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Kim and Maher studied metaphors that support the development of smart environments, i.e., spaces where technology is embedded.  They share that “[the device metaphor]represents performing tasks through users’ direct control. It encompasses providing better service, performance, and ease of control by using an interactive design as a device. . . .  A smart environment with embodied interaction is a robot in the sense that it is an intelligent machine capable of performing tasks without explicit human control.. . . A smart environment with embodied interaction is a friend in the sense that the interaction centers around advising and supporting the users.. . . the device metaphor is strongly associated with direct manipulation, the robot metaphor involves automated features and physical movements, and the friend metaphor reflects conversational interaction and a human-like manner.”  An important definition: “Embodied interaction is interaction between computer systems and people that involves our physical bodies for the interaction in a natural way, for example, gestures.”  This article is available free at the website noted below.

Jingoog Kim and Mary Maher. 2020.  “Conceptual Metaphors for Designing Smart Environments:  Device, Robot, and Friend.”  Frontiers in Psychology, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00198

Organizations concerned about the wellbeing of their members now have another issue to consider.  Cornil, Gomez, and Vasiljevic report that “At work, at school, at the gym club or even at home, consumers often face challenging situations in which they are motivated to perform their best. . . .  activating [triggering thoughts of] performance goals, whether in cognitive or physical domains, leads to an increase in consumption of high-calorie foods at the expense of good nutrition. This effect derives from beliefs that the function of food is to provide energy for the body (“food as fuel”) coupled with poor nutrition literacy, leading consumers to overgeneralize the instrumental role of calories for performance.”

Yann Cornil, Pierrick Gomez, and Dimitri Vasiljevic.  “Food as Fuel:  Performance Goals Increase Consumption of High-Calorie Foods at the Expense of Good Nutrition.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucaa012

Williams and colleagues evaluated preferences for various painting techniques.  They determined that “brushstroke paintings were found to be more pleasing than pointillism paintings.”

Louis Williams, Eugene McSorley, and Rachel McCloy.  “Enhanced Associations with Actions of the Artist Influence Gaze Behaviour.”  i-Perception, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/2041669520911059

Nakano and Tanabe studied reactions to air temperature in urban semi-outdoor environments, such as atria, terraces, and sidewalk eating areas.  They determined that “Clothing adjustments showed higher correlation with outdoor temperature, not the immediate environment. Occupants in non-HVAC spaces were more responsive to their environment. . . . The comfort zone . . . was found to be 19 - 30°C for HVAC spaces and 15 - 32°C for non-HVAC spaces."

Junta Nakano and Shin-Ichi Tanabe.  “Thermal Adaptation and Comfort Zones in Urban Semi-Outdoor Environments.”  Frontiers in Built Environment, in press, doi:  10.3389/fbuil.2020.00034

Chen, He, and Yu investigated the brain mechanics underlying attention restoration.  They had study participants spend 20 minutes wearing a cap that collected information about brain activity in a “restorative (wooded garden [by a pond]) or a nonrestorative (traffic island [in a heavily trafficked road]) environment. . . . the perceived coherence of the restorative environment may induce fatigue recovery and, hence, attention restoration via alpha-theta oscillations and synchronization. The increased alpha-theta oscillations in the occipital lobes suppress visual processing, allowing the human brain to reorganize itself via alpha-theta synchronization. . . . The reduced load in external visual information processing allows the brain to focus more on self-restoration, which eventually leads to fatigue recovery and, consequently, improved attention-related cognitive performance.” An important clarification: “Environmental coherence reflects orderly organization with simple distinct regions, repeating themes and unifying textures.”

