Latest Blog Posts

Jiang and colleagues have found, via a study using immersive virtual environment (IVE) techniques, that views of green spaces through windows can make it easier to move from one part of a building to another effectively and efficiently;  their findings are readily applicable to non-healthcare space types.  The team reports that “Participants’ wayfinding performances were interpreted using several indicators, including task completion, duration, walking distance, stop, sign-viewing, and route selection. . . . participants performed better on high complexity wayfinding tasks in the IVE hospital with visible greenspaces, as indicated by less time consumed and shorter walking distance to find the correct destination, less frequent stops and sign viewing, and more efficient route selection. Participants also experienced enhanced mood states and favorable spatial experience and perceived aesthetics in the IVE hospital with visible greenspaces than the same environment without window views. . . . Hospital greenspaces located at key decision points could serve as landmarks that positively attract people’s attention, aid wayfinding, and improve their navigational experience.”

Shan Jiang, David Allison, and Andrew Duchowski.  “Hospital Greenspaces and the Impacts on Wayfinding and Spatial Experience:  An Explorative Experiment Through Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) Techniques.”  HERD:  Health Environments Research and Design Journal, in press,

Yin, Bratman, Browning, Spengler, and Olvera-Alvarez evaluated how seeing desert scenes through windows influences stress levels.  They report that they studied “the effect of a virtual reality (VR) exposure to a desert vs. green environment among . . . residents of El Paso, Texas. The procedure consisted of an acute stressor followed by random assignment to a 10 min VR experience (desert, green space, or office [control condition]). . . . exposure to a desert environment in VR promoted stress recovery just as much as a green environment. . . . participants reported a preference for a picture of green landscape over a picture of a desert landscape. . . .   As our participants . . . had a degree of familiarity with the predominantly brown landscape of the Chihuahuan desert to which they were exposed. . . . immersion in the desert environment . . . could have afforded this population a more rapid assessment of safety, thereby counteracting the effects of the acute stressor and aiding in recovery."  These data were collected via virtual reality and not direct exposure to the desert, which may have influenced the findings.

Jie Yin, Gregory Bratman, Matthew Browning, John Spengler, and Hector Olvera-Alvarez.  “Stress Recovery from Virtual Exposure to a Brown (Desert) Environment Versus a Green Environment.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press,

Yin and Huang studied factors that might encourage conspicuous consumption.  They report that “People’s schedules are jointly determined by their biological clock and social clock. However, their social clock often deviates from the biological clock (e.g., having to get up earlier than one’s natural wake-up time for work or study, having to stay up to work night shifts or meet a project deadline)—a phenomenon known as ‘social jetlag.’ How does social jetlag impact consumer behavior? Using field data and experiments, we show that social jetlag decreases conspicuous consumption because consumers experiencing social jetlag are less interested in social interaction. This effect is weakened when social interaction occurs among familiar others rather than strangers, when conspicuous consumption does not draw social attention, and when consumers expect to use a luxury product in a private setting.”

Yunlu Yin and Zhongqiang Huang.  “Social-Jetlagged Consumers and Decreased Conspicuous Consumption.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press,

How does the speed at which we feel we’re moving (in a car or train, for example) influence decisions made?  Shani-Feinstein, Kyung, and Goldenberg share that “With recent technological innovations, people increasingly experience speed during decision making. They can be physically on the move with their devices or virtually immersed in speed simulated through their devices. Through seven experiments, we provide evidence for a speed-abstraction effect, where the perception of moving faster (vs. slower) leads people to rely on more abstract (vs. concrete) mental representations during decision making.”

Yael Shani-Feinstein, Ellie Kyung, and Jacob Goldenberg.  “Moving, Fast or Slow:  How Perceived Speed Influences Mental Representation and Decision Making.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press,

Cui and teammates probed how the design of outdoor spaces at hospitals can influence staff stress levels.  They found that “several [previously conducted] studies have revealed that even short-term exposure to outdoor space has a decompression effect. . . . [in the study conducted by the Cui lead group] EEG measurement equipment was utilized to obtain the value of β wave (vβw) that represents the stress and anxiety of staff in three different outdoor spaces: open, traffic, and rest. . . . The proportion of natural elements, such as landscape . . . and waterscape . . . were negatively correlated with the vβw produced by staff, while the proportion of hard paving was positive . . . with more vβw produced by staff. In other words, the percentage of landscape and waterscape can reduce stress, while hard paving has the opposite effect.” 

Weiyi Cui, Zao Li, Xiaodong Xuan, Chao Lu, Qiqiang Tang, Shaobo Zhou, and Qingtao Li.  2022. “Influence of Hospital Outdoor Space on Physiological Electroencephalography (EEG) Feedback of Staff.”  HERD:  Health Environments Research and Design Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 239-255,

Miller and colleagues reviewed the findings of published qualitative studies related to the design of palliative healthcare spaces.  They report that “People with a life-limiting illness may receive palliative care to improve their quality of life in hospital. . . . Findings resulted in the development of the SSAFeR Place approach that incorporates the concepts that are important to palliative and end-of-life patients and their families by describing an environment within the acute or palliative care units that feels safe, is private, customizable, and accommodates family; is a space to share with others, is homelike in ambiance and aesthetics, and is conducive for reflection. The concepts of identity, belonging, and safety are connected to the notions of home. To provide person-centered care and to move the focus toward the palliative approach of comfort and quality of life, attention to room size, layout, aesthetics, and ambiance is needed.”

