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Researchers from the University of Exeter have identified some benefits of playing outdoors and their findings can be used to encourage the development and maintenance of outdoor play areas for children.  The investigators report, in a study published in Child Psychiatry and Human Development, that “children who spend more time playing outside had fewer ‘internalising problems’ – characterised as anxiety and depression. Those children were also more positive during the first lockdown. . . . results were consistent even after researchers factored in a wide range of demographic variables including child sex, age, parent employment status etc. and parent mental health.  The study in the Great Britain group also found that the effect was more pronounced in children from lower income families than those growing up in higher income households.”

“Children Who Play Adventurously Have Better Mental Health, Research Finds.”  2022.  Press release, University of Exeter,

Some hotels benefit more from installing electric vehicle charging stations that others.  Qian and Zhang share that “Using evidence from monthly revenue data of 2,774 hotels in Texas of United States (US) between 2015 and 2018, this paper quantifies the economic benefits of hotels hosting Tesla’s charging facilities and finds that nearby attractions amplify the benefits. . . . The findings reveal that upscale hotels benefit more than luxury as well as mid-price and cheaper hotels from hosting Tesla charging facilities. After Tesla introduced the Model 3, these benefits increased for upscale hotels but decreased for luxury hotels. These findings have important implications for the hospitality and tourism industries to better adapt to the emerging EV transition.”

Lixian Qian and Cheng Zhang.  “Complementary or Congruent?  The Effect of Hosting Tesla Charging Stations on Hotels’ Revenue.”  Journal of Travel Research, in press.

Brochu and collaborators studied links between how green an area is and the death rates of residents.  They “conducted a nationwide [in the United States] quantitative health impact assessment to estimate the predicted reduction in mortality associated with an increase in greenness across two decades (2000, 2010, and 2019). Using a recently published exposure-response function, Landsat 30 m 16-day satellite imagery from April to September, and publicly available county-level mortality data from the CDC, we calculated the age-adjusted reduction in all-cause mortality for those 65 years and older within 35 of the most populated metropolitan areas. We estimated that between 34,000 and 38,000 all-cause deaths could have been reduced in 2000, 2010, and 2019 with a local increase in green vegetation by 0.1 unit across the most populated metropolitan areas. We found that overall greenness increased across time with a 2.86% increase from 2000 to 2010 to 11.11% from 2010 to 2019.”

Paige Brochu, Marcia Jimenez, Peter James, Patrick Kinney, and Kevin Lane.  2022. “Benefits of Increasing Greenness on All-Cause Mortality in the Largest Metropolitan Areas of the United States Within the Past Two Decades.”  Frontiers in Public Health, vol. 10, 841936,

Some researchers are suggesting that smell and taste be considered one sensory channel, not two.  A paper to be published in The Quarterly Review of Biology written by Mollo and 14 colleagues “proposes the unification of all chemosensory modalities into a single sense. . . . The paper thus envisages a rupture with what emerges as one of the most deeply rooted confirmation biases in the scientific literature: the differentiation between gustation (taste) and olfaction (smell). . . . ‘The time has come to abandon the differentiation between the chemical senses and start asking better questions about the complex, nuanced, and interconnected manners by which a vast variety of chemicals have become signals crucially important to survival,’ the authors write.”

“Should All Chemosensory Modalities Be Unified Into a Single Sense?”  2022.  Press release, The University of Chicago Press Journals,

An exhibit at the Museum of Craft and Design (San Francisco; February 12 to June 5, 2022, “Living with Scents”) focuses on scent-based experiences.  The show’s website reports that “researchers and practitioners, from the neurosciences to the humanities, have strived to gain a better understanding of the sense of smell, which deeply, yet often unknowingly, shapes the way we live: our eating habits, our social interactions, our emotions, memories, and even our well-being and safety. . . . scents may thus be purposefully used to improve many aspects of our lives. . . . In the hands of contemporary designers, whose job it is to consider the interactions of minds, bodies, and things, scents are mediated in innovative ways to raise a form of new sensory awareness. . . . Working with and around the sense of smell, taking into account its neurobiological, historical, social, and aesthetic specificities, these practitioners [whose works are being presented] attempt to change the way we relate to and interact with the world.”

Straffon and colleagues assessed people’s responses to artworks that they created.  The researchers report that “Self-made objects tend to be favored, remembered, valued, and ranked above and beyond objects that are not related to the self. On this basis, we set out to test whether the effects of self-relevance would apply to visual art, and via what mechanisms. In three studies, participants created abstract paintings that were then incorporated in a dot-probe task, pairing self-made and other-made stimuli. Our findings confirm that attention and preference are higher for self-made (vs. other-made) artworks.”