Zheng Chen, Yujia He, and Yuguo Yu.  “Attention Restoration During Environmental Exposure Via Alpha-Theta Oscillations and Synchronization.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101406

Iravani and Rao looked at links between New Urbanist design and health.  They specifically studied  “how the 10 New Urbanism principles produce outcomes that affect public health. The outcomes include: (1) higher usage of non-motorized and public transit modes, which results in more physical activity; (2) lower usage of private automobiles, which results in less air pollution; (3) safer streets, which results in fewer traffic accidents; and (4) complete community planning for residents, regardless of income, age or ideas, which results in better access to health resources. These results improve public health. . . . Higher intersection density and roadway connectivity with narrower roads result in an urban form that induces behavioural changes that promote the use of non-motorized modes of transportation and a higher level of physical activity, bringing with them the attendant health and wellness benefits. . . . residents in mixed-use areas walk and/or cycle more frequently and have better health.“    

Hamid Iravani and Venkat Rao.  2020.  “The Effects of New Urbanism on Public Health.” Journal of Urban Design vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 218-235, https://doi.org/10.1080/13574809.2018.1554997

Xu, Chen, Li and Menassa investigated environmentally responsible behavior in offices.  They determined that “while injunctive norms are an important predictor of behavioral intention for single-person offices, descriptive norms are an important one for shared offices. . . . perceived control over energy-saving and perceived ease of access to building control features have no direct impacts on energy-saving behaviors in single-person offices, while they have impacts on energy-saving behaviors in shared offices. . . . developing smaller areas in a shared office and enabling sub-space control can also increase the level of control and empower energy-saving behaviors for occupants. For example, an occupant leaving their space can turn off their own lights without affecting others.” Descriptive norms are described as “how co-workers are actually doing in saving energy” while injunctive norms are “what they believe their co-workers approve of.”  

Xiaojing Xu, Chien-Fei Chen, Da Li and Carol Menassa.  2020. “Energy Saving at Work:  Exploring the Role of Social Norms, and Perceived Control and Ascribed Responsibility in Different Office Layouts.”  Frontiers in Built Environment, https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2020.00016

Pizzi and colleagues investigated the implications of experiencing retail environments physically and virtually.  They determined that “Whereas previous research demonstrated the importance of consumers' hedonic [pleasure-related] and utilitarian shopping orientations in traditional channels, this study examines the potential of a VR store to elicit hedonism and utilitarianism. . . . . Participants were exposed to the same shelf in a VR-based and a physical store. We found . . . VR elicits both utilitarianism and hedonism. . . . behaviors in the VR-based and physical stores compare quite well.”

Gabriele Pizzi, Daniele Scarpi,  Marco Pichierri, and Virginia Vannucci.  2019.  “Virtual Reality, Real Reactions?: Comparing Consumers’ Perceptions and Shopping Orientation Across Physical and Virtual-Reality Retail Stores.”  Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 96, pp. 1-12, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.02.008

Usrey and colleagues investigated how being described as environmental responsible influences perceptions of product effectiveness.  Their work focuses on “the performance liability associated with green products, in which consumers perceive them as being less effective. This research examines the concept of ‘green understatement’ (i.e., communication of implicit green signals [not emphasizing green product attributes]) compared with ‘green emphasis’ (i.e., communication of explicit green signals [emphasizing green attributes]) in green product advertising as a strategy to enhance performance evaluations. . . . We suggest and show that implicit green signals are more effective in conditions under which consumers have more concerns about the product’s performance or have lower expectations about its greenness. More specifically, the results of two experimental studies show that implicit (versus explicit) communication about greenness leads to higher performance evaluations for products that are less commonly green . . . and for products that have an optional green mode.”

Bryan Usrey, Dayananda Palihawadana, Charalampos Saridakis and Aristeidis Theotokis.”How Downplaying Product Greenness Affects Performance Evaluations:  Examining the Effects of Implicit and Explicit Green Signals in Advertising.”  Journal of Advertising, in press, https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.2020.1712274

Verhagen and teammates studied links between consumer in-store experiences and those they have online.  The investigators determined that “consumer evaluations of a firm’s online store have been found to be influenced by consumer interactions with the firm’s in‐store personnel. . . . we propose hypotheses and accordingly model in‐store personnel’s competence and friendliness as determinants of online store usefulness, online store enjoyment, and online store value. Using consumer data collected from two Dutch multichannel retailers, we test this model. . . . The results provide clear support for the model and confirm that consumers may use characteristics of in‐store personnel as analogies when evaluating a firm’s online store.” Additional links between other aspects of in-store and online experiences seem probable.

Tibert Verhagen, Willemijn van Dolen, and Jani Merikivi.  2019. “The Influence of In-Store Personnel on Online Store Value:  An Analogical Transfer Perspective.”  Psychology and Marketing, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 161-174, https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21172

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