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Altmann, Brachmann, and Redies manipulated the colors originally used by artists in abstract paintings and identified important implications of particular color choices. The trio reports that “Despite the great diversity in the use of color between epochs, there are some surprisingly stable and unifying features in chromatic properties across visual artworks. For example, artists’ palettes seem to be biased toward the yellow-red [including orange-] range of the spectrum. Here, we assess the impact of a holistic color manipulation (i.e., rotating the color gamut) on aesthetic liking and perceived colorfulness of abstract paintings. We presented 6 versions each of 100 abstract artworks that differed only in the rotational degree of their color gamut within the CIELAB space. Results indicated a very stable preference for the original color compositions—both on a participant level and on an item level. Furthermore, participants perceived original color compositions as more colorful than rotated versions. . . . it seems that the aesthetic appeal of original artworks arises from nontrivial color features, which are characterized by their distribution within the visible spectrum.”  In the manipulation, the color of every pixel in digital versions of the colorful original artworks was rotated the same distance on the color space (60 degrees for each rotation).  These rotations resulted in images that were perceived to be less colorful, even though the same number of colors were present as in the originals, and the “rotated” images were liked less than the originals, even if the original had not been seen before by the study participant.  Statistical analyses completed indicated that participants did not simply prefer colorful images.

Carolin Altmann, Anselm Brachmann, and Christop Redies.  2021. “Liking of Art and the Perception of Color.”  Journal of Experimental Psychology, Human Perception, and Performance, vol. 47, no 4, pp. 545-564,

Researchers have tied citizen happiness to urban greenspace.  Kwon and colleagues report that “By measuring the urban green space score (UGS) from high-resolution satellite imagery of 90 global cities covering 179,168 km2 and 230 million people in 60 developed countries, we find that the amount of urban green space and GDP are correlated with a nation’s happiness level. More specifically, urban green space and GDP are each individually associated with happiness. Yet, only urban green space is related to happiness in the 30 wealthiest countries. . . . These findings corroborate the importance of maintaining urban green space as a place for social cohesion to support people’s happiness. . . . While our findings confirmed a strong correlation between urban green space and happiness in developed countries, the same positive relation holds for developing countries, albeit to a smaller degree.”

Oh-Hyun Kwon, Inho Hong, Jeasurk Yang, Donghee Wohn, Woo-Sung Jung, and Meeyoung Cha.  2021.  “Urban Green Space and Happiness in Developed Countries.”  EPJ Data Science, vol. 10, 28,

Xia and colleagues link feeling nostalgic and the purchase of new products.  The research team reports that their “research investigates the motivational effect of nostalgia induced by aversive and threatening situations (e.g., COVID-19) on new product purchase intentions. . . .  perceived COVID severity induces feelings of nostalgia and that heightened nostalgia boosts purchase intentions for new products. We replicate the effect with nostalgia triggered by a different threat (i.e., social unrest). . . . by inducing nostalgia through a threatening personal situation (i.e., mortality salience . . .) and manipulating nostalgia directly . . . we further generalize the link between nostalgia and new product purchase intentions beyond COVID-19. . . . While consumer sentiment may be down during COVID or other negative natural social situations, nostalgia is an effective coping mechanism . . . and produces important motivating downstream effects. Nostalgia motivates the desire for the search for meaning. Trying new products is one way to satisfy that desire.”

Lan Xia, Joyce Wang, and Shelle Santana.  2021. “Nostalgia:  Triggers and Its Role on New Product Purchase Intentions.”  Journal of Business Research, vol. 135, pp. 183-194,

New research indicates how to manage early and late stages of experiences via design or other means when both can not be supported equally. A team lead by Keren has determined that “early experiences may have a larger effect on our mood than more recent events. . . . People routinely report on their moods during everyday activities and when they interact with clinicians providing mental health care. It is commonly believed that the most recent experiences during a task or interaction with someone else may have the strongest effect on how an individual feels at a given time. But in a series of experiments, researchers show that early experiences can have a more significant impact on someone’s mood. . . .  imaging data also suggested that earlier experiences . . . ‘switched on’ parts of the frontal brain associated with moods, rather than later events.” The same experience-based outcomes were found in adolescents and adults.

“Early Experiences Have Larger Effect in Mood Than More Recent Ones, Study Suggests.”  2021.  Press release, eLife,

Eijkelenboom, Oritz, and Bluyssen studied links between environmental design and health-related issues. They determined via data collected through onsite visits and a survey distributed to people working in various sections of Dutch healthcare facilities that “building-related aspects that were associated with dry eyes and headaches were work in an office versus consultation room and the absence of windows to the façade and corridor. Additionally, the occurrence of dry eyes was associated with the presence of a rotating heat exchanger, absence of windows to the corridor, absence of windows to the façade and number of persons in the room. The last three tended to be associated with headaches. Dry eyes tended to be associated with the cleaning frequency of the ventilation grills and work in an office versus treatment room. . . . 81% of those working most frequently in a room with a façade window could ‘technically’ open the window. . . . occupants who worked at an office without openable windows were more likely to suffer from dry eyes.”  In consultation and treatment rooms window treatments could be used to influence window views but this was not necessarily the case in reception and office areas.  