Larissa Straffon, Georugina Agnew, Chenika Desch-Bailey, Evy van Berlo, Gosia Goclowska, and Mariska Kret.  “Visual Attention Bias for Self-Made Artworks.”  Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, in press,

Using the Outdoor Recreation Valuation Tool (ORVal), developed at the University of Exeter, researchers have determined the values of parks, beaches, and other green spaces in the United Kingdom.  The investigators found that “small parks deliver ‘pound for pound’ the highest recreation value, and that good access to quality green spaces, the weather and dog ownership are key drivers of increased outdoor recreation. . . . Large country parks and beaches are generally the most valuable green spaces. People from ethnic minority backgrounds and in less affluent socioeconomic groups are less likely to engage in outdoor recreation, even when given the same recreation opportunities. . . . Dog owners are 4 times (3.7) more likely to use recreation spaces but having children does not significantly impact recreation habits. . . . Key drivers of recreation include the proximity of the site, ease of travel, whether the park is a mix of grass and woodland and the availability of car parks and children’s play areas.”

“Parks and Green Spaces of England and Wales Valued at 25.6 Billion Pounds a Year.”  2022.  Press release, University of Exeter,

Birman and Ferguson increase our understanding of the cognitive effects of listening to music.  They report that their study participantswere randomly assigned to four different groups: silence (no music), classical music, rock, and the final group could choose any genre they liked. The California Verbal Learning Test—Second Edition (CVLT-II) was administered to assess participant’s memory. Anxiety was also assessed before and after the memory test to see whether the music had any effect. Generally, results suggested that music presence or genre had little tangible effect on memory or anxiety.”

Anna Birman and Christopher Ferguson.  “Impact of Different Genres of Background Music on a Memory Task.”  Journal of Individual Differences, in press,

Soininen and colleagues thoroughly investigated the repercussions of having green walls in Finnish offices.  They found that “air-circulating green walls may induce beneficial changes in a human microbiome. . . . The green walls (size 2 m × 1 m × 0.3 m) used in this study . . . circulate indoor air. They first absorb the indoor air through the plant roots and soilless substrate, then automated fans circulate the air back to the room. When the indoor air passes through the green wall, volatile organic compounds (VOC) are efficiently removed via biofiltration by microbes, plants and the growing medium. . . . Each green wall contains three plant taxa (heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens), dragon tree (Dracaena sp.) and bird’s nest fern (Asplenium antiquum) growing altogether in 63 units. Each unit consists of two to four plant individuals. . . . Spending time in green wall rooms seems to be related to increasing abundance of health-supporting skin microbiota within a relatively short time period of two weeks.”  Previous research has identified positive cognitive and emotional effects of in-office green walls (and plants generally).

L. Soininen, M. Roslund, N. Nurminen, R. Puhakka, O. Laitinen, H. Hyoty, A. Sinkkonen, and ADELE Research Group.  2022. “Indoor Green Wall Affects Health-Associated Commensal Skin Microbiota and Enhances Immune Regulation:  A Randomized Trial Among Urban Office Workers.” Scientific Reports, vol. 12, 6518,

Jimenez and colleagues found a link between exposure to green space and higher levels of cognitive functioning. They report that, using data from 13,594 women (mean age 61), they determined that “increasing green space was associated with higher scores of overall cognition and psychomotor speed/attention. In contrast, there was no association between green space and learning/working memory. . . . Green space can decelerate cognitive decline by supporting physical activity, psychological restoration, or reducing exposure to air pollution. . . . Residential exposure to green space was assessed using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, a satellite-derived indicator of the quantity of ground vegetation. Landsat satellite data at 270-m and 1230-m buffers around each participants’ residential addresses in 2013 were used. . . . This difference in scores is similar to the difference observed in women 1 year apart in age in the data. . . . These findings suggest that increasing residential green space may be associated with modest benefits in cognition in middle-aged women.”

Marcia Jimenez, Elise Elliott, Nicole DeVille, Francine Laden, Jaime Hart, Jennifer Weuve, Francine Grodstein, and Peter James.  2022. “Residential Green Space and Cognitive Function in a Large Cohort of Middle-Aged Women.”  JAMA Network Open, vol. 5, no. 4, e229306,


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