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Clobert and colleagues investigated how culture influences the relationship between moods and health—and research consistently shows design-mood links.  The Clobert-lead team reports that “North American (vs. East Asian) cultures tend to value high arousal positive (HAP) states, for example, excited, more than low arousal positive (LAP) states, for example, calm. . . . . Positive affective experience is manifest in internal feelings but also in affective practices, such as taking a bath (a highly valued affective experience in Japan) or a fitness workout (a highly valued affective experience in the United States). . . . we examined how health outcomes are shaped by positive affective feelings and practices varying in arousal. . . . HAP feelings predicted better physical and biological health in the United States but not in Japan. . . . engaging in HAP practices predicted better physical and biological health in the United States whereas engaging in LAP practices predicted better physical health in Japan but not in the United States.”  The researchers collected data via surveys in the United States and in Japan.

Magali Clobert, Tamara Sims, Jiah Yoo, Yuri Miyamoto, Hazel Markus, Mayumi Karasawa, and Cynthia Levine. “Feeling Excited or Taking a Bath: Do Distinct Pathways Underlie the Positive Affect-Health Link in the U.S. and Japan?”  Emotion, in press, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000531

Appel-Meulenbroek and colleagues collected information from workers born into different generations to learn more about perceived workplace design-related needs and preferences.  The variations they identified were present at the time that their research was conducted and may or may not persist as members of various generations age.  The investigators defined Baby Boomers as born from 1946 – 1964, members of Generation X as being born from 1965 – 1979, and Millennials as born 1980 – 1998.  Data were obtained from hundreds of Dutch office employees who are members of one of the three generations noted.  The researchers determined that “Millennials indicated the physical workplace aspects accessibility of colleagues and informal work areas/ break-out zones to be significantly more important than generation X did. . . . Millennials perceived the ability to personalise their workstation to be a more important support for a work-life balance than generation X. . . . Companies that specifically want to satisfy their millennials could thus pay special attention to informal work areas and break- out zones, accessibility of colleagues and the ability to personalise a workstation. . . . Based on the analyses and the interpretation of the results, it can be concluded that there are differences between generations regarding their needs and their preferences for physical workplace aspects. However, those differences between generations are rather small.”

H. Appel-Meulenbroek, S. Vosters, A. Kemperman, and T. Arentze.  2019.  “Workplace Needs and Their Support:  Are Millennials Different from Other Generations?”  Twenty-Fifth Annual Pacific Rim Real Estate Society Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Nardini and colleagues’ findings are consistent with those of previous studies of how taking photographs influences experience: “people almost invariably take pictures during highly enjoyable experiences such as vacations or important family events. Although past research has suggested that taking pictures may enhance the enjoyment of moderately enjoyable experiences, the effect of picture taking on the real‐time enjoyment of highly enjoyable experiences is not clear. . . . A series of laboratory studies demonstrate that taking pictures (compared with not taking pictures) can decrease enjoyment of highly enjoyable experiences. This study suggests that, by constantly striving to document their experiences, consumers may unwittingly fail to enjoy those experiences to the fullest. These results have implications for how firms may best stage experiential offerings to enhance their customers’ experiences.”  The Nardini-lead team’s findings may help designers understand space use research findings, for example.

Gia Nardini, Richard Lutz, and Robyn LeBoeuf.  “How and When Taking Pictures Undermines the Enjoyment of Experiences.”  Psychology and Marketing, in press, https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21194

How do middle aisles influence shopping behavior?  Page and colleagues set out to  “establish the effectiveness of a supermarket layout with a middle aisle splitting all other aisles, compared to a ‘traditional’ layout (without a middle aisle). . . . The research aims to . . . explore the shopper traffic entering and existing the middle aisle, and interaction with endcap promotions . . . and . . . compare the two stores based on basket size (in items and dollars) and trip duration. . . . all performance metrics are almost identical between the two stores [one with and one without a middle aisle] on the overall level. . . . the presence of a middle aisle does not bring any additional value in terms of making the store easier or quicker to navigate. . . . in most occasions, shoppers pass through the aisle as if there was no break.”

Bill Page, Giang Trinh, and Svetlana Bogomolova.  2019. “Comparing Two Supermarket Layouts: The Effect of a Middle Aisle on Basket Size, Spend, Trip Duration and Endcap Use.”  Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, vol. 47, pp. 49-56, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2018.11.001

Grassini and colleagues studied the psychological implications of viewing nature and urban scenes and their findings are consistent with previous research.  The investigators report that “During EEG [electroencephalography] recording, the participants . . . were presented with a series of photos depicting urban or natural scenery. . . . Our data suggest that the visual perception of natural environments calls for less attentional and cognitive processing, compared with urban ones. . . . Subjects rated the images of natural scenery as more relaxing than the urban ones, and the images containing water elements as the most relaxing. . . . In summary, our electrophysiological results suggest that perception of natural environments, even when depicted in static images, is less attentionally and cognitively demanding for the human brain, compared to perception of urban ones.”  

