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McDonald, Bockler, and Kanske studied how hearing different sorts of music influences our thinking about other people.  They determined that “Music is a human universal and has the ability to evoke powerful, genuine emotions. But does music influence our capacity to understand and feel with others? A growing body of evidence indicates that empathy (sharing another’s feelings) and compassion (a feeling of concern toward others) are behaviorally and neutrally distinct, both from each other and from the social–cognitive process theory of mind (ToM; i.e., inferring others’ mental states). . . . we found enhanced empathy and compassion when emotional, but not when neutral music was present during videos displaying emotionally negative narrations. No such enhancement was present for ToM performance. Similarly, prosocial decision making increased after emotionally negative videos with emotional music. These findings demonstrate how emotional music can enhance empathic responding, compassion and prosocial decisions.”

Brennan McDonald, Anne Bockler, and Philipp Kanske. 2022. “Soundtrack to the Social World:  Emotional Music Enhances Empathy, Compassion, and Prosocial Decisions but Not Theory of Mind.”  Emotion, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 19-29, https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0001036

Chang and colleagues investigated factors that contribute to spending time in nature.  They found that there are genetic influences on the amount of time people are likely to spend in natural spaces and also on human desire to be in nature.

Chia-Chen Chang, Daniel Cox, Qiao Fan, Thi Nghiem, Claudia Tan, Rachel Oh, Brenda Lin, Danielle Shanahan, Richard Fuller, Kevin Gaston, and L. Carrasco.  2022. “People’s Desire to be in Nature and How They Experience It Are Partially Heritable.”  PLOS Biology, vol. 20, no. 2, e3001500, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001500

Seo evaluated responses to service robots in hotels.  They determined that “female service robots generated more pleasure and higher satisfaction compared to that of male service robots, and its influence is amplified when the level of anthropomorphism is high [the robots are more human-like] rather than low. Findings highlight the benefit of female service robots in a hotel setting which is only effective when the service robot is humanized, which provides useful guidelines for hoteliers when applying service robots in their service settings.” 

Soobin Seo.  2022. “When Female (Male) Robot Is Talking to Me:  Effect of Service Robots’ Gender and Anthropomorphism on Customer Satisfaction.”  International Journal of Hospitality Management, vol. 102, 103166, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2022.103166

Brandes and Dover evaluated how weather conditions influence user reviews; their findings may not come as too much of a surprise to anyone who’s ever collected user feedback.  The information gathered by Brandes and Dover may also help explain unexpected/unanticipated sets of reviews or with the scheduling of studies, when possible.  Brandes and Dover report that their study “uses a unique dataset that combines 12 years of data on hotel bookings and reviews, with weather condition information at a consumer’s home and hotel address. The results show that bad weather increases review provision and reduces rating scores for past consumption experiences. Moreover, 6.5% more reviews are written on rainy days and that these reviews are 0.1 points lower, accounting for 59% of the difference in average rating scores between four- and five-star hotels in our data. These results are consistent with a scenario in which bad weather (i) induces negative consumer mood, lowering rating scores, and (ii) makes consumers less time-constrained, which increases review provision. Additional analyses with various automated sentiment measures for almost 300,000 review texts support this scenario: reviews on rainy days show a significant reduction in reviewer positivity and happiness, yet are longer and more detailed.”  Brandes and Dover’s findings support asking people submitting reviews, etc., what the weather is outside as they’re writing and interpreting data collected accordingly.

Leif Brandes and Yaniv Dover.  “Offline Context Affects Online Reviews:  The Effect of Post-Consumption Weather.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucac003

Nanayakkara and colleagues studied links between activity-based workplace design and organizational culture via interviews and surveys.  They report that “The objective of this paper is to examine the influence of introducing activity-based working (ABW) on existing organisational culture. It was addressed from the perspective of the management of large corporate organisations. . . . Workplace designs directly influence culture by supporting the systems, symbols, engagement/motivation and behaviours of the organisation and employees. . . .  the critical achievement of workspace design is to integrate the cultures, values and behaviours of organisations to meet their ultimate goals.”

Kusal Nanayakkara, Sara Wilkinson, and Dulani Halvitigala. 2021.   “Influence of Dynamic Changes of Workplace on Organisational Culture.”  Journal of Management and Organization, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 1003-1020, https://doi.org/10.1017/jmo.2021.69

Cooper and associates probed why people use indoor air purifiers in their homes.  They learned that “One of the most widely available technologies to clean the air in homes of particulate matter of less than 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5), known to have negative health impacts, are portable home air purifiers (HAPs). . . . perceptions of IAQ were not correlated with measured high PM2.5 levels; occupants reported the HAPs to have a ‘cooling’ effect, which may explain why the predominant driver of HAP use was thermal comfort, rather than IAQ, in all three cities [where data were collected]. The latter finding was supported by a statistically significant increase in the probability of HAP use with increasing indoor temperatures.”

