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What colors are best for emergency signage? A research team lead by Kinateder determined that when study “Participants were immersed in a virtual room with two doors (left and right), and an illuminated sign with different colored vertical bars above each door. . . . On each trial, a fire alarm sounded, and participants walked to the door that they thought was the exit. . . .  Participants predominantly walked toward green signs, even though the exit signs in the local environment—including the building where the experiment took place—were red. However, in a post-experiment survey, most participants reported that exit signs should be red. The results demonstrated a dissociation between the way observers thought they would behave in emergency situations (red = exit) and the way they did behave in simulated emergencies (green = exit). These findings have implications for the design of evacuation systems.”

Max Kinateder, William Warren, and Karen Schloss.  2018. “What Color Are Emergency Exit Signs? Egress Behavior Differs from Verbal Report.”  Applied Ergonomics, vol. 75, pp. 155-160,

The professional implications of dynamic office workstations (DOWs) were evaluated by Schellewald, Kleinert, and Ellegast.  They conducted “a 12 week observational study, 36 employees were given free access to eight DOWs (cycling devices).  Characteristics of use (i.e., frequency, duration, speed, variation of speed) were self-determined but registered objectively for every event of use. . . . employees rated their well-being immediately before (pre) and after (post) using a DOW. . .  .we found significant relationships between positive changes in the dimensions recovery, calm, and mood on the one hand and specific characteristics of use (i.e. duration, speed and variation of speed) on the other hand.  Therefore it can be assumed, that there are possible dose-response relationships between characteristics of use of DOWs and positive changes of well-being.  The implementation of DOWs might be a way to contribute to workers’ psychological health.”

V. Schellewald, J. Kleinert, and R. Ellegast.  2019. “Evaluating Relationships Between the Use of Dynamic Office Workstations (DOWs) and well-being.”  Wellbeing at Work in a Changing World:  Challenges and Opportunities, Book of Abstracts, Paris, May 22-24, p. 135.

Cajochen and colleagues investigated the effects of using LEDs that mimic daylight on user experience. They “tested an LED lighting solution mimicking a daylight spectrum. . . . young males twice spent 49 hours in the laboratory under a conventional-LED and under a daylight-LED condition. . . . volunteers had better visual comfort, felt more alert and happier in the morning and evening under daylight LED than conventional LED, while the diurnal melatonin profile, psychomotor vigilance and working memory performance were not significantly different.”  Details on the light sources:   “the spectral composition of the two LED types was different. . . . The blue peak in the conLED was more pronounced at 450 nm as compared to a smoother spectrum of the dayLED. The dayLED had a higher spectral irradiance below 440, between 460 and 520 and over 620 nm, so it was more closely matched to daylight.”

C. Cajochen, M. Freyburger, T. Basishvili, C. Garbazza, F. Rudzik, C. Renz, K. Kobayashi, Y. Shirakawa, O. Stefani, and J. Weibel.  “Effect of Daylight LED on Visual Comfort, Melatonin, Mood, Waking Performance and Sleep.” Lighting Research and Technology, in press,

Huang and colleagues studied preferences for different lighting conditions.  They investigated  “the correlation between the perceived whiteness of lighting and the corresponding colour preference of observers. . . . meta-analysis results confirm our former statement that people prefer whiter illumination. . . . it was further demonstrated that for the scenarios with multiple correlated colour temperatures ranging from 2500 K to 5500 K people indeed preferred perceptually whiter light chromaticities, while for correlated colour temperatures higher than 5500 K it seemed that they appeared too cold to be preferred.”

Z. Huang, Q. Liu, M. Luo, M. Pointer, B. Wu, and A. Liu. “The Whiteness of Lighting and Colour Preference, Part 2:  A Meta-Analysis of Psychophysical Data.”  Lighting Research and Technology, in press,

How are crime and the amount of walking done in that area related?  Foster and teammates found that  “Interrelationships between neighborhood walkability, area disadvantage, and crime may contribute to the inconsistent associations between crime and walking. . . . Participants . . . from 200 neighborhoods spanning the most and least disadvantaged in Brisbane, Australia, completed a questionnaire and objective measures were generated for the individual-level 1,000-m neighborhood. . . . High perceived crime was associated with reduced odds of transport walking, whereas high objective crime was associated with increased odds of transport walking. Patterns did not differ by neighborhood disadvantage.” Developing neighborhoods that encourage walking is often an important design goal.

Sarah Foster, Paula Hooper, Nicola Burton, Wendy Brown, Billie Giles-Corti, Jerome Rachele, and Gavin Turrell.  “Safe Habitats:  Does the Association Between Neighborhood Crime and Walking Differ By Neighborhood Disadvantage?” Environment and Behavior, in press,

Hubner and Fillinger investigated how the apparent balance and stability of elements in images influenced how much they were liked.  They determined that “for the multiple-element stimuli, there was a positive relation between balance/stability and liking. . . . each element in a picture has a certain visual ‘weight’ depending on its features like size, shape, and color (Arnheim, 1954). . . . a heavy weight located on one side of the fulcrum can be balanced by a lighter weight positioned further away on the other side. . . . Pierce (1894) observed that balance is mainly applied for the horizontal arrangement of elements, whereas for vertical arrangements stability plays a greater role. For instance, pictures were preferred when they had more weight in their lower part rather than in their upper half.. . . . pictures were rated as more balanced if the center of mass was closer to the geometric center of the picture.”  The authors point out that balance/stability are just two of the factors that can influence visual preference.

