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Arnal and teammates probed what sorts of sounds alarm humans.  They found that “One strategy, exploited by alarm signals, consists in emitting fast but perceptible amplitude modulations in the roughness range (30–150 Hz). . . . Rough sounds synchronise activity throughout superior temporal regions, subcortical and cortical limbic areas, and the frontal cortex, a network classically involved in aversion processing.”  Rough sounds from 40-80 Hz are especially unpleasant for us to hear.  The 40-80 Hz range is where the frequencies of babies crying, human screams, and many alarms are found.

Luc Arnal, Andreas Kleinschmidt, Laurent Spinelli, Anne-Lise Giraud, and Pierre Megevand.  2019. “The Rough Sound of Salience Enhances Aversion Through Neural Synchronisation.”  Nature Communications, vol. 10, article 3671,

Tezer and Bodur evaluated the effects of environmentally responsible situations on how people feel. They determined that their “research explores how using a green product (e.g., a pair of headphones made from recycled materials) influences the enjoyment of the accompanying consumption experience (e.g., listening to music), even if consumers have not deliberately chosen or purchased the product. Five experiments in actual consumption settings revealed that using a green (vs. conventional) product enhances the enjoyment of the accompanying consumption experience, referred to as the greenconsumption effect. Merely using a green product makes consumers perceive an increase in the extent to which they are valued as individuals by society, which leads to warm glow feelings, and consequently enhances the enjoyment of the accompanying consumption experience. When consumers experience low social worth, the positive effect of using green products on the accompanying consumption experience is amplified. The greenconsumption effect disappears when the negative environmental impact of the green product attribute is low.”

Ali Tezer and H. Bodur. “The Greenconsumption Effect:  How Using Green Products Improves Consumption Experiences.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press,

De Bellis and colleagues investigated product customization.  They report that “Mass customization interfaces typically guide consumers through the configuration process in a sequential manner, focusing on one product attribute after the other. . . . A series of large-scale field and experimental studies, conducted with Western and Eastern consumers, shows that matching the interface to consumers’ culture-specific processing style enhances the effectiveness of mass customization. Specifically, presenting the same information isolated (by attribute) to Western consumers but contextualized (by alternative) to Eastern consumers increases satisfaction with and likelihood of purchasing the configured product, along with the amount of money spent on the product.”

Emanuel de Bellis, Christian Hildebrand, Kenichi Ito, Andreas Hermann, and Bernd Schmitt. “Personalizing the Customization Experience:  A Matching Theory of Mass Customization Interfaces and Cultural Information Processing.”  Journal of Marketing Research, in press,

Keijzer and colleagues set out to confirm the health benefits of living near greenspaces.  They determined that “More residential surrounding greenspace was associated with lower risk of metabolic syndrome. . . . Metabolic syndrome is an important risk factor for non-communicable diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke. . . . The present longitudinal study was based on data from four clinical examinations between 1997 and 2013 in 6076 participants of the Whitehall II study, UK (aged 45–69 years at baseline). Long-term exposure to greenspace was assessed by satellite-based indices of greenspace . . . averaged across buffers of 500 and 1000 m surrounding the participants’ residential location. . . .  An interquartile range increase in NDVI [Normalized Difference Vegetation Index] and VCF [Vegetation Continuous Field] in the 500 m buffer was associated with 13% . . . and 14% . . . lower risk of metabolic syndrome, respectively.”  Statistical analyses controlled (accounted) for factors such as participant sex, lifestyle factors, and socioeconomic status.

Carmende Keijzer, Xavier Basagana, Cathryn Tonne, Antonia Valentin, Jordi Alonso, Josep Anto, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Mika Kivimaki, Archana Sing-Manoux, Jordi Sunyer, and Payam Dadvand. “Long-Term Exposure to Greenspace and Metabolic Syndrome:  A Whitehall II Study.”   Environmental Pollution, in press,

Moran determined that nature experiences, “real” or via images, have a restorative effect on people in prison, they seem to reduce their mental fatigue.  She reports “results of a survey of prisoners at a large medium-security prison for men in the United Kingdom. It reflects on prisoners' experiences in relation to elements of the environment in which they reside; specifically, outdoor green spaces and green views in the form of whole-wall photographic images of the natural environment. In an otherwise stressful context, such elements were self-reported to enable restorative effects, and to increase feelings of calm, and the ability to reflect.”