Elizabeth Cooper, Yan Wang, Samuel Stamp, and 16 others.  2022.  “Why Do People Use Portable Air Purifiers?  Evidence From Occupant Surveys and Air Quality Monitoring in Homes in Three European Cities.”  Building Research and Information, vol. 50, no. 1-2, pp. 213-229, https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2021.2001303

Sands and colleagues researched how urban planners believe design can drive city success.  They share that “In an online survey, urban planners were asked to identify the attributes that contributed to the success of the downtowns of mid-size urban areas prior to the pandemic as well as the attributes that would facilitate their post-pandemic recovery. While some urban scholars expect that recovery will lead to a ‘new normal’, the planners surveyed here are largely focused on restoring the ‘old normal’.”  

Gary Sands, Laura Reese, Chade Saghir, and Pierre Filion.  “Planning for Post-Pandemic Downtowns of Mid-Size Urban Areas.”  Planning Practice and Research, in press, https://doi.org/10.1080/02697459.2021.2016200

The Architecture of Health – Hospital Design and the Construction of Dignity distills and presents Murphy’s (and MASS’s) insights into hospital design.  As the web page created for the book by its publishers states (https://www.artbook.com/9781942303312.html): “Reading architecture through the history of hospitals offers a tool for unlocking the elemental principles of architecture and the intractable laws of human and social conditions that architecture serves in each of our lives. This book encounters brilliant and visionary designers who were hospital architects but also systems designers, driven by the aim of social change. They faced the contradictions of health care in their time and found innovative ways to solve for specific medical dilemmas. . . . The Architecture of Health charts historical epidemics alongside modern and contemporary architectural transformations in service of medicine, health and habitation, exploring how infrastructure facilitates healing and architecture’s greater role in constructing our societies.”

Michael Murphy with Jeffrey Mansfield and MASS Design Group.  2021.  The Architecture of Health – Hospital Design and the Construction of Dignity.  artbook &; New York.

Although much of Danesi’s book focuses on communication via body language, facial expressions, and interpersonal zones/distancing, there are sections that directly address design’s nonverbal messaging.  Danesi shares, for example that “The fact that social groups build and design their abodes and public edifices of their villages, towns, and cities in characteristic ways is an indication that these are meaningful proxemic structures. A building is hardly ever perceived by the members of a society as simply a pile of bricks, wood, straw, etc., put together to provide shelter.  Rather, its shape, size, features, and location are perceived to be signs or sign vehicles that refer to a range of culture-specific proxemics meanings.  Buildings are, in effect, artificial extensions of those who inhabit them. This applies as well to public spaces, which are felt to be extensions of a ‘community body.’ . . . Spatial codes also assign tasks and functions to specific locales, as well as how to behave and appear in them, including dress, language, etc. They give coherence and purpose to social activities and routines, producing recognizable effects on how people experience places—the space in one’s home feels more personal than the space in a bank; at a party, a feast, or a traditional ceremony people assume the social personae that they are either assigned or expected to play, including what clothes to wear, etc. . . . A home is . . . . an extension of character, as indicated by its layout, design, material objects, etc.  It is felt, therefore, to be an extension of the body’s protective armor and the personality of the inhabitant.  . . .  When people build and decorate their homes, they are primarily engaged in making images of themselves to suit their own eyes and to present themselves through them to others.”

Marcel Danesi.  2022.  Understanding Nonverbal Communication – A Semiotic Guide.  Bloomsbury:  London, England.

Willems and colleagues investigated environmental control by hospital patients.  They report that “Research indicates that adaptation influences how people experience indoor conditions (ICs), and that the built environment influences both adaptation, via perceived control, and well-being. . . . we investigated how the design of hospital rooms can contribute to patients’ well-being by supporting their adaptation of and to ICs via perceived control. Two mixed methods case studies were conducted at hospital wards in Belgium, each concurrently collecting qualitative and quantitative [for example environmental sensor] data. . . . When perceiving control over adaptable building characteristics, patients can adapt ICs or adapt to ICs by choice. When not perceiving such control, they may still adapt sensations or their position. Without any perceived control, adapting to ICs is imposed. The built environment can support patients’ adaptation by supporting their autonomy and competences. In this way it can foster both patients’ eudaimonic [for example, related to self-actualization] as well as their hedonic [pleasure-related] well-being.”

S. Willems, D. Saelens, and A. Heylighen.  2022.  “Patient Well-Being, Adaptation of and to Indoor Conditions, and Hospital Room Design:  Two Mixed Methods Case Studies.”  Building Research and Information, vol. 50, no. 1-2, pp. 105-133, https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2021.2004386

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