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Sander and colleagues studied the effects of open plan offices on worker experiences, coupling self-reports and physiological measures:  “Employing a simulated office setting, we compared the effects of a typical OPO [open-plan office] auditory environment to a quieter private office auditory environment on a range of objective and subjective measures of well-being and performance. . . . OPO noise . . . did reduce psychological well-being as evidenced by self-reports of mood, facial expressions of emotion, and physiological indicators of stress in the form of heartrate and skin conductivity. Our research highlights the importance of using a multimodal approach to assess the impact of workplace stressors such as noise.”  

Elizabeth Sander, Cecelia Marques, James Birt, Matthew Stead and Oliver Baumann.  “Open-Plan Office Noise is Stressful:  Multimodal Stress Detection in a Simulated Work Environment.”  Journal of Management and Organization, in press,

Lim and colleagues evaluated how the design of healthcare facilities influences perceptions of teamwork. They “measured teamwork perceptions of staff members and patients at four primary care clinics providing team-based care. Visual access to staff workstations from both staff and patient perspectives was analyzed using VisualPower tool (version 21). . . .the visual relationships among staff members and those between staff members and patients have significant associations with overall perceptions of teamwork. While clinics providing more visual connections between staff workstations reported higher teamwork perception of staff members, patient perceptions of staff teamwork were inversely [in reverse] related to the number of visual connections between patients and staff workstations.”

Lisa Lim, Ruth Kanfer, Robert Stroebel, and Craig Zimring.  2021. “The Representational Function of Clinic Design:  Staff and Patient Perceptions of Teamwork.”  HERD: Health Environments Research and Design Journal, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 254-270,

Zhang and Park assessed behavior in underground malls.  They share that “a series of exit-finding tasks in virtual malls were simulated. . . . people have a right-turn preference during exit finding.”

Shaoqing Zhang and Soobeen Park.  “Study of Effective Corridor Design to Improve Wayfinding in Underground Malls.” Frontiers in Psychology, in press, doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2021.631531

Heft, Schwimmer, and Edmunds studied the implications of using visual navigation systems, such as GPS. They report that “One group of participants drove a simulated car in VR along a designated path while relying on visual GPS guidance. It was expected that use of the GPS display would draw attention away from temporally continuous path information. A second group initially drove the same route without GPS guidance. Both groups drove the path a second time without navigational assistance. Overall, the percentage of correct actions taken at intersections (transitions) during the second trial were significantly lower for the first group who initially drove the route with visual GPS guidance as compared to those who initially traveled the route without it.”

Harry Heft, Kelsey Schwimmer, and Trenton Edmunds.  “Assessing the Effect of a Visual Navigational System on Route-Learning from an Ecological Perspective, Frontiers in Psychology,in press, doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2021.645677

Kimura and colleagues assessed the how mentally refreshing various situations are.  They report that they conducted an experiment that “involved measuring the changes in the task performance of the participants (i.e., sustained attention to response task) and the subjective mental workload . . . while the attention restoration was indexed from physiological response (i.e., skin conductance level, SCL) over time. The participants had two types of resting periods in the middle of the task, i.e., by looking at a blank display (simple break) or by watching a nature video having scenes of, e.g., a forest, small waterfall, and rustling leaves (nature break). . . . our results showed that taking breaks that involve the natural environment (i.e., nature break condition) restore the attention directed at a task and decreases the SCL, like in previous studies. Moreover, this effect also occurred with brief (i.e., 5 min) and indirect (i.e., videos) exposure, unlike in previous studies.”

Tsukasa Kimura, Tatsuya Yamada, Yohko Hirokawa, and Kazumitsu Shinohara.  2021.  “Brief and Indirect Exposure to Natural Environment Restores the Directed Attention for the Task.”  Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12,

Sidhu and colleagues extended research findings previously derived with nonwords to English words. The group reports that “Sound symbolism refers to associations between language sounds (i.e., phonemes) and perceptual and/or semantic features. One example is the maluma/takete effect: an association between certain phonemes (e.g., /m/, /u/) and roundness [as, for example, with maluma], and others (e.g., /k/, /ɪ/) and spikiness [as, for instance, with takete]. While this association has been demonstrated in laboratory tasks with nonword stimuli. . . . Here we examined whether the maluma/takete effect is attested in English, across a broad sample of words. . . . We found evidence that phonemes associated with roundness are more common in words referring to round objects, and phonemes associated with spikiness are more common in words referring to spiky objects.”  

