Latest Blog Posts
Welcome to the Research Design Connections blog, started in 2007. Recent blog entries are available here. Earlier blog entries (one for every working day since the beginning of May, 2007) are available to subscribers.
Rodriquez and teammates determined via a virtual-reality-based study that we prefer apparent daylighting levels to vary from time to time in viewed urban environments; their findings may be useful to people developing virtual spaces, for example. The group shares that their work “analyze[d] subjective reponses to lightness changes in outdoor views with respect to three view constructs (i.e., preference, recovery, and imageability). . . . This study evidenced that lightness changes in views prompted positive responses from individual observers with respect to preference, restoration, and imageability. These findings might inform the adjustment of integrated lighting and automated shading devices in windowed settings. . . . The evidence presented in this study suggests that luminous changes in views are important features to be considered in future design guidelines and projects involving the assessment of outdoor views.”
Francisca Rodriquez, Veronica Garcia-Hansen, Alicia Allan, and Gillian Isoardi. 2021. “Subjective Responses Toward Daylight Changes in Window Views: Assessing Dynamic Environmental Attributes in an Immersive Experiment.” Building and Environment, vol. 195, 107720, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.107720
Ozboluk’s research findings are useful to anyone creating luxury experiences via design, at hotels, restaurants, or somewhere else. The investigator reports that “this paper investigates the nature of luxury within access-based consumption in the context of consumers’ accommodation experiences. A qualitative approach is adopted to uncover the circumstances that constitute luxury for consumers who use Airbnb Plus. The study found that luxury manifests itself in search of uniqueness and freedom. . . . consumers are seeking more immaterial forms of luxury in their vacations.”
Tugba Ozboluk. 2021. “The Pursuit of Uniqueness and Craving for Freedom: The Meaning of Luxury in the Age of Access.” Leisure Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 227-242, https://doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2020.1831045
Bazley, Cronqvist, and Mormann’s recent research provides additional evidence that the color red should be used cautiously. The investigators report in an article published in Management Science“thatusing the color red to represent financial data influences individuals’ risk preferences, expectations of future stock returns and trading decisions. The effects are not present in people who are colorblind, and they’re muted in China, where red represents prosperity. Other colors do not generate the same outcomes. . . . ‘In Western cultures, conditioning of red color and experiences start in early schooling as students receive feedback regarding academic errors in red,’ Bazley said. Red is associated with alarms and stop signs that convey danger and command enhanced attention. . . . red color appears to prolong pessimistic expectations in relation to negative stock returns, while viewing the same information in black or blue leads to reversal beliefs. He [Bazley] said, ‘This suggests the use of color may have broad implications for stock market liquidity during times of crisis and the momentum anomaly.’”
“The Color Red Influences Investor Behavior, Financial Research Reveals.” 2021. Press release, The University of Kansas, http://news.ku.edu/2021/03/29/red-color-impacts-investor-behavior-financial-research-reveals
Which light is best? Houser and colleagues report that “light is still for vision, and lighting for visibility, visual comfort and visual amenity is as important as ever. Complementing the old is new awareness and responsibility for how light and lighting influence non-visual responses in humans. Circadian, neuroendocrine and neurobehavioural responses are important for human health and should be considered on-par with visual responses. This awareness leads toward lighting design solutions with increased contrast between day and night. The parties responsible for addressing non-visual responses to light and lighting are evolving. Architects, lighting professionals, lighting equipment manufacturers, medical professionals, building owners and individuals all have a stake.”
K. Houser, P. Boyce, and J. Zeitzer. “Human-Centric Lighting: Myth, Magic or Metaphor?” Lighting Research and Technology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/1477153520958448
Hong and teammates studied adding nature sounds to outdoor spaces. Study participants wore a mixed-reality head-mounted display and saw a hologram of either a sparrow or a fountain or a loudspeaker while hearing birdsong or a stream. The researchers determined via data collected outdoors, near an expressway, that “both natural sounds significantly reduced the PLN [perceived loudness of the traffic noise] and enhanced the OSQ [overall sound quality]. . . . Analysis on the preferred signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), i.e. ratio of natural sound to traffic levels, indicated a strong negative correlation between the preferred SNRs and ambient traffic noise levels. Overall, the preferred SNR of the birdsong was significantly higher than that of the water sound. . . . It was also found that there was no statistically significant difference in the reduction effect of PLN between the birdsong and water sounds.” Quantifying some of the effects seen: “When the traffic noise levels were below 70 dB, higher natural sound levels than the background noise level were considered as desirable . . . at higher traffic noise levels over 70 dB, the participants tended to prefer lower natural sound levels than the ambient traffic noise levels.” Responses to the sounds were not significantly different if people were looking at the corresponding hologram (a bird for birdsong and a fountain while hearing the water sound) or a loud speaker, which makes adding sounds to outdoor spaces via loudspeakers a much more viable option.