AnneMarie Eijkelenboom, Marco Oritz, and Philomena Bluyssen.  “Building Characteristics Associated with Self-Reported Dry Eyes and Headaches of Outpatient Workers in Hospital Buildings.”  Indoor and Built Environment, in press,

Zhang and colleagues probed the value of physical stores.  They share that they hypothesized “that one benefit of the store to the retailer is to enhance customer value by providing the physical engagement needed to purchase deep products – products that require ample inspection in order for customers to make an informed decision. . . . we find that buying deep products in the physical store transitions customers to the high-value state more than other product/channel combinations. . . . Customers purchase a deep product from the physical store. They reflect on this physical engagement experience, which, because it is tangible, concrete, and multi-sensory, enables them to develop strong learnings about the retailer. This experiential knowledge precipitates repatronage and generalizes to future online purchases online in the same category and in adjacent categories, thus contributing to higher customer value. This research suggests multichannel retailers use a combination of right-channel and right-product strategies for customer development and provides implications for experiential retail designs.”

Jonathan Zhang, Chun-Wei Chang, and Scott Neslin.  “EXPRESS: How Physical Stores Enhance Customer Value: The Importance of Product Inspection Depth.”  Journal of Marketing, in press,

A research team lead by Claesen confirms the value of greenery near elementary school buildings. The group report that “Greenery was measured within school boundaries and surrounding Euclidean buffers [essentially, rings around the schools] (100, 300, 1000 and 2000 m) using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. . . . . Greenery was positively associated with Reading [test] scores in Year 3 (all buffers except 2000 m) and in Year 5 (all buffers), with Numeracy [test scores] in Years 3 and 5 (all buffers) and with Grammar & Punctuation [test scores] in Year 5 (all buffers). . . .  TRAP [traffic related air pollution] partially mediated [explained] associations of greenery within 300 m with Numeracy in Year 3 and Grammar & Punctuation in Year 5, and within 2000 m for Reading in Year 5.”

Joep Claesen, Amanda Wheeler, Gonnie Klabbers, David Gonzalez, Miguel Molina, Rachel Tham, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, and Alison Carver.  2021.  “Associations of Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Greenery with Academic Outcomes Among Primary Schoolchildren.”  Environmental Research, vol. 199, 111325,

Zhang, Yang, Jin, and Li have learned more about how the real environments in which virtual experiences take place influence those virtual experiences.  They state that “The experience in virtual reality (VR) is unique, in that observers are in a real-world location while browsing through a virtual scene. . . . Participants performed distance judgments in VR, which rendered either virtual indoor or outdoor scenes. Experiments were also carried out in either real-world indoor or outdoor locations. . . . . our results suggest that both the virtual and real-world environments have an impact on distance judgment in VR. Especially, the real-world environment where a person is physically located during a VR experience influences the person’s distance estimation in VR.”  The specific findings of this study are not as important as the fact that it makes it clear that researchers need to learn a great deal more about how the real environments in which VR studies take place influence results of VR studies.

Junjun Zhang, Xiaoyan Yang, Zhenlan Jin, and Ling Li.  “Distance Estimation in Virtual Reality is Affected By Both the Virtual and the Real-World Environments.”  i-Perception, in press,

A Tomasi-lead team has added to our understanding of the role scents play in our lives; their findings are published in the Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences.  They determined via “Olfactory Virtual Reality (OVR) — a new form of VR that incorporates the sense of smell into its augmented reality  . . . . that stimulating the olfactory system via scent in practitioner-administered virtual realities can trigger memory, cognition and emotion, and may improve the therapeutic benefits of augmented realities targeting chronic pain, anxiety and mood disorders. . . . the team created a [virtual forest and campsite] simulation complete with a virtual tent, picnic table, fire pit, logs and other objects to touch, and aromas of fresh bacon and toasted marshmallows.  Participants — all inpatient psychiatry patients that voluntary participated in the study — were immersed in the forest camp environment for 8–12-minutes, in weekly OVR sessions that coincided with their standard clinical treatment plans. Following the OVR sessions, participants reported significant and immediate improvements to their anxiety, stress and pain levels that lasted up to three hours after a session.”

“Olfactory Virtual Realities Show Promise for Mental Health Practices and Integrative Care.” 2021.  Press release, The University of Vermont,

Recently published research confirms the value of spending time in nature.  Castelo lead a team that determined via lab and field studies that “exposure to nature increases a sense of self-transcendence and prosocial behavior.  Self-transcendence involves feeling deeply connected to something greater than oneself, including past and future generations.  Prosocial behaviors include donating money to charity and prioritizing others above the self. . . .  Spending time in nature has many psychological benefits for people, including stress reduction and improved mood.”

Noah Castelo, Katherine White, and Miranda Goode.  “Exposure to Nature Promotes Self-Transcendence and Prosocial Behavior.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press,


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