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Welcome to the Research Design Connections blog, started in 2007. Recent blog entries are available here. Earlier blog entries (one for every working day since the beginning of May, 2007) are available to subscribers.

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Biliciler, Raghunathan, and Ward evaluated how disorder influences product assessments.  They report that “an advertisement for kitchen tools might display the tools alongside various ingredients, or an advertisement for a bookstore might showcase pictures of the store’s interior. One underlying visual characteristic of such images is the degree of ‘entropy’—or disorder—in their content. . . . we find that while high-entropy images shift consumers’ temporal focus to the past, low-entropy images shift their temporal focus to the future. These entropy-induced shifts in temporal focus influence consumers’ decisions. . . . consumers evaluate past-related (e.g., vintage) products more favorably when they are accompanied by high-entropy images and future-related (e.g., futuristic) products more favorably when they are accompanied by low-entropy images.”

Gunes Biliciler, Rajagopal Raghunathan, and Adrian Ward.  2022. “Consumers as Naïve Physicists:  How Visual Entropy Cues Shift Temporal Focus and Influence Product Evaluations.”  Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 48, no. 6, pp. 1010-1031,

Park, Kim, Lee, and Heo studied how thoughts about nature evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic.  They report that “This study provides a novel approach to understand human perception changes in their experiences of and interactions with public greenspaces during the early months of COVID-19. Using social media data and machine learning techniques, the study delivers new understandings of how people began to feel differently about their experiences compared to pre-COVID times. The study illuminates a renewed appreciation of nature as well as an emerging but prominent pattern of emotional and spiritual experiences expressed through a social media platform. . . . The study highlights the preeminent roles parks and greenspaces play during the pandemic and guides a new direction in future park development to support more natural elements and nature-oriented experiences from which emotional and spiritual well-being outcomes can be drawn.”

Sohyun Park, Seungman Kim, Jaehoon Lee, and Biyoung Heo.  2022. “Evolving Norms:  Social Media Data Analysis on Parks and Greenspaces Perception Changes Before and After the COVID 19 Pandemic Using a Machine Learning Approach.”  Scientific Reports, vol. 12, article no. 13246,

Marquet and colleagues link area walkability and greenness to the activity levels of users.  They found “Using a nationwide sample of working female adults . . . [and] seven days of GPS and accelerometry data. . . . [that] Higher activity space walkability was associated with higher levels of moderate-vigorous physical activity, and higher activity space greenness was associated with greater numbers of steps per week. . . . Highest levels of moderate-vigorous physical activity were observed for participants with both high walkability and high greenness in their activity spaces. This study contributes evidence that higher levels of physical activity occur in environments with more dense, diverse, and well-connected built environments, and with higher amounts of vegetation.”

Oriol Marquet, Jana Hirsch, Jacqueline Kerr, Marta Jankowska, Jonathan Mitchell, Jaime Hart, Francine Laden, J. Hipp, and Peter James.  2022. “GPS-Based Activity Space Exposure to Greenness and Walkability Is Associated With Increased Accelerometer-Based Physical Activity.”  Environment International, vol. 165, 107317,

Van der Groen and colleagues link sensory experiences and learning outcomes.  They share that “Transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) is a non-invasive electrical brain stimulation method that is increasingly employed in studies of human brain function and behavior, in health and disease. tRNS is effective in modulating perception acutely and can improve learning. . . . Prolonged stimulation with tRNS, either as one longer application, or multiple shorter applications, may engage plasticity mechanisms that can result in long-term benefits.”  The researchers suggest that although we often try to find quiet places to study, certain sorts of noise may boost our ability to learn.

Onno van der Groen, Weronika Potok, Nicole Wenderoth, Grace Edwards, Jason Mattingley, and Dylan Edwards.  2022. “Using Noise for the Better:  The Effects of Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation on the Brain and Behavior.”  Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, vol. 138, 104702,

Chen, Ruttan, and Feinberg studied how art becomes sacred and their findings are likely applicable to other sorts of objects/situations.  The researchers report that they “used art as a case study to develop and test a theory wherein collective transcendence beliefs—beliefs that an object links the collective to something larger and more important than the self, spanning space and time—are a key determinant of the sacredness of objects. . . . heightening  [emphasizing] the collective spirituality and historical significance of an artwork resulted in participants viewing the artwork as more collectively meaningful, and subsequently more sacred . . . worthy of protection from the profane . . . and eliciting moral outrage in the face of desecration. . . . collective transcendence beliefs elevate various forms of art (sculpture, music, and painting) to be held as sacred.” During the research conducted, study participants came to find sacred “even an amateur sketch done by the first author.”  So, art seems sacred when people are lead to believe that it connects humanity to something greater than itself and sacred art is worthy of protection.