Simone Grassini, Antti Revonsuo, Serena Castellotti, Irene Petrizzo, Viola Benedetti, and Mika Koivisto. “Processing of Natural Scenery Is Associated with Lower Attentional and Cognitive Load Compared with Urban Ones.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/jj.jenvp.2019.01.007

Plotnick reports on the design of push [e.g., control-type] buttons.  As material on her publisher’s website states, “Push a button and turn on the television; tap a button and get a ride; click a button and ‘like’ something. The touch of a finger can set an appliance, a car, or a system in motion, even if the user doesn't understand the underlying mechanisms or algorithms. How did buttons become so ubiquitous? Why do people love them, loathe them, and fear them? In Power Button, Rachel Plotnick traces the origins of today's push-button society by examining how buttons have been made, distributed, used, rejected, and refashioned throughout history.”

Rachel Plotnick. 2018.  Power Button:  A History of Pleasure, Panic, and the Politics of Pushing. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Hadi and Block investigated the effects of comfortable and uncomfortable temperatures on decision making. They determined that “the adoption of an affective [emotional] decision-making style makes individuals feel warmer . . . and more comfortable in response to uncomfortably cold temperature. . . . individuals spontaneously rely more or less on affect when feeling uncomfortably cold or warm, respectively . . . which ultimately influences consequential downstream variables (e.g., willingness to pay). . . .  This effect holds in response to both tactile [skin contact] . . . and ambient [air] . . . temperature exposure and is most exaggerated at extreme temperatures.”

Rhonda Hadi and Lauren Block.  “Warm Hearts and Cool Heads:  Uncomfortable Temperature Influences Reliance on Affect in Decision Making.”  Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, in press, https://doi.org/10.1086/701820

Perrault and team investigated the benefits of gentle rocking.  They “previously showed that a gentle rocking stimulation (0.25 Hz), during an afternoon nap, facilitates wake-sleep transition and boosts endogenous brain oscillations. . . . [in the current study the team] analyzed EEG brain responses . . . from . . .  participants while they had a full night of sleep on a rocking bed. . . . compared to a stationary night, continuous rocking shortened the latency to non-REM (NREM) sleep and strengthened sleep maintenance. . . . during the rocking night, overnight memory consolidation was enhanced.” So, gentle rocking leads to better sleep (falling sleep faster, sleeping more soundly, and waking up fewer times after going to sleep) and enhanced memory consolidation.  For more on memory consolidation, see this webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_consolidation.

Aurore Perrault, Abbas Khani, Charles Quairiaux, Konstantinos Kompotis, Paul Franken, Michel Muhlethaler, Sophie Schwartz, and Laurence Bayer.  “Whole-Night Continuous Rocking Entrains Spontaneous Neural Oscillations with Benefits for Sleep and Memory.”  Current Biology, in press, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.12.028

Dong, Huang, Labroo link sounds heard and choices made.  The research team found that “Managers often use music as a marketing tool. . . . in service settings, slow music to boost relaxation, and classical music for sophistication. . . .  Employing field, laboratory, and online studies, the authors find that listening to higher-pitched music increases consumers’ likelihood to choose healthy options [vs. lower-pitched music] . . . order lower-calorie foods . . .  and engage in health-boosting activities. . . .  This effect arises because high pitch raises salience of morality thoughts . . . and attenuates [weakens]  when consumers do not perceive healthy choice as virtuous.”

Ping Dong, Xun Huang, and Aparna Labroo.  “Cueing Morality:  The Effect of High-Pitched Music on Healthy Choice.”  Journal of Marketing, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/0022242918813577

Design can make it more likely that people will move from floor-to-floor in a building using stairs instead of elevators/escalators—for example, by locating stairs in more prominent locations.  New research confirms how beneficial stair use, even short bursts of it, can be. Jenkins and team “investigated the effect of stair climbing exercise ‘snacks’ on peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak). Sedentary young adults were randomly assigned to perform 3 bouts/d[ay]  of vigorously ascending a three-flight stairwell (60 steps), separated by 1-4 h[ours] of recovery, 3d/w[ee]k for 6 wk, or a non-training control group. . . . VO2 peak was higher in the climbers post-intervention . . . suggesting that stair climbing ‘snacks’ are effective in improving cardiorespiratory fitness, although the absolute increase was modest.”

Elizabeth Jenkins, Leah Nairn, Lauren Skelly, Jonathan Little, and Martin Gibala.  “Do Stair Climbinb Exercise ‘Snacks’ Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness?” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, in press, https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2018-0675

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