Dominique Moran.  2019.  “Back to Nature?  Attention Restoration Theory and the Restorative Effects of Nature Contact in Prison.”  Health and Place, vol. 57, pp. 35-43,

Pelowski and colleagues studied how gallery lighting influences appraisals and emotional experience of visual art.    They report that when “Participants viewed a selection of original representational and abstract art under three different CCT [temperature] conditions. . . . The selected lighting temperatures were chosen based on an initial investigation of existing art museums within the Vienna area. . . . We also allowed the same participants to set the light temperature themselves in order to test hypotheses regarding what might be an ‘ideal’ lighting condition for art. In Study 2, we explored the question of whether artworks made by an artist to match specific lighting conditions show a resulting connection to the ratings of viewers when shown in the same or different light. Results showed almost no effects from lighting changes in both studies. Viewers’ self-set light temperature (mean = 3777 K) did roughly coincide with the suggested most enjoyable conditions for everyday living and some past research on art viewing, but again showed wide interpersonal variance.”

Matthew Pelowski, AndreaGraser, Eva Specker, Michael Forster, Josefine von Hinuber, and Helmut Leder.  2019.  “Does Gallery Lighting Really Have an Impact on Appreciation of Art?  An Ecologically Valid Study of Lighting Changes and the Assessment and Emotional Experience With Representational and Abstract Paintings.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 10, no. 2148,

Garrett and colleagues investigated links between how close people live to the coast and self-reported mental health.  They determined that “Living ≤1 km from the coast was associated with better mental health for urban adults. . . . this was only among the lowest-earning households.”  Also, “self-reported general health in England is higher among populations living closer to the coast, and the association is strongest amongst more deprived groups. . . . For urban adults, living ≤1 km from the coast, in comparison to >50 km, was associated with better mental health. . . . Stratification by household income revealed this was only amongst the lowest-earning households, and extended to ≤5 km.”  This research supports siting homes for lower income groups relatively close to coasts, for example.

Joanne Garrett, Theodore Clitherow, Mathew White, Benedict Wheeler, and Lora Fleming.  “Coastal Proximity and Mental Health Among Urban Adults in England:  The Moderating Effect of Household Income.”  Health and Place, in press,

King and Auschaitrakul evaluated how patterns in the first letters of words in statements influence conclusions drawn; their findings are relevant when brand claims are presented, for example.  The researchers determined that “consumers are able to unconsciously perceive the mere sequence of symbols contained in a brand claim, and . . . this sequence information influences judgments of truth. Across three experiments, we showed that when a brand claim is structured in a way that is consistent with the natural sequence of symbols (‘A causes B’ rather than ‘B causes A’), people experience feelings of sequential fluency, which in turn influences judgments of truth. This occurs despite the inability of participants to attribute the true source of the feelings. Our results suggest that carefully designed brand claims are likely to benefit from this natural sequencing.”  What these findings mean in practice is that if the first letters of a claim follow alphabetical order then that claim is perceived to be more truthful.  An example of a claim in which the words are in alphabetical order:  Aspirin beats headaches.

Dan King and Sumitra Auschaitrakul.  “Symbolic Sequence Effects on Consumers’ Judgments of Truth for Brand Claims.”  Journal of Consumer Psychology, in press,

Africa, Heerwagen, Loftness, and Balagtas identify ways that biophilic design can support the wellbeing of people and the planet.  They report that “Natural settings like landscaped campuses, atria, rooftops, and shoreline esplanades that embody or recall an oasis of ecological normalcy (e.g., the experience of seasons, historical leisure activities or the passage of time) foster psychological stability and anchor resilience. Contact with salutogenic [health and wellbeing supporting] natural elements through views, materials, sounds, and architecture during discrete periods when recreation and relaxation outside are less safe can buffer individual and community stressors. Circadian-effective lighting strategies support overall health and, specifically, help regulate sleep-wake cycles. . . .  Communal spaces like green roofs, atria, and gardens are pro-social and encourage social cohesion (Williams, 2017). Relationships developed in these spaces knits a kind of “social infrastructure” that is the warp and weft of resilience and adaptation (Klinenberg, 2018).”    

Julia Africa, Judith Heerwagen, Vivian Loftness, and Catherine Balagtas. 2019.   “Biophilic Design and Climate Change:  Performance Parameters for Health.”  Frontiers in Built Environment, vol. 5, no. 28,

What’s it like to live or work in a tall building, one with 30 or more floors?  Ng reviewed “recent empirical studies on occupants’ perception of tall buildings, and physiological and psychological experiences in relation to its tallness. Occupants perceive better view, less noise, and better air quality as benefits for living and working on higher floors than on lower floors. However, occupants also expressed concerns about height, difficulty with vertical transportation, strong wind, and escape in case of fire.”

Cheuk Ng.  2017.  “Living and Working in Tall Buildings:  Satisfaction and Perceived Benefits and Concerns of Occupants.”  Frontiers in Built Environment, vol. 3, no. 70,


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