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Spence, Carvalho, and Howes studied sensory experiences categorized as “metallic.” They report that “Many metallic visual stimuli, especially the so-called precious metals, have long had a rich symbolic meaning for humans. Intriguingly, however, while metallic is used to describe sensations associated with pretty much every sensory modality, the descriptor is normally positively valenced in the case of vision. . . . outside the visual modality, metallic would often appear to be used to describe those sensations that are unfamiliar and unpleasant as much as to refer to any identifiable perceptual quality (or attribute).  . . . the enduring question is raised as to why those chemosensory stimuli that happen to be described as smelling or tasting metallic should always be negatively valenced, given that many other food stimuli that are initially offensive come to be liked. One tentative suggestion here is that at least in certain cases there may be an evolutionarily preserved avoidance response linked to blood.”

Charles Spence, Fabiana Carvalho, and David Howes.  “Metallic: A Bivalent Ambimodal Material Property?” i-Perception, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/20416695211037710

Shepley, Kolakowski, Ziebarth, and Valenzuela-Mendoza assessed how the COVID-19 pandemic will influence the design health, hospitality, and senior care environments. They share that “An extensive literature review was conducted, the results of which were distributed to a group of experts . . . specializing in health, hospitality and design. After receiving their input, expert focus groups were conducted. . . . Healthcare facilities will require additional space, access to the outdoors, service hubs, and flexibility in garage and use of outdoor space. Hospitality settings will employ new cleaning methods, use of robotics, improved HVAC, Wellness programming, workspace options, and flexible food service operations. Senior facilities will engage more technology, socially distance visiting facilities, increase access to nature, and smaller scale residential clusters.. . . By considering health and hospitality simultaneously, we come to understand the symbiotic benefits of applying goals from one sector to the other. . . . By implementing some of the proposed design recommendations generated by this research, we will be better prepared to face future challenges.”

Mardelle Shepley, Heather Kolakowski, Nicolas Ziebarth, and Ellie Valenzuela-Mendoza. “How COVID-19 Will Change Health, Hospitality and Senior Facility Design.”  Frontiers in Built Environment, in press, doi:  10.3389/fbuil.2021.740903

Researchers continue to investigate the psychological implications of acoustic experiences.  A team lead by Sierra-Polanco reports that “Three independent room acoustic parameters were considered: gain (alteration of the sidetone or playback of one’s own voice), reverberation time, and background noise. An increase in the sidetone led to a decrease in vocal sound pressure levels, thus increasing vocal comfort and vocal control. This effect was consistent in the different reverberation times considered. Mid-range reverberation times (T30 ≈ 1.3 s) led to a decrease in vocal sound pressure level along with an increase in vocal comfort and vocal control, however, the effect of the reverberation time was smaller than the effect of the gain. The presence of noise amplified the aforementioned effects for the variables analyzed.”

Tomas Sierra-Polanco, Lady Cantor-Cutiva, Eric Hunter, and Pasquale Bottalico.  2021.  “Changes of Voice Production in Artificial Acoustic Environments.”  Frontiers in Built Environment, vol. 7, 666152, https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2021.666152

Baobeid and teammates built on earlier research to investigate what makes an area walkable. They share that “This review advocates that long-term health benefits from walking and physical activity are the premier incentive to repurpose our cities to be more sustainable and more walking friendly, and spark behavioral change into reducing car dependency for all daily transportations. . . . there is a lack of emphasis on air quality and thermal stress in the design for walkability, despite the being a major factor in in taking the decision to walk and the possibility of nullifying any health benefits from walking.”

Abdulla Baobeid, Muammer Koc, and Sami Al-Ghamdi.  “Walkability and Its Relationships with Health, Sustainability and Livability:  Elements of Physical Environment and Evaluation Frameworks.”  Frontiers in Built Environment, in press, doi: 10.3389/fbuil.2021.721218

Menser and colleagues investigated what makes an image seem like it shows a nature scene.  They determined that “canopies [vegetation over eight feet tall], bodies of water, and mountains were found to be highly representative of nature, whereas unnatural elements [objects and man-made structures, such as boats and walkways, respectively] and close-range views [a view focused on a singular object or small area (e.g., flowers, plants, etc.)] were inversely related. Understanding semantic categories most representative of nature is useful in developing nature-centered interventions in behavioral performance research and other neuroimaging modalities.”

