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Cui and teammates probed how the design of outdoor spaces at hospitals can influence staff stress levels.  They found that “several [previously conducted] studies have revealed that even short-term exposure to outdoor space has a decompression effect. . . . [in the study conducted by the Cui lead group] EEG measurement equipment was utilized to obtain the value of β wave (vβw) that represents the stress and anxiety of staff in three different outdoor spaces: open, traffic, and rest. . . . The proportion of natural elements, such as landscape . . . and waterscape . . . were negatively correlated with the vβw produced by staff, while the proportion of hard paving was positive . . . with more vβw produced by staff. In other words, the percentage of landscape and waterscape can reduce stress, while hard paving has the opposite effect.” 

Weiyi Cui, Zao Li, Xiaodong Xuan, Chao Lu, Qiqiang Tang, Shaobo Zhou, and Qingtao Li.  2022. “Influence of Hospital Outdoor Space on Physiological Electroencephalography (EEG) Feedback of Staff.”  HERD:  Health Environments Research and Design Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 239-255,

Miller and colleagues reviewed the findings of published qualitative studies related to the design of palliative healthcare spaces.  They report that “People with a life-limiting illness may receive palliative care to improve their quality of life in hospital. . . . Findings resulted in the development of the SSAFeR Place approach that incorporates the concepts that are important to palliative and end-of-life patients and their families by describing an environment within the acute or palliative care units that feels safe, is private, customizable, and accommodates family; is a space to share with others, is homelike in ambiance and aesthetics, and is conducive for reflection. The concepts of identity, belonging, and safety are connected to the notions of home. To provide person-centered care and to move the focus toward the palliative approach of comfort and quality of life, attention to room size, layout, aesthetics, and ambiance is needed.”

Elizabeth Miller, Joanne Porter, and Michael Barbagallo.  2022.  “The Physical Hospital Environment and Its Effects on Palliative Patients and Their Families:  A Qualitative Meta-Synthesis.”  HERD:  Health Environments Research and Design Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 268-291,

Lin investigated how illustrations are evaluated.  Findings from the completed study include: “Although the aesthetic experience of popular illustrations is frequent in modern life, no scientific research can fully explain its psychological structure so far. This study aims to develop an aesthetic model of perception, affection, and cognition, presenting an aesthetic psychological framework for contemporary popular illustration. Thirty representative illustrations were selected as experimental stimuli from design media. . . . The results showed that beauty, pleasure, and interestingness are the optimum indicators measuring the aesthetic experience of popular illustrations, and instead of the underlying meanings, the positive self-rewarding quality makes aesthetic experience of popular illustrations special.”

Yen-Ching Lin.  “An Aesthetic Model for Popular Illustration.”  Empirical Studies of the Arts, in press,

Reyt and colleagues studied influences on how crowded people in waiting rooms feel.  They report that “Crowded waiting areas are volatile environments, where seemingly ordinary people often get frustrated and mistreat frontline staff. . . . we suggest an intervention that can ‘massage’ outsiders’ perceptions of crowding and reduce the mistreatment of frontline staff. We theorize that providing information for outsiders to read while they wait on a personal medium (e.g., a leaflet, a smartphone) reduces their crowding perceptions and mistreatment of frontline staff, compared to providing the same information on a public medium (e.g., poster, wall sign). We report two studies that confirm our theory: A field experiment in Emergency Departments . . . and an online experiment simulating a coffee shop.”

Jean-Nicolas Reyt, Dorit Efrat-Treister, Daniel Altman, Chen Shapira, Arie Eisenman, and Anat Rafaeli.  2022. “When the Medium Massages Perceptions:  Personal (Vs. Public Displays of Information Reduce Crowding Perceptions and Outsider Mistreatment of Frontline Staff.”  Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 164-178,

Beverly and colleagues probed the sorts of experiences that can reduce stress in frontline healthcare workers.  They report that they “piloted a three-minute Tranquil Cinematic-VR simulation of a nature scene to lower subjective stress among frontline healthcare workers in COVID-19 treatment units. . . . A convenience sample of frontline healthcare workers, including direct care providers, indirect care providers, and support or administrative services, were recruited from three COVID-19 units located in the United States. . . . Participants viewed a 360-degree video capture of a lush, green nature preserve in an Oculus Go or Pico G2 4K head-mounted display. . . . Post-simulation, we observed a significant reduction in subjective stress scores from pre- to post-simulation. . . .  Post-simulations scores did not differ by provider type, age range, gender, or prior experience with virtual reality.  Findings from this pilot study suggest that the application of this Tranquil Cinematic-VR simulation was effective in reducing subjective stress among frontline healthcare workers in the short-term.”