Ronald Hubner and Martin Fillinger.  “Perceptual Balance, Stability, and Aesthetic Appreciation:  Their Relations Depend on the Picture Type.”  i-Perception, in press, DOI: 10.1177/2041669519856040

Stork and colleagues investigated how music influenced mood and enjoyment of sprint interval training (SIT).  They determined that “Motivational music enhanced affect [mood] and enjoyment of sprint interval training (SIT).  Heart rate and peak power output were elevated during SIT in the music condition. Perceived exertion was similar across music, podcast, and no-audio SIT conditions. . . . While sprint interval training (SIT) is time-efficient and can elicit meaningful health benefits among adults who are insufficiently active, one major drawback is that people can find it to be unpleasant. . . . effects of researcher-selected motivational music during a low-volume SIT protocol performed by insufficiently active adults [were investigated]. . . . The application of music during SIT has the potential to enhance feelings of pleasure, improve enjoyment, and elevate performance of SIT for adults who are insufficiently active, which may ultimately lead to better adherence to this type of exercise.”  Music played by researchers was described as fast-tempo and “upbeat.”  Study participants listened to the selected music, podcasts, or neither the music nor the podcasts.

Matthew Stork, Costas Karageorghis, Kathleen Ginnis.  “Let’s Go:  Psychological, Psychophysical, and Physiological Effects of Music During Sprint Interval Exercise.” Psychology of Sport and Exercise, in press,

Research conducted by Cohen and her colleagues indicates that smells influence our memory performance; which can support strategic scentscaping of environments. The investigators had participants complete “an olfactory Pavlovian category conditioning task in which trial-unique exemplars from one of two categories were partially reinforced with an aversive odor. Participants then returned 24 h later to complete a recognition memory test. We found better corrected recognition memory for the reinforced versus the unreinforced category of stimuli in both adults and adolescents. Further analysis revealed that enhanced recognition memory was driven specifically by better memory for the reinforced exemplars. Autonomic arousal during learning was also related to subsequent memory. These findings build on previous work in adolescent and adult humans and rodents showing comparable acquisition of aversive Pavlovian conditioned responses across age groups and demonstrate that memory for stimuli with an acquired aversive association is enhanced in both adults and adolescents.”  So, memories formed are stronger when an unpleasant smell is present when whatever is to be remembered is initially experienced.  In the Cohen-lead study, participants reported smells that they thought were unpleasant before the data gathering began and unpleasant smells used included manure and rotting fish.

Alexandra Cohen, Nicholas Matese, Anastasia Filimontseva, Xinxu Shen, Tracey Shi, Ethan Livne, and Catherine Hartley.  2019.  “Aversive Learning Strengthens Episodic Memory in Both Adolescents and Adults.”  Learning and Memory, vol. 26, pp. 2720279, doi:  19.1101/lm.048413.118

Roskams and Haynes studied how workplace design can promote employee health. Via a literature review they distinguished  “three components of an employee’s ‘sense of coherence’ (comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness), an individual orientation associated with more positive health outcomes. . . . Comprehensibility can be supported by effectively implementing a clear set of rules governing the use of the workplace. Manageability can be supported through biophilic design solutions, and through design which supports social cohesion and physical activity. Meaningfulness can be supported by recognising the importance of personal identity expression and through design which reinforces the employees’ sense of purpose. . . . The key contribution of this paper is to encourage researchers and practitioners to recognise the crucial role that an individual’s sense of coherence plays in supporting higher levels of physical and mental health.”

Michael Roskams and Barry Haynes.  2019. “Salutogenic Workplace Design:  A Conceptual Framework for Supporting Sense of Coherence Through Environmental Resources.”  Journal of Corporate Real Estate, in press.

A research team lead by Dillon has determined that our brain may be particularly attuned to identifying lines that are parallel or perpendicular; which suggests that deviations from parallel and perpendicular conditions are reliably noted.  The researchers found that “participants were most precise when detecting 2 parallel or perpendicular lines among other pairs of lines at different relative orientations. Detection was also enhanced for 2 connected lines whose angle approached 90°, with precision peaking at 90°. These patterns emerged despite large variations in the scales and orientations of the angle exemplars. . . . the enhanced detection of perpendiculars persisted when stimuli were rotated in depth, indicating a capacity to discriminate shapes based on perpendicularity in 3 dimensions despite large variation in angles’ 2-dimensional projections. The results suggest that 2 categorical concepts which lie at the foundation of Euclidean geometry, parallelism and perpendicularity, are reflected in our discrimination of simple visual forms.”

Moira Dillon, Marianne Duyck, Stanislas Dehaene, and Veronique Izard.  “Geometric Categories in Cognition.”  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, in press,


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