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Talebzadeh’s recent research indicates the important role that soundscapes play in our lives.  His work focused on “how a personalized soundscape can help those with dementia by providing clues regarding time of day and place. . . . Using a system called AcustiCare, a personalized soundscape is created with a customized algorithm that plays scheduled sounds at specific moments throughout the day. Through feedback, the system can refine the sounds to be played the next day, helping to reinforce time and space for dementia patients. ‘The sounds consist of a collection of natural sounds, birdsongs, outdoor sounds, water/rain sounds and kitchen sounds, music, bell sound, and similar,’ Talebzadeh said. ‘From these sounds, psychoacoustic parameters and metadata is used to obtain similarity information between the different sounds. This information is used to suggest a new sound related to the feedback findings.’”

“Personalized Soundscape Could Help People with Dementia With Time, Place Recognition.”  2021. Press release Acoustical Society of America, http://acousticalsociety.org

Miola and teammates set out to better understand how the form of a place influences the ease with which we learn its spatial information.  The group reports that “Field of view (FOV) allows us to perceive and learn our environment. Reducing the visual field impairs our ability to estimate distance and direction. It has been demonstrated that distance is estimated more accurately in outdoor environment (a lawn) than in indoors (hallway or lobby). . . . We studied route learning in Venice where features may or may not restrict the width of environment [the openness of the environemnt that extends into periphery]. . . .participants learned narrow and wide routes from videos, then performed various spatial recall tasks. Results showed that environmental features that restricted the width of environment impaired participants’ pointing performance, and the metric properties of their mental representations. This study newly shows that environmental features naturally restricting the width of environment can influence the ability to form spatial mental representations.”

Laura Miola, Chiara Meneghetti, Valerie Gyselinck, Federica Curcio, and Francesca Pazzaglia.  “The Influence of Environmental Context on Spatial Learning.  Openness of the Environment and Spatial Mental Representations in the City of Venice.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101629

Wilson and Bellezza investigated consumer minimalism.  They share that “Minimalism in consumption can be expressed in various forms, such as monochromatic home design, wardrobe capsules, tiny home living, and decluttering. . . . Three distinct dimensions of consumer minimalism are identified: number of possessions (reflecting the ownership of few possessions), sparse aesthetic (reflecting the preference for simple and uncomplicated designs), and mindfully curated consumption (reflecting the thoughtful selection of possessions).”

Anne Wilson and Silvia Bellezza.  “Consumer Minimalism.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucab038

Chinazzo and colleagues confirm links previously noted between colors seen and perceived temperature. The researchers report that participants in their study experienced “three colored [window] glazing (orange/blue/neutral). . . . Daylight color significantly affected thermal perception. . . the orange daylight led to warmer thermal perception in (close-to-) comfortable temperatures, resulting in a color-induced thermal perceptionand indicating that orange glazing should be used with caution in a slightly warm environment.  Findings can be applied to the design of buildings using new glazing technologies with saturated colors, such as transparent photovoltaics.”

Giorgia Chinazzo, Kynthia Chamilothori, Jan Wienold, and Marilyne Andersen.  2021.  “Temperature-Color Interaction:  Subjective Indoor Environmental Perception and Physiological Responses in Virtual Reality.”  Human Factors, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 474-502, https:///doi.org/10.1177/0018720819892383

Recently completed research confirms that green building is good for more than just the planet. Nurick and Thatcher conducted an extensive literature review and report that studies published “link[s] GBFIs [green building features and initiatives in office buildings] to increased individual productivity and organizational performance which results in increased building value, thus justifying the initial capital expenditure for the implementation of GBFIs.”

Saul Nurick and Andrew Thatcher.  “The Relationship of Green Office Buildings to Occupant Productivity and Organizational Performance:  A Literature Review.”  Journal of Real Estate Literature, in press, https://doi.org/10.1080/09277544.2021.1909316

Otterbring and colleagues researched the implications of the physical distances between salespeople and customers.  Design can influence the distance between the people selling and potentially buying goods in a number of ways, for example, via sales/display counter/case dimensions and aisle width.  The Otterbring-lead team found via a series of lab and field studies that “store loyalty, purchase intentions, and actual spending behavior are negatively impacted when consumers encounter a salesperson who is standing close by (vs. farther away), particularly in expressive consumption contexts. . . . even intermediate levels of proximity can produce negative consumer responses compared to farther interpersonal distances in expressive consumption settings. . . . this effect specifically emerges when consumers are thinking about products in terms of their ability to express their identities, not when the products' functional features are highlighted.. . . . our findings suggest that the most positive consumer responses occur in the largely overlooked public zone, even compared to the more common social zone in which most interactions with salespeople take place. . . . our medium distance falls within the social zone (4–12 feet), and our far distance belongs to the public zone (beyond 12 feet).”