David Sidhu, Chris Westbury, Geoff Hollis, and Penny Pexman.  “Sound Symbolism Shapes the English Language:  The Maluma/Takete Effect in English Nouns.”  Psychonomic Bulletin and Review,

James and colleagues, via a literature review, evaluated employee experiences in cellular offices and more open workspaces.  Their research compared data collected for cellular workspaces with information from all other types of work areas (all those without full height walls and a door assigned to one individual).  The researchers determined that “working in open-plan workplace designs is associated with more negative outcomes on many measures relating to health, satisfaction, productivity, and social relationships. Notable health outcomes included decreased overall health and increased stress. Environmental characteristics of particular concern included noise and distractions, poor privacy, lighting and glare, and poorer temperature control. Most studies indicated negative effects on social relationships and interactions. Overall, the findings showed that while open-plan workplace designs may offer financial benefits for management, these appear to be offset by the intangible costs associated with the negative effects on workers.”

Olivia James, Paul Delfabbro, and Daniel King.  “A Comparison of Psychological and Work Outcomes in Open-Plan and Cellular Office Designs:  A Systematic Review.”  Sage Open, in press,

Elzeyadi probed  preferences for workplace views and the wellbeing-related consequences of particular views.  He reports that “Results suggest that the current classification of views into two types: views of nature versus urban views is misleading and does not realistically represent the typical content of the views.  Instead, a scaled dimension and metric to evaluate views based on their composition and content of their attributes is more accurate. . . .  Positive attributes are sky cover, trees, shrubs, soft ground, plants, and pedestrians; while negative attributes are paved areas, street networks, parking lots, and cars. Of equal importance are mid-quality attributes related to human-designed objects such as hardscape, buildings, landscape objects, windows, and voids/windows in buildings [this set should be proportionally less in area than the natural elements within the same view]. . . .  The fact that preferred views and viewsheds were correlated with 60-70% fewer SBS [sick building syndrome] symptoms reported is not trivial when one considers productivity and health insurance costs.”

Ihab Elzeyadi. 2021.  “Performative Views in Architecture:  Preference, Composition, and Occupant’s Wellbeing.”  Proceedings of ARCC 2021,

Spence and Levitancontinue research into links between colors seen and taste experiences. They share that “For centuries, if not millennia, people have associated the basic tastes (e.g., sweet, bitter, salty, and sour) with specific colours. . . . [there] appear to be a surprisingly high degree of consistency regarding this crossmodal mapping. . .  . the growing awareness of the robustness of colour–taste correspondences would currently seem to be of particular relevance to those working in the fields of design and multisensory experiential marketing. . . . Spence et al. (2015) concluded that pink and red were most strongly associated with sweetness, yellow and green with sour, white and blue with salty, and browny/black and purple (or possibly green) with bitter. The colours associated with the taste of umami have been less intensively investigated thus far and, what is more, haven’t yet led to especially consistent results.”

Charles Spence and Carmel Levitan.  2021. “Explaining Crossmodal Correspondences Between Colours and Tastes.”  i-Perception, vol. 12, no. 3,

Damiano and colleagues studied the psychological implications of symmetry in natural scenes. They report that “Symmetry generally makes stimuli less complex, and symmetric arrangements are also generally preferred to asymmetric ones. . . . We collected ratings of complexity, aesthetic pleasure, and interest for 720 scene images and calculated average ratings for each image. . . . as symmetry increases and makes a scene less complex, it also renders the scene less pleasing and interesting. . . . our results lend support to the idea that both complexity and simplicity influence the aesthetic pleasure of natural scenes.”

C. Damiano, J. Wilder, E. Zhou, D. Walther, and J. Wagemans. “The Role of Local and Global Symmetry in Pleasure, Interest, and Complexity Judgments of Natural Scenes.”  Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, in press,


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