Teri Menser, Juha Baek, Jacob Siahaan, Jabob Kolman, Domenica Delgado, and Bita Kash. 2021. “Validating Visual Stimuli of Nature Images and Identifying the Representative Characteristics.”  Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, 685815, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.685815

Li, Zhai, Dou, and Liu studied how landscape preferences vary from situation to situation.  They determined that “college students in varied moods all prefer natural landscapes and open view landscapes, a result that is consistent with previous research. . . . there are significant differences in the degree of naturalness of the preferred landscape among college students with different moods. . . .  instead of a natural landscape, most respondents in a fatigued mood preferred a nature-dominated landscape with a small amount of built environment. . . . landscape architecture practices should include diverse spaces in the future that are characterized by variable landscape visual openness designs, thereby providing people in different moods with convenient access to restorative places.”

Kankan Li, Yang Zhai, Long Dou, and Jianjun Liu.  2021. “A Preliminary Exploration of Landscape Preferences Based on Naturalness and Visual Openness for College Students with Different Moods.”  Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, 629650, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.629650

Zhou, Tagliaro, and Hua studied adjacency planning.  They share that “In large organizations, space planning relies on workgroup leaders to indicate spatial adjacency preferences. . . .The authors studied a large company’s spatial adjacency planning with an in-depth analysis of its formal organizational structure and collaboration network. A sample of 183 managers was surveyed regarding groups with whom they want to be spatially adjacent and groups with whom they mostly interact. The data enabled us to test three structural factors related to adjacency preference: department affiliation, workgroup’s prestige and collaboration relation. . . .results suggest that department affiliation and collaboration relations are significantly correlated to adjacency preferences. The authors did not find evidence supporting the notion that a workgroup’s prestige affects the preference. Among the three factors, collaboration relation best predicts the preference.”

Yaoyi Zhou, Chiara Tagliaro, and Ying Hua.  2021. “Networked ‘Bubbles’:  Study Workgroups’ Spatial Adjacency Preference Using Social Network Analysis Methods.”  Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 87-105, https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRE-06-2020-0024

Puglisi and colleagues studied the experiences of people working remotely and it seems likely that their findings can be applied more generally.  The researchers report that data they collected via surveys completed by remote workers “show that 55% of the workers perform their activity in an isolated room of the home environment, 43% in a shared room (e.g., kitchen, living room), and 2% in an outdoor space, with the majority of workers (57%) performing activity without other people in the environment. . . . 25% of workers recognize the noise generated by people (e.g., talking, moving, calling, listening to music) as the main source of disturbance. The negative consequences of noise annoyance during the remote working hours are mainly related to a loss of concentration and to a difficulty in relaxing. Furthermore, workers reported to get easily irritated by noise generated from the neighborhoods or from the housemates as it tends to distract from finishing a task.”  The researchers suggest that developing separate work rooms in a home can help eliminate some of the issues raised and, when that is not possible, adding “sound shields to give a greater separation of the workstation from the rest of the shared environment.”

Giuseppina Puglisi, Sonja Di Blasio, Louena Shtrepi, and Arianna Astolfi.  2021. “Remote Working in the COVID-19 Pandemic:  Results from a Questionnaire on the Perceived Noise Annoyance.”  Frontiers in Built Environment, vol. 7, 688484.https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2021.688484

Lee and Chen’s work indicates that face masks may influence distances people keep from each other.  Lee and Chen report that via data collected through an online survey they found that “A smaller IPS [interpersonal space] was observed when participants faced confederates wearing surgical masks than in the no-mask condition. Female dyads tended to maintain a smaller IPS than did both male and mixed-sex dyads, and Taiwanese participants maintained a significantly larger IPS than did Mainland Chinese participants. . . . When facing a confederate who did not wear a face mask, the participants tended to maintain a larger IPS. . . . Taiwanese participants maintained the longest distance from a confederate without a face mask, whereas the Mainland Chinese participants maintained the shortest distance when encountering a masked confederate.”

Yu-Chi Lee and Yi-Lang Chen. 2021.  “Influence of Wearing Surgical Mask on Interpersonal Space Perception Between Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese People.”  Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, 692404, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.692404

Kim and colleagues investigated how people who are blind think about color.  They determined that “congenitally blind and sighted individuals share in-depth understanding of object color. Blind and sighted people share similar intuitions about which objects will have consistent colors, make similar predictions for novel objects, and give similar explanations. Living among people who talk about color is sufficient for color understanding, highlighting the efficiency of linguistic communication as a source of knowledge.. . . People develop intuitive and inferentially rich ‘theories’ of color regardless of visual experience.”

Judy Kim, Brianna Aheimer, Veronica Manrara, and Marina Bedney.  2021.  “Shared Understanding of Color Among Sighted and Blind Adults.”  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 118, no. 33, e2020192118, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2020192118

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