Latest Blog Posts

Ouyang and colleagues learned how significantly the way product options are presented influences impressions formed; their findings are likely applicable more generally than the specific context investigated.  The researchers report that “Many retailers use seemingly innocuous dividing lines to separate product alternatives on their websites or product catalogs. . . . a dividing line can influence consumers' perceived quantity of the product alternatives displayed. . . . consumers perceive a smaller number of products displayed on a page when these products are separated by a dividing line compared to when they are not. This effect occurs because the dividing line separates the products into top versus bottom (or left vs. right) segments, such that participants' visual attention is largely drawn to the top (or the left) where their eyes first fixate. Consequently, participants tend to estimate the total number of items based on the subset they pay attention to. In addition, the effect . . . can hold regardless of line orientation. Finally, it can have several marketing outcomes, such as higher willingness to buy and lower post-choice satisfaction.”

Jun Ouyang, Yanli Jia, and Zhaoyang Guo.  “The Effects of a Dividing Line in a Product Assortment on Perceived Quantity, Willingness to Buy, and Choice Satisfaction.”  Psychology and Marketing, in press,

Cosgun and associates set out to learn how wall coverings influence perceptions of cafés.  They report on a virtual reality based research project: “This study aims to determine the effects of wall covering materials (wood, concrete and metal) used indoors on participants’ perceptual evaluations. . . . Cafes using light-coloured wall covering materials were perceived more favourably than cafes using dark-coloured wall covering materials, and cafes with light-coloured wooden wall coverings were considered as a warmer material (sic) than cafes using concrete and metal.”

Busra Cosgun, Kemal Yildirim, Mehmet Hidayetoglu. 2022. “Effect of Wall Covering Materials on the Perception of Café Environments.”  Facilities, vol. 40, no. ¾, pp. 214-232,

Sirolo and team investigated how moving from private offices to an activity-based workplace influences work environment satisfaction one year after the move.  They learned via data collected from people who had relocated from private offices to activity-based offices that “personnel’s criticisms concerned the reasons for the change, their opportunities to influence the office design and the extent to which their views were taken into account. Environmental satisfaction decreased after moving to the ABO. The personnel’s ratings of the workplace change process before the relocation were associated with the later change in environmental satisfaction. . . . degree of agreement with management’s reasons for the change was the strongest predictor of the change in environmental satisfaction. Organizations that move from private offices to an ABO should invest in high-quality change management and simultaneously develop both work and facilities. Special attention should be paid to clarifying the rationale for the change to the employees and to providing them with opportunities to influence during the change. Organizations should continue to monitor user experiences and evaluate the effects of the change after the office redesign and should take corrective action as needed.”

Pia Sirolo, Annu Haapakangas, Marjaana Lahtinen, and Virpi Ruohomaki.  2022. “Workplace Change Process and Satisfaction with Activity-Based Office.”  Facilities, vol. 40, no. 15/16, pp. 17-39,

Yildirim and colleagues set out to learn more about how design influences user assessments of workplaces.  They investigated, via a survey distributed in Ankara, Turkey, “the effects of location of closed offices on the front facade, rear facade and side facade plans and the indoor layout (left and right users’ cabinets) on perceptual evaluations of users of physical environmental factors. . . . it was determined that office users on the front and side facades generally perceived more positively the offices’ environmental factors than office users on the back facade. In addition, it was determined that offices with storage cabinets located to the right of users (Type A) were perceived more positively than storage cabinets located to the left of users (Type B).”

Kemal Yildirim, Mehmet Hidayetoglu, and Sinem Unuvar.  2022. “The Effects of Location and Layout of Offices on Perceptual Evaluations of Users.”  Facilities, vol. 40, no. ½, pp. 1-19,

Suhaimi and teammates studied aesthetic preferences.  They learned that “There is a long history of humans attempting to understand what drives aesthetic preference. One line of inquiry examines the effects of typicality and novelty on aesthetic responses to designed products. There is currently a wide support towards the ‘Most Advanced Yet Acceptable’ (MAYA) principle, and studies underpinning this have focused on everyday objects. Despite the differences in the function of everyday objects, what they all have in common is their visibility. This does not tell us whether the aesthetic processing will be the same when applied to less visible objects. A study was undertaken using industrial boilers as stimuli and conducted on 7-point Likert scales with participants from Australia and China. The results are unequivocal: novelty makes a medium contribution, while typicality makes a low contribution. This is inconsistent with the notion that typicality is a major determinant of aesthetic preference.”