Elizabeth Beverly, Laurie Hommema, Kara Coates, Gary Duncan, Brad Gable, Thomas Gutman, Matthew Love, Carrie Love, Michelle Pershing, and Nancy Stevens.  2022. “A Tranquil Virtual Reality Experience to Reduce Subjective Stress Among COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers.” PLoS ONE,

Greenberg and colleagues probed links between personality and preferred music styles and it seems likely that their findings can be applied more generally.  The team report that they “built on theory and research in personality, cultural, and music psychology to map the terrain of preferences for Western music using data from 356,649 people across six continents. . . . the patterns of correlations between personality traits and musical preferences were largely consistent across countries and assessment methods. For example, trait Extraversion was correlated with stronger reactions to Contemporary musical styles (which feature rhythmic, upbeat, and electronic attributes), whereas trait Openness was correlated with stronger reactions to Sophisticated musical styles (which feature complex and cerebral attributes often heard in improvisational and instrumental music).” Conscientiousness was linked to unpretentious music preference, agreeableness was associated with mellow and unpretentious music, and openness was tied to mellow, contemporary, and intense music preference.  There was a strong negative correlation between conscientiousness and intense music. Mellow music is romantic, slow, and quiet; unpretentious music is uncomplicated and relaxing; and intense music is distorted, loud, and aggressive.

D. Greenberg, S. Wride, D. Snowden, D. Spathis, J. Potter and P. Rentfrow.  2022. “Universals and Variations in Musical Preferences:  A Study of Preferential Reactions to Western Music in 53 Countries.”  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 122, no. 2, pp. 286-309,

Researchers have evaluated what people from different cultures categorize as creative.  Data were gathered from people from Russia and the United Arab Emirates.  Kharkhurin and colleagues found that “The concept of creativity varies by culture. . . . Creative daring . . . appears to be a key feature of creativity in the Western, but not in the Eastern tradition.  . . . In the Western understanding, creativity implies originality, novelty and uniqueness, for the sake of which previous canons can be rejected.  The Eastern concept of creativity is based on the ability to creatively interpret existing traditions (and on giving equal importance on the aesthetic side).”

“Portrait of an Alien.”  2022.  Press release, HSE University,

Researchers have learned that too much similarity among survey questions can lead to the collection of lower quality data.  A Li-lead team found that “Surveys that ask too many of the same type of question tire respondents and return unreliable data. . . . people tire from questions that vary only slightly and tend to give similar answers to all questions as the survey progresses. . .  Respondents in the surveys adapted their decision making as they answer more repetitive, similarly structured choice questions, a process the authors call ‘adaptation.’ This means they processed less information, learned to weigh certain attributes more heavily, or adopted mental shortcuts for combining attributes. . . . Adaptation could also be reduced or delayed by repeatedly changing the format of the task or adding filler questions or breaks.” Quality of data collected can start to decrease after 6 to 8 too-similar questions.  This paper is published in the Journal of Marketing Research.

“Surveys With Repetitive Questions Yield Bad Data, Study Finds.”  2022.  Press release, University of California, Riverside,

McDonald, Bockler, and Kanske studied how hearing different sorts of music influences our thinking about other people.  They determined that “Music is a human universal and has the ability to evoke powerful, genuine emotions. But does music influence our capacity to understand and feel with others? A growing body of evidence indicates that empathy (sharing another’s feelings) and compassion (a feeling of concern toward others) are behaviorally and neutrally distinct, both from each other and from the social–cognitive process theory of mind (ToM; i.e., inferring others’ mental states). . . . we found enhanced empathy and compassion when emotional, but not when neutral music was present during videos displaying emotionally negative narrations. No such enhancement was present for ToM performance. Similarly, prosocial decision making increased after emotionally negative videos with emotional music. These findings demonstrate how emotional music can enhance empathic responding, compassion and prosocial decisions.”

Brennan McDonald, Anne Bockler, and Philipp Kanske. 2022. “Soundtrack to the Social World:  Emotional Music Enhances Empathy, Compassion, and Prosocial Decisions but Not Theory of Mind.”  Emotion, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 19-29,

Chang and colleagues investigated factors that contribute to spending time in nature.  They found that there are genetic influences on the amount of time people are likely to spend in natural spaces and also on human desire to be in nature.

Chia-Chen Chang, Daniel Cox, Qiao Fan, Thi Nghiem, Claudia Tan, Rachel Oh, Brenda Lin, Danielle Shanahan, Richard Fuller, Kevin Gaston, and L. Carrasco.  2022. “People’s Desire to be in Nature and How They Experience It Are Partially Heritable.”  PLOS Biology, vol. 20, no. 2, e3001500,


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