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Corradi and colleagues studied responses to specific design elements.  They report that “results reveal that people differ remarkably in the extent to which visual features influence their liking, highlighting the crucial role of individual variation when modeling aesthetic preferences. . . . overall, participants liked the curved images . . . more than the sharp-angled images. . . . The model of liking for symmetry and complexity revealed that participants liked the symmetrical images . . . more than the asymmetrical images. . . . the effects of complexity on liking were stronger for symmetrical stimuli than for asymmetrical stimuli. . . . The model of liking for balance showed that participants’ liking ratings increased with balance. . . . People tend to like designs with curved contours that are symmetrical, complex, and balanced more than those with sharp-angled contours, and those that are asymmetrical, simple, and unbalanced.”

Guido Corradi, Erick Chuquichambi, Juan Barrada, Ana Clemente, and Marcos Nadal.  2020.  “A New Conception of Visual Aesthetic Sensitivity.”  British Journal of Psychology, vol. 111, no. 4, pp. 630-658,

Van Doesumand colleagues studied how signage and trash can location influence at-park littering.  They determined that “Moving waste receptacles from the interior to the exits of a park makes waste collection more efficient. . . . we removed all waste receptacles from within an urban park and placed them at the exits in three consecutive field studies. . . .  litter levels increased from initial baseline. . . . However, adding a psychological intervention in the form of [signs in the park with] watching animal [cat or owl] eyes reversed this effect and made for a slightly cleaner environment. . . . meta-analysis suggests that watching eyes are better at reducing antisocial behavior than at increasing prosocial behavior (Dear et al., 2019).  That littering is often seen as antisocial supports the idea that watching eyes in the park contributed to the litter decrease. . . . a combination of watching eyes and no waste receptacles within the confines of the park helped to decrease litter levels.”

Niels Van Doesum, Arianne van der Wal, Christine Boomsma, and Henk Staats.  “Aesthetics and Logistics in Urban Parks;  Can Moving Waste Receptacles to Park Exits Decrease Littering?”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, 101669,

Vellei  and colleagues studied how preferred air temperatures vary from one time of day to another.  They report that their efforts reveal “some evidence of a time-varying thermal perception by using: (1) data from about 10,000 connected Canadian thermostats made available as part of the ‘Donate Your Data' dataset and (2) about 22,000 samples of complete (objective + ‘right-here-right-now' subjective) thermal comfort field data from the ASHRAE I and SCATs datasets. We observe that occupants prefer colder thermal conditions at 14:00 and progressively warmer ones in the rest of the day, indistinctively in the morning and evening. Neutral temperature differences between 08:00 and 14:00 and 14:00 and 20:00 are estimated to be of the order of 2°C.”

Marika Vellei, William O’Brien, Simon Martinez, and Jerome Le Dreau.  “Some Evidence of a Time-Varying Thermal Perception.”  Indoor and Built Environment, in press,

Motoki and Velasco researched links between shapes and flavors.  They found that “People associate tastes and visual shapes non-randomly. For example, round shapes are associated with sweet taste, while angular shapes are associated with sour and bitter tastes. Previous studies have focused on one-to-one taste-shape associations, where either geometrical shapes or shapes on a product’s packaging have been presented in isolation and evaluated separately. However, in real-life product displays, products are typically surrounded by other products. We examined whether shape contexts can influence the taste expectations associated with target products across five experiments . . . Participants saw a display set (target shape in the middle surrounded by shapes on both sides. . . . When the surrounding shapes were angular (vs. round), the target shapes were rated as sweeter/more umami and less sour/salty/bitter. . . . The findings provide insights for food marketers when it comes to designing product package displays to convey taste information more effectively.”

Kosuke Motoki and Carlos Velasco.  2021. “Taste-Shape Correspondences in Context.”  Food Quality and Preference, vol. 88, 104082,

Izadi and Patrick studied responses to fonts that look like handwriting.  They report that “the use of handwritten fonts on product packaging elicits an approach tendency and enhances haptic engagement [touch], which influences product evaluation and choice likelihood. . . . Studies 1 and 2 use real products to show that a product label with a handwritten (vs. typewritten) font elicits haptic engagement and, enhanced product evaluations (Study 2). . . . . [this] effect is observed only for benign (safe and enjoyable) product categories, but not for risky (unsafe and dangerous) ones. Study 4 relies on a simulated store setup with actual products to illustrate the differential preference for products with a handwritten (vs. typewritten) font when choosing between brands in a benign (vs. risky) product category.”

