Latest Blog Posts

Jeon and Jo studied the effects of visual and acoustic information on satisfaction with urban environments and it is likely that their findings are applicable in other contexts.  The duo determined that when “Actual site conditions were simulated using immersive virtual reality technology in which subjects were provided with visual information via a head-mounted display (HMD) and audio information via head-tracking technology using the first-order ambisonics (FOA) of headphone-based three-dimensional auralization. . . . It was shown that the availability of visual information affects the auditory perception of a number of human-made and natural sounds and the availability of audio information affects the visual perception of various visual elements. . . . One new finding was that audio information affects the perception of the naturalness of a landscape. Audio and visual information had effects of 24 and 76%, respectively, on overall satisfaction.”

Jin Jeon and Hyun Jo. 2020. “Effects of Audio-Visual Interactions on Soundscape and Landscape Perception and Their Influence on Satisfaction with the Urban Environment.”  Building and Environment, vol. 169, no. 106554,

Via aseries of studies, Wijaya and colleagues explored aspects of our sense of touch.  They determined that materials experienced as smooth, slippery, and soft were perceived as pleasant when rubbed on a human forearm.

Maria Wijaya, Darwin Lau, Sophie Horrocks, Francis McGlone, Helena Ling, and Annett Schirmer.  “The Human ‘Feel’ of Touch Contributes to Its Perceived Pleasantness.”  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Human Perception and Performance, in press, doi: 10.1037/xhp0000705

Tham and colleagues investigated associations to particular colors at a cultural level using language groups (adults who only spoke English, who only spoke Chinese, or who were bilingual in English and Chinese).  Their “findings reveal conceptual color associations that appear to be universal across all cultures (e.g., white – purity; blue – water/sky related; green – health; purple – regal; pink – “female” traits) as well as culture specific (e.g., red and orange – enthusiastic in Chinese; red – attraction in English).”

Diana Tham, Paul Sowden, Alexandra Grandison, Anna Franklin, Anna Lee, Michelle Ng, Juhyun Park, Weiguo Pang, and Jingwen Zhao. “A Systematic Investigation of Conceptual Color Associations.”  Journal of Experimental Psychology, in press,

Siri and colleagues investigated whether the format of a piece of visual art influences how it is perceived by viewers.  The team had people look at abstract works of art, without knowing if the piece they were looking at was an original or a digital reproduction of that original. The researchers collected physiological data related to participant energy level and “participants provided behavioral ratings of color intensity, emotional intensity, aesthetic evaluation, perceived movement, and desire to touch the works of art. . . . results demonstrated that the faithful high-quality digital reproductions of works of art could be as arousing as the original works of art, but at the same time, they cannot replace the experience of standing in front of an authentic work of art in terms of explicit hedonic [pleasure-related] attributed values. . . . participants explicitly attributed higher scores in Emotion and Touch judgments to real works of art than to their digital reproductions.  In contrast, no significant differences emerged when participants judged the color intensity, the perceived movement, and the aesthetic value of digital and real works of art.. . . we did not find any difference between authentic works of art and their digital reproductions in terms of physiological measures.”

Francesca Siri, Francesca Ferroni, Martina Ardizzi, Anna Kolesnikova, Marcella Beccaria, Barbara Rocci, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, and Vittorio Gallese.  “Behavioral and Autonomic Responses to Real and Digital Reproductions of Works of Art.”  Progress in Brain Research, in press,

Samermit and colleagues have determined that pairing disliked sounds (such as “nails scratching a chalkboard”) with videos presenting a more positive explanation for that sound (such as “someone playing a flute”) reduces the negative implications of hearing those sounds.  They report that “We propose that cross-sensory stimuli presenting a positive attributable source of an aversive sound can modulate negative reactions to the sound.”  The researchers utilized “original video sources (OVS) of eight aversive sounds (e.g., nails scratching a chalkboard) . . . .[and] positive attributable video sources (PAVS) of those same sounds (e.g., someone playing a flute)” as well as sound only recordings of the aversive sounds. The researchers determined that  “compared to the sounds alone . . . concurrent presentation of PAVS videos significantly reduced negative reactions to the sounds, and the concurrent presentation of OVS videos significantly increased negative reactions. . . . Our results provide novel evidence that negative reactions to aversive sounds can be modulated through cross-sensory temporal syncing with a positive attributable video source.”  Study participants rated the sounds, when they were presented with the videos and without the videos, on discomfort and unpleasantness, for example.