Joo Hong, Bhan Lam, Zhen-Ting Ong, Kenneth Oo, Woon-Seng Gan, Jian Kang, Samuel Yeong, Irene Lee, and Sze-Tiong Tan. 2021. “A Mixed-Reality Approach to Soundscape Assessment of Outdoor Urban Environments Augmented with Natural Sounds.” Building and Environment, vol. 194, 107688, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.107688
Hvass and teammates investigated how lighting urban spaces influence perceptions of experiences there. They determined via a field study in public transportation waiting areas and a laboratory experiment (where one light zone simulated the same sort of waiting area and the other the surrounding urban space) that “participants perceived the atmosphere in the simulated waiting area as relaxed and private when luminance intensity was low. Furthermore, they perceived the lighting as harmonious and less glaring when luminance ratios between the waiting area and the surroundings were low.” Also, “Bright lighting allows improved perception of nearby details but may make the surrounding context appear dark and unpleasant, leading to perception of decreased safety.” In addition, “Low contrast in lighting levels between the local space and the surrounding context increases perception of the area as relaxed and harmonious and decreases perceptions of glare. However, high luminance intensity in the surroundings increases visibility of objects in the surrounding context.” The lighting conditions tested were described: “For the waiting area, we defined high, medium and low intensity illuminance levels as 200, 100 and 30 lux. For the surroundings, we tested high and low intensities of 20 lux and 5 lux.”
Mette Hvass, Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, Sebastian Boring, and Ellen Hansen. 2021. “Intensity and Ratios of Lighting Affecting Perception of Space, Co-Presence and Surrounding Context, a Lab Experiment.” Building and Environment, vol. 194, 107680, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.107680
Yu and colleagues probed the implications of names appearing in UPPERCASE or lowercase letters; their findings are useful to people developing signage, etc. The Yu-lead team determined via eight experiments that “consumers perceive brands that use all uppercase letters (‘uppercase brands’) as more premium than those that use all lowercase letters (‘lowercase brands’). . . . The effect is reversed for consumers who prefer subtle signals (‘inconspicuous consumers’) because these consumers are likely to perceive a conspicuous uppercase brand as gaudy. . . . this effect appears only for public products. . . . Public products—those with a consumption context visible to others—support identity communication in the context of socializing; private products, by contrast, are typically consumed away from the public gaze.. . . we propose that the uppercase premium effect will be contingent on the product's social visibility. For privately used products, the uppercase will lose its attention-capturing function, contributing to a null effect on consumers’ conspicuousness perceptions.”
Yining Yu, Xinyue Zhou, Lei Wang, and Qiuzhen Wang. “Uppercase Premium Effect: The Role of Brand Letter Case in Brand Premiumness.” Journal of Retailing, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretai.2021.03.002
Evidence continues to grow indicating that people who are depressed have different visual experiences than those who are not. Meuwese found that when “After viewing a stressful video, participants were randomly allocated to one of two conditions, in which they watched a video of a walk in either (1) natural, or (2) built surroundings. . . . In both experiments, participants with more (rather than less) depressive symptoms displayed more stress reduction after viewing nature rather than built settings. . . . People with more depressive symptoms benefited more from viewing nature. . . . These findings suggest that nature-based interventions may be especially beneficial among people suffering from depressive symptoms. . . .Incorporating photographs or videos of nature as a background in clinical settings that may be experienced as stressful, such as waiting rooms or therapists’ offices, could reduce stress for people suffering from depression.” Also, “Prior research has shown that viewing natural scenery can improve mood and reduce stress.”
Daphne Meuwese, Karin Dijkstra, Jolanda Maas, and Sander Koole. “Beating the Blues by Viewing the Green: Depressive Symptoms Predict Greater Restoration from Stress and Negative Affect After Viewing a Nature Video.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101594
Sui and colleagues have determined that different sorts of seated experiences influence our psychological wellbeing in varying ways, with, in general greater levels of sedentary behavior linked to lower wellbeing. The team reports that via a literature review they found that “most studies demonstrated a weak, detrimental association between indices of SB [sedentary behavior] and outcomes of hedonic well-being . . . device-based SB was either weakly and negatively related or unrelated to hedonic well-being outcomes. . . . relationships between self-reported SB and outcomes of well-being are unclear. . . . screen time demonstrated a weak consistently detrimental association with hedonic well-being outcomes. . . . greater levels of SB/physical inactivity/screen time than is typical for an individual may predict lower positive affect, greater negative affect, and lower life satisfaction, independent of physical activity.” Not all sorts of sedentary behavior have the same implications; spending sedentary time mingling with others or reading, for example, was tied to higher levels of hedonic wellbeing. As the researchers point out, “Subjective well-being (SWB) holds positive implications for an individual's self-rated and objective health. . . . outcomes of hedonic well-being [include] affect [positive moods], [greater] life satisfaction.” Subjective wellbeing is an individual’s impression of their own quality of life. Sedentary behavior could take place while sitting, lying down or reclining.
Wuyou Sui, Anna Sui, and Harry Prapavessis. 2021. “Relationships Between Indices of Sedentary Behavior and Hedonic Well-Being: A Scoping Review.” Psychology of Sport and Exercise, vol. 54, 101920, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.101920