Tobias Otterbring, Freeman Wu, and Per Kristensson. “Too Close for Comfort?  The Impact of Salesperson-Customer Proximity on Consumers’ Purchase Behavior.”  Psychology of Marketing, in press, https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21519

Bourikas and colleagues report interesting relationships between perceptions of various aspects of office environments.  Their work indicates that “bad air quality is generally associated with a ‘warm’ thermal sensation response. . . .  air quality . . . and noise perception (NSV) are both correlated with thermal perception (TSV). . . . Air quality perception was correlated with both TSV  and NSV.. . . participants who were feeling uncomfortable (in particular if feeling warm and preferring to be cooler) perceived the air-quality worse than participants who felt comfortable.”

Leonidas Bourikas, Stephanie Gauthier, Nicholas Eng, and Peiyao Xiong.  2021.  “Effect of Thermal, Acoustic and Air Quality Perception Interactions on the Comfort and Satisfaction of People in Office Buildings.”  Energies, vol. 14, no. 2, 333, https://doi.org/10.3390/en14020333

Peck and teammates found that listening to music may not help people feel less stressed in the sorts of situations that are often encountered in daily life, for example, while at work. The researchers report that “Music listening [has been] shown to promote faster physiological recovery following acute stress. . . .  It was hypothesized that listening to music prior to acute stress exposure would decrease stress reactivity compared with white noise (WN), and that self-selected music would serve as a stronger inoculator than researcher-selected music. Participants . . . were randomly assigned to either researcher-selected music . . . self-selected music . . . or a WN group . . . and listened to either music or WN prior to undergoing the Trier Social Stress Test, a standardized psychosocial stress protocol. Outcome indices of stress included skin conductance, heart rate, salivary cortisol, and self-report affect. Analyses failed to show a significant inoculation effect of music on the stress response.”

Katlyn Peck, Julia de Zepetnek, and Alexandra Fiocco.  2021. “Music Listening Does Not Inoculate the Stress Response in Young and Older Adults.”  International Journal of Stress Management, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 154-164, https://doi.org/10.1037/str0000217

Kim, Affonso, Laran, and Durante, in a study published in the Journal of Marketing, report on the benefits of serendipitous experiences. The researchers found that “When a product, service, or experience is positive, unexpected, and involving chance, our research team reasoned that this would generate congruent feelings. Consumers would feel that the encounter was a good surprise, make attributions to chance, and feel lucky that it happened—which we collectively call ‘feelings of serendipity.’  . . . Across multiple consumer domains (online subscription services, museums, movies, food consumption, and music), creating serendipity through positive, unexpected, chance encounters increased satisfaction, enjoyment, perceptions of meaningfulness, willingness to pay, willingness to recommend a service, and interest. . . . A negative encounter that was unexpected and attributed to chance was perceived to be even more negative.”

“Press Release from the Journal of Marketing:  Delivering Serendipity:  When Chance Encounters in the Marketplace Enhance Consumer Satisfaction.” 2021.  Press release, American Marketing Association, https://www.ama.org/2021/05/24/press-release-from-the-journal-of-marketi...

Recently released research confirms the value of design that encourages movement.  Evenson, Shiroma, Howard, Cuthbertson, Buring, and Lee found that “Taking more steps per day, either all at once or in shorter spurts, may help you live longer. . . . researchers used a wearable step counting device to compare the effects of uninterrupted bouts of steps (10 minutes or longer) to occasional short spurts, such as climbing the stairs and general daily activities throughout the day [such as housework]. . . Study participants who took more steps in short spurts lived longer, regardless of how many steps they had in longer, uninterrupted bouts. The benefits leveled off at about 4,500 steps per day in short spurts.  Compared to no daily steps, each initial increase of 1,000 steps per day was associated with a 28% decrease in death during the follow-up period. A 32% decrease in death was noted in participants who took more than 2,000 steps daily in uninterrupted bouts.”  All study participants were women over the age of 60.

“Taking More Steps Daily May Lead to a Longer Life.”  2021. Press release, American Heart Association, https://newsroom.heart.org/news/taking-more-steps-daily-may-lead-to-a-lo...

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