersive and Actual Wine Bar.”  Food Quality and Preference, vol. 76, pp. 100-108, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2019.04.007

Lemercier-Talbot and team probed the feelings associated with various scents.  They determined that the smell of vanilla is linked to relaxation and the scent of mint to being energized.

Anais Lemercier-Talbot, Geraldine Coppin, Donato Cereghetti, Christelle Porcherot, Isabelle Cayeux, and Sylvain Delplanque.  2019. “Measuring Automatic Associations Between Relaxing/Energizing Feelings and Odors.”  Food Quality and Preference, vol. 77, pp. 21-31, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2019.04.010

New evidence confirms that increasing use of GPS has implications for wayfinding systems/tools. Ruginski and colleagues report that “Research has established that GPS use negatively affects environmental learning and navigation in laboratory studies. . . .  In sum, our work suggests that GPS exerts its negative influence on spatial cognitive abilities in the long-term, building on work that has shown its negative effects on environmental learning in the short-term.”  

Ian Ruginski, Sarah Creem-Regehr, Jeanine Stefanucci, and Elizabeth Cashdan. 2019.  “GPS Use Negatively Effects Environmental Learning Through Spatial Transformation Abilities.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 64, pp. 12-20, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.05.001

Sun, Lian, and Lan probed professional performance under varying lighting conditions using a variety of research methodologies.  They investigated “the relationship between lighting illuminance (ILL), uniformity of illuminance (U-ILL), correlated colour temperature (CCT) and workers’ productivity. . . . when exposed to high ILL, U-ILL and CCT environment, participants reported highest satisfaction on productivity and attention. . . . The improvements of perception, learning and memory function of participants were benefited from high ILL, high U-ILL and high/medium CCT. Low ILL, low U-ILL and moderate CCT were appropriate to increase participants’ thinking and executive performance.”

Chanjuan Sun, Zhiwei Lian, and Li Lan.  “Work Performance in Relation to Lighting Environment in Office Buildings.”  Indoor and Built Environment, in press, DOI:  10.1177/1420326X18820089

Recently published research conducted by Luffarelli, Stamatogiannakis, and Yang confirms previously reported associations to items that are asymmetrical.  The researchers report that “Five studies using a variety of experimental approaches and secondary data sets show that a visual property present in all brand logos—the degree of (a)symmetry—can interact with brand personality to affect brand equity. Specifically, compared with symmetrical logos, asymmetrical logos tend to be more arousing, leading to increased perceptions of excitement. As such, consumers tend to perceive asymmetrical logos as more congruent with brands that have an exciting personality.”

Jonathan Luffarelli, Antonios Stamatogiannakis, and Haiyang Yang.  2019.  “The Visual Asymmetry Effect:  An Interplay of Logo Design and Brand Personality on Brand Equity.”  Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 89-103, https://doi.org/10.1177/0022243718820548

Lefebvre and Biswas studied links between environmental odors, perceived temperature, and food consumption.  They found via field and lab experiments that “the presence of a warm ambient odor (e.g., cedarwood) versus a cool ambient odor (e.g., eucalyptus) reduces the amount of calories consumed and also leads to increased choice of lower-calorie food options. This is attributable to established implicit associations formed from the human body’s innate physiological response to changes in ambient temperature. Specifically, exposure to a warm (vs. cool) ambient odor influences perceived ambient temperature, which in turn alters food consumption behaviors. . . . warm (cool) odor leads to perceptions of warmer (cooler) ambient temperature. . . . if restaurants intend to make their customers eat more, a tempting option is to rely heavily on air-conditioning to make the ambience be perceived as colder. The findings of our studies suggest that instead of using more electricity/energy in running the air-conditioners at colder levels, a more effective, cheaper, and environmentally friendly option would be to use ambient odor.”  The effects of scents on perceived temperature have implications for general responses to environments, not just for food consumed.

S. Lefebvre and D. Biswas. “The Influence of Ambient Scent Temperature on Food Consumption Behavior.”  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, in press, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xap0000226

Benoit and colleagues investigated how product type influences responses to retail store options. They determined that in on-the-go situations, “For goods easy to evaluate (search good; can of Coke), a [retail] format’s price level and speed are more important; For goods hard to evaluate (experience good; e.g., salad), quality, variety, atmosphere, and service are more important. . . . For search goods, a [retail] format's economic utility (price level, speed) is more important; its functional utility (quality, variety) and psychological utility (atmosphere, service) become less important considerations.”  Retail design has an important influence on atmosphere.

Sabine Benoit, Heiner Evanschitzky, and Christoph Teller. 2019. “Retail Format Selection in On-the-Go Shopping Situations.”  Journal of Business Research, vol. 100, pp. 268-278, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.04.007

Tallis and teammates looked into relationships between the number of trees near schools and the academic test scores of elementary school students. They report that “greenspace around school grounds has been associated with benefits to students’ cognitive function. . . . After controlling for common educational determinants (e.g., socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, student teacher ratio, and gender ratio) we found a significant, positive association between test scores and tree and shrub cover within 750 and 1000 m of urban [elementary] schools. Tree and shrub cover was not associated with test scores in rural schools or five buffers closer to urban schools (10, 50, 100, 300, and 500 m). . . . Within our urban sample, average tree-cover schools performed 4.2% . . . better in terms of standardized test scores than low tree-cover urban schools.”

Heather Tallis, Gregory Bratman, Jameal Samhouri, and Joseph Fargione. 2018.  “Are California Elementary School Test Scores More Strongly Associated with Urban Trees Than Poverty?”  Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, article 2074, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02074

Greenery at universities, indoors and out, has positive implications. Researchers presented study participants with digital photographs of “lecture hall[s], classroom[s], study area[s], university outdoor space[s]. For each of the three indoor spaces there were four or five stimuli conditions: (1) the standard design (2) the standard design with a colorful poster (3) the standard design with a nature poster (4) the standard design with a green wall (5) the standard design with a green wall plus interior plants. The university outdoor space included: (1) the standard design (2) the standard design with seating (3) the standard design with colorful artifacts (4) the standard design with green elements (5) the standard design with extensive greenery. . . . students gave higher preference ratings to the indoor spaces with a nature poster, a green wall, or a green wall plus interior plants than to the standard designs and the designs with the colorful posters. Students also rated preference and perceived restoration likelihood of the outdoor spaces that included greenery higher than those without.”

Nicole van den Bogerd, S. Dijkstra, Jacob Seidell, and Jolanda Maas. 2018.  “Greenery in the University Environment:  Students’ Preferences and Perceived Restoration Likelihood.”  PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 2, article e0192429, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192429

Wood and colleagues explored how the species in a space influence mental refreshment.  The team found that “there is very good reason to expect that variations in ecological ‘quality’ (number of species, integrity of ecological processes) may influence the link between access to green space and benefits to human health and well-being. We test the relationship between green space quality and restorative benefit in an inner city urban population in Bradford, United Kingdom. We selected 12 urban parks for study where we carried out botanical and faunal surveys to quantify biodiversity. . . . We also [surveyed] park users to quantify psychological restoration based on four self-reported measure of general restoration, attention-grabbing distractions, being away from everyday life, and site preference. . . . restorative benefit is predicted by biodiversity, which explained 43% of the variance in restorative benefit across the parks, with minimal input from other variables.”

Emma Wood, Alice Harsant, Martin Dallimer, Anna de Chavez, Rosemary McEachan, and Christopher Hassall.  2018. “Not All Green Space is Created Equal: Biodiversity Predicts Psychological Restorative Benefits from Urban Green Space.”  Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, article 2320, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02320

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