Safia Suhaimi, Blair Kuys, Deirdre Barron, Nuoya Li, Zainurul Rahman, and Allan Whitfield.  “Robing the Extremes of Aesthetics:  The Role of Typicality and Novelty in the Aesthetic Preference of Industrial Boilers.”  Empirical Studies of the Arts, in press,

Van Kerckhove and teammates probed how form influences impressions made.  Their work “proposes surface mimicry—that is, designing a product to visually resemble another product—as an effective intervention to communicate property information to consumers. Specifically, it advances the notion that exposure to surface mimicry primes property mapping, a thinking style that leads consumers to transfer property information from one product onto another. To this end, three studies show that exposure to a target food product (e.g., kiwifruit) mimicking visual characteristics of another, modifier food product (e.g., popsicle) induces a transfer of attribute values of the modifier onto the target product for salient, alignable attributes on which the products differ (e.g., tastiness). . . . the effect is shown to persist, but it attenuates [reduces] when the difference in belief(s) about the target and mimicked product is substantial (e.g., the taste expectations for Brussels sprouts and popsicles).”

Anneleen Van Kerckhove, Caroline De Bondt, and Maggie Geuens.  “Products in Disguise:  Communicating Product Benefits with Surface Mimicry.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press, ucac015,

Zeloni and Pavani report on sounds that humans link to sadness.  They share that “In Western music and in music of other cultures, minor chords, modes and intervals evoke sadness. . . . we asked expert musicians to transcribe into music scores spontaneous vocalizations of pre-verbal infants to test the hypothesis that melodic intervals that evoke sadness in music (i.e., minor 2nd) are more represented in cry compared to neutral utterances. Results showed that the unison, major 2nd, minor 2nd, major 3rd, minor 3rd, perfect 4th and perfect 5th are all represented in infant vocalizations. However, minor 2nd outnumbered all other intervals in cry vocalizations, but not in neutral babbling. These findings suggest that the association between minor intervals and sadness may develop in humans because a critically relevant social cue (infant cry) contains a statistical regularity: the association between minor 2nd and negative emotional valence.”

Gabriele Zeloni and Francesco Pavani.  “Minor Second Intervals:  A Shared Signature for Infant Cries and Sadness in Music.”  i-Perception, in press,

The Mason team’s findings support calls to keep light levels low in spaces where people are sleeping.  The group reports that their “laboratory study shows that, in healthy adults, one night of moderate (100 lx) light exposure during sleep increases nighttime heart rate, decreases heart rate variability (higher sympathovagal balance), and increases next-morning insulin resistance when compared to sleep in a dimly lit (<3 lx) environment. Moreover, a positive relationship between higher sympathovagal balance and insulin levels suggests that sympathetic activation may play a role in the observed light-induced changes in insulin sensitivity. . . . Attention to avoiding exposure to light at night during sleep may be beneficial for cardiometabolic health.”

Ivy Mason, Daniela Grimaldi, Kathryn Reid, and Phyllis Zee.  2022. “Light Exposure During Sleep Impairs Cardiometabilic Function.”  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 119, no. 12, e2113290119,

Research by Wali and teammates confirms that walkability boosts health.  They share that they examined “high resolution data for 476 participants in the Rails and Health study on health care costs, mode specific MVPA[ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity], parcel-level built environment, and neighborhood perception surveys. . . .  A 1% increase in bike, walk, and transit-related MVPA was associated with lower health care costs by −0.28%, −0.09%, and −0.27% respectively. A one-unit increase in neighborhood walkability index correlates with a 6.48% reduction in health care costs. . . . The results suggest the potential to alter behaviors and lower health care costs through retrofitting neighborhoods.”

Behram Wali, Lawrence Frank, Deborah Young, Brian Saelens, Richard Meenan, John Dickerson, Erin Keast, Jennifer Kuntz, and Stephen Fortmann.  “Pathways from Built Environment to Health Care Costs:  Linking Objectively Measured Built Environment with Physical Activity and Health Care Expenditures.”  Environment and Behavior, in press,

Research by Londono and de Maya indicates how attentive we are to human-like design elements.  The duo share that “The current research focuses on how anthropomorphizing [providing them with human characteristics] retail cues such as dump bins influences consumer behavior. . . . Using eye-tracking technology in an ecological shopping environment, we tracked shoppers' gazes through the store and analyzed their visual attention. Results show that attaching anthropomorphic forms to dump bins positively affects attitudes toward the displayed products. In addition, we demonstrate that displaying a vice product in an anthropomorphic dump bin increases both attitude toward the product and purchase intention, compared to the display of a virtue product. These findings suggest that anthropomorphism has an empathy-helping underlying psychological mechanism that, when applied to retail communication activities, can contribute to justifying the purchase of vice products.”

Juan Londono and Salvador de Maya.  “The Influence of Anthropomorphic Cues in Retailing:  The Moderating Effect of Vice Versus Virtue Products.”  Psychology of Marketing, in press,


Subscribe to Latest Blog Posts