Elizabeth Miller, Joanne Porter, and Michael Barbagallo.  2022.  “The Physical Hospital Environment and Its Effects on Palliative Patients and Their Families:  A Qualitative Meta-Synthesis.”  HERD:  Health Environments Research and Design Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 268-291,

Lin investigated how illustrations are evaluated.  Findings from the completed study include: “Although the aesthetic experience of popular illustrations is frequent in modern life, no scientific research can fully explain its psychological structure so far. This study aims to develop an aesthetic model of perception, affection, and cognition, presenting an aesthetic psychological framework for contemporary popular illustration. Thirty representative illustrations were selected as experimental stimuli from design media. . . . The results showed that beauty, pleasure, and interestingness are the optimum indicators measuring the aesthetic experience of popular illustrations, and instead of the underlying meanings, the positive self-rewarding quality makes aesthetic experience of popular illustrations special.”

Yen-Ching Lin.  “An Aesthetic Model for Popular Illustration.”  Empirical Studies of the Arts, in press,

Reyt and colleagues studied influences on how crowded people in waiting rooms feel.  They report that “Crowded waiting areas are volatile environments, where seemingly ordinary people often get frustrated and mistreat frontline staff. . . . we suggest an intervention that can ‘massage’ outsiders’ perceptions of crowding and reduce the mistreatment of frontline staff. We theorize that providing information for outsiders to read while they wait on a personal medium (e.g., a leaflet, a smartphone) reduces their crowding perceptions and mistreatment of frontline staff, compared to providing the same information on a public medium (e.g., poster, wall sign). We report two studies that confirm our theory: A field experiment in Emergency Departments . . . and an online experiment simulating a coffee shop.”

Jean-Nicolas Reyt, Dorit Efrat-Treister, Daniel Altman, Chen Shapira, Arie Eisenman, and Anat Rafaeli.  2022. “When the Medium Massages Perceptions:  Personal (Vs. Public Displays of Information Reduce Crowding Perceptions and Outsider Mistreatment of Frontline Staff.”  Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 164-178,

Beverly and colleagues probed the sorts of experiences that can reduce stress in frontline healthcare workers.  They report that they “piloted a three-minute Tranquil Cinematic-VR simulation of a nature scene to lower subjective stress among frontline healthcare workers in COVID-19 treatment units. . . . A convenience sample of frontline healthcare workers, including direct care providers, indirect care providers, and support or administrative services, were recruited from three COVID-19 units located in the United States. . . . Participants viewed a 360-degree video capture of a lush, green nature preserve in an Oculus Go or Pico G2 4K head-mounted display. . . . Post-simulation, we observed a significant reduction in subjective stress scores from pre- to post-simulation. . . .  Post-simulations scores did not differ by provider type, age range, gender, or prior experience with virtual reality.  Findings from this pilot study suggest that the application of this Tranquil Cinematic-VR simulation was effective in reducing subjective stress among frontline healthcare workers in the short-term.”

Elizabeth Beverly, Laurie Hommema, Kara Coates, Gary Duncan, Brad Gable, Thomas Gutman, Matthew Love, Carrie Love, Michelle Pershing, and Nancy Stevens.  2022. “A Tranquil Virtual Reality Experience to Reduce Subjective Stress Among COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers.” PLoS ONE,

Greenberg and colleagues probed links between personality and preferred music styles and it seems likely that their findings can be applied more generally.  The team report that they “built on theory and research in personality, cultural, and music psychology to map the terrain of preferences for Western music using data from 356,649 people across six continents. . . . the patterns of correlations between personality traits and musical preferences were largely consistent across countries and assessment methods. For example, trait Extraversion was correlated with stronger reactions to Contemporary musical styles (which feature rhythmic, upbeat, and electronic attributes), whereas trait Openness was correlated with stronger reactions to Sophisticated musical styles (which feature complex and cerebral attributes often heard in improvisational and instrumental music).” Conscientiousness was linked to unpretentious music preference, agreeableness was associated with mellow and unpretentious music, and openness was tied to mellow, contemporary, and intense music preference.  There was a strong negative correlation between conscientiousness and intense music. Mellow music is romantic, slow, and quiet; unpretentious music is uncomplicated and relaxing; and intense music is distorted, loud, and aggressive.

D. Greenberg, S. Wride, D. Snowden, D. Spathis, J. Potter and P. Rentfrow.  2022. “Universals and Variations in Musical Preferences:  A Study of Preferential Reactions to Western Music in 53 Countries.”  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 122, no. 2, pp. 286-309,


Subscribe to Latest Blog Posts