S. Chen, R. Ruttan, and M. Feinberg.  “Collective Transcendence Beliefs Shape the Sacredness of Objects:  The Case of Art.”  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, in press,

Spence studied art linked to bodily sensations.  He shares that “In recent years, there has been something of an explosion of interest in those artworks and installations that directly foreground the bodily senses [often referred to as proprioceptive (or prop.) art]. . . . The entertainment/experiential element of such works cannot be denied, especially in an era where funding in the arts sector is so often linked to footfall. At the same time, however, a number of the works appear to be about little more than entertainment/amusement. One might wonder why such ‘edutainment’ should be placed in the art gallery rather than, say, in a museum of science or illusion. Nevertheless, in the best cases, the foregrounding, or removal, of bodily sensations that proprioceptive artworks deliver can potentially help to connect people in an increasingly digital, online, mostly audiovisual, and hence in some sense disembodied contemporary existence.”

Charles Spence. 2022. “Proprioceptive Art:  How Should It Be Defined, and Why Has It Become So Popular?”  i-Perception, vol. 13, no. 0, pp, 1-22,

Abrams writes about online trials, but her text includes insights into factors that legal professionals find significant in physical courtrooms.   Abrams shares that courtrooms “tend to feel grand and formal, bedecked with wood paneling, an American flag, and security guards.  In a more familiar setting—the living room or the break room at work—might behavior and decision-making differ? ‘Many times, when people come into the courthouse, they’re acting nonchalant,’ said Judge Richard Young. . . . ‘But once they see the courtroom, the jury chairs, the bench, and the judge wearing a black robe, they can detect that this is a serious setting and they need to act accordingly.’” Also, “it can be harder to establish rapport [in an online setting] because there are fewer nonverbal cues. . . . As a result, optimizing things such as lighting, framing, and camera angles is crucial. . . . People are seen as more trustworthy when filmed at eye level, for example, compared with when filmed from above or below.”

Zara Abrams.  2022. “Can Justice Be Served Online.”  Monitor on Psychology, vol. 53, no. 6, pp. 70-77.

Ronda and de Gracia investigated how workplace aesthetics influence decisions to join an organization.  They report that “aesthetic attributes in the workplace can be equally important in the decision-making process as non-aesthetic attributes and that aesthetic attributes deliver as much utility as non-aesthetic attributes in driving job choice. . . . These conclusions are relevant for Human Resource (HR) managers engaged in crafting job offers, who should consider that employees may improve their assessment of a job offer as a result of superior organisational aesthetics demonstrated during the recruitment process as well as in contexts where employees would be expected to combine remote and office-based work.”

Lorena Ronda and Elena de Gracia.  “Does Office Aesthetics Drive Job Choice?  Boosting Employee Experience and Well-Being Perception Through Workplace Design.”  Employee Relations, vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 1077-1091,

Colenberg  and colleagues studied available privacy and workplace satisfaction.  They report that “Eight design features were defined that were expected to influence visual, acoustic and physical privacy, noise from other people and acoustic quality, and which would be easy to report for users. Data were collected through an online survey among office workers in the Dutch public sector. . . . The data indicate that small, relatively isolated rooms predict privacy and noise satisfaction better than privacy screens, soft flooring, and visibility control. Workspace soundproofing increases satisfaction with sound privacy and acoustics, but it does not reduce noise annoyance. . . . hybrid working may increase the need for informal interaction at the office while there still is a need for privacy and quiet spaces.”

Susanne Colenberg, Natalia Herrera, and David Keyson.  2022. “Interior Design Features Predicting Satisfaction with Office Workplace Privacy and Noise.”  The 21st EuroFM Research Symposium,


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