Anoosha Izadi and Vanessa Patrick.  2020. “The Power of the Pen: Handwritten Fonts Promote Haptic Engagement.”  Psychology and Marketing, vol. 37, no. 8, pp. 1082-1100,

How are neighborhood residential density and loneliness related?  Lai and colleagues share that they used “high-resolution geospatial built environment exposure data to examine associations between residential density and loneliness and social isolation among 405,925 UK Biobank cohort participants. Residential unit density was measured within a 1- and 2-Km residential street network catchment of participant’s geocoded dwelling. . . . We found for the UK, that every 1,000 units/km2 increment in residential density within a 1-Km network catchment was independently associated with a 2.8% . . . higher odds of loneliness and social isolation respectively. . . . Higher density of detached housing was negatively associated with both loneliness and social isolation [so as detached density increased loneliness, etc.,  decreased], while density of flats was positively associated with both outcomes. . . . Density was associated with loneliness and social isolation independently of other factors, which means that urban design and density planning strategies matter; especially in an age of accelerating suburban densification.”

Ka Lai, Chinmoy Sarkar, Sarika Kumari, Michael No, John Gallacher, and Chris Webster.  2021.  “Calculating a National Anomie Density Ratio:  Measuring the Patterns of Loneliness and Social Isolation Across the UK’s Residential Density Gradient Using Results from the UK Biobank Study.” Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 215, 104194,

Licina and Langer compare indoor air quality and satisfaction in different contexts.  They report that they “quantitatively compared IAQ [indoor air quality] results before and after relocation to two WELL-certified office buildings using the same cohort of occupants. Physical measures included integrated samples of TVOC, individual VOC, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde, NO2, SO2, Oand longitudinal records of CO2 and size-resolved particles. Complementary survey responses about satisfaction with IAQ and thermal comfort were collected. . . . For the majority of air pollutants, there was no significant concentration difference between non-WELL and WELL buildings, but not always. The WELL-certified buildings had substantially higher levels of TVOC and individual VOC associated with paints, especially shortly after the relocation. However, there was statistically significant improvement in IAQ satisfaction after relocation into WELL buildings regardless of the air pollution levels, possibly confounded by thermal environment, awareness of the WELL certification or other non-measurable factors.”

Dusan Licina and Sarka Langer.  2021. “Indoor Air Quality Investigation Before and After Relocation to WELL-Certified Office Buildings.”  Building and Environment, vol. 204, 108182,

Chang and colleagues continue research into the implications of experiencing natural environments.  They report that “viewing green urban landscapes that vary in terms of green-space density elicits corresponding changes in the activity of the human ventral posterior cingulate cortex that is correlated to behavioural stress-related responses. . . . these findings raise a therapeutic potential for natural environmental exposure.. . . Validating the role of the PCC in particular as it relates to stress-regulatory mechanisms and more broadly, mental health, is of particular clinical importance as this structure shows abnormalities in diseases (Alzheimer's) . . . neuropsychological disorders (schizophrenia, depression, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) . . . and in ageing. . . . The PCC also shows abnormal function following traumatic brain injury. . . . Our findings that green urban landscapes can elicit systematic changes in responses in this region that are paralleled by changes in stress-ratings, then, raise an intriguing therapeutic potential for natural environmental exposure.”

Dorita Chang, Bin Jiang, Nocole Wong, Jing Wong, Chris Webster, and Tatia Lee.  2021.  “The Human Posterior Cingulate and the Stress-Response Benefits of Viewing Green Urban Landscapes.”  NeuroImage, vol. 226, 117555,

Ruger, Stawarz, Skora, and Wiernik studied individuals’ willingness to commute and their findings have implications for locating both homes and workplaces.   The researchers report that  “We use unique longitudinal data from four European countries – Germany, France, Spain, and Switzerland – to examine the relationship between individual level willingness to commute long distances (i.e. at least 60 min one-way) and actual commuting behavior. . . .  planners should be cautious about decentralizing urban functions, services, and destinations to disparate locations; even if such decentralization substantially increases travel time and stress, people are likely to habituate, making the decentralization process difficult to reverse. Planning to increase access to affordable housing in metropolitan areas and attractive employment opportunities close to where families live should be implemented earlier rather than later, even if stated public demand is not initially high. . . . commuting willingness is not a fixed characteristic of a person, but rather varies meaningfully over time and is closely linked with people's current commuting behavior.”

Heiko Ruger, Nico Stawarz, Thomas Skora, and Brenton Wiernik.  “Longitudinal Relationship Between Long-Distance Commuting Willingness and Behavior:  Evidence from European Data.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology,101667,

De Fleurian and Pearce studied the implications of  specific aspects of musical experiences and it seems likely that their findings can be extended to soundscaping generally.  The researchers report that “Chills experienced in response to music listening have been linked to both happiness and sadness expressed by music. . . . we conducted a computational analysis on a corpus of 988 tracks previously reported to elicit chills, by comparing them with a control set of tracks matched by artist, duration, and popularity. We analysed track-level audio features . . . across the two sets of tracks, resulting in confirmatory findings that tracks which cause chills were sadder than matched tracks and exploratory findings that they were also slower, less intense, and more instrumental than matched tracks on average.”

Remi de Fleurian and Marcus Pearce.  “The Relationship Between Valence and Chills in Music:  A Corpus Analysis.”  i-Perception, in press,


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