Patrawat Samermit, Jeremy Saal, and Nicolas Davidenko.  2019.  “Cross-Sensory Stimuli Modulate Reactions to Aversive Sounds.”  Multisensory Research, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 197-213,

Research indicates that people have situation-specific reactions to recycled water; reported findings are likely applicable in other contexts with other recycled materials.  Gauvain and Harmon determined that “If people are educated on recycled water, they may come to agree it’s perfectly safe and tastes as good — or better — than their drinking water. . . . But that doesn’t mean they’re going to use recycled water — and it sure doesn’t mean they’ll drink it. And the reason lies in the word ‘disgust.’ . . . Past research by Harmon and Gauvain explored whether people sense a difference in taste among recycled water, conventional tap water, and commercially bottled water. That study . . . was based on a blind taste test and found people actually preferred the taste of recycled water over conventional tap water.” Gauvain and Harmon’s results are published in Basic and Applied Social Psychology.

“Get Over It?  When It Comes to Recycled Water, Consumers Won’t.” 2019.  Press release, University of California, Riverside,

Astolfi and colleagues investigated the effects of classroom acoustics on the educational experiences of young people, age 6 to 7.  They determined that findings of the study suggest that long reverberation times, which are associated to poor classroom acoustics as they generate higher noise levels and degraded speech intelligibility, bring pupils to a reduced perception of having fun and being happy with themselves. Furthermore, bad classroom acoustics is also related to an increased perception of noise intensity and disturbance, particularly in the case of traffic noise and noise from adjacent school environments.”

Arianna Astolfi, Giuseppina Puglisi, Silvia Murgia, Greta Minelli, Franco Pellerey, Andrea Prato, and Tiziana Secco. “The Influence of Classroom Acoustics on Noise Disturbance and Well-Being for First Graders.”  2019.  Frontiers in Psychology, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02736

Sjolander and colleagues examined the effects of showing people having colonoscopies nature videos during the procedure and found that the patients exposed to the nature videos experienced less stress.  As they describe “One of the four endoscopy rooms was rebuilt to include a large digital screen showing calm nature films. . . . The presence of calm nature films during colonoscopy decreased the release of cortisol, increased prolactin levels, and enhanced oxygen saturation. These effects were more apparent in patients who were unfamiliar with the procedure and the environment, patients who underwent the examination without analgesics or sedation, and patients whose examination procedure was relatively difficult and took a long time.”  The nature video was shown on a 85.8 inch x 52.4 inch digital screen “mounted on the wall directly in front of the patient. . . . A loudspeaker playing nature sounds such as birdsong or flowing water was placed under the pillow. . . . patients could choose to have the sound on or off. . . . [films] showed scenes such as trees with leaves moving in the wind or a brook with running water.”

Annica Sjolander, Eva Ung, and Tores Theorelli, Asa Nilsson, and Kjell-Arne Ung. “Hospital Design With Nature Films Reduces Stress-Related Variables in Patients Undergoing Colonoscopy.” HERD: Health Environments Research and Design Journal, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 186-196,

Kim, Burr, and Alais studied how recently viewed art influences perceptions of subsequently seen pieces.  Their results “showed that the current painting earned significantly higher aesthetic ratings when participants viewed a more attractive painting on the previous trial, compared to when they viewed a less attractive one. . . . findings show that aesthetic judgments are not sequentially independent.”  So, the impressions you form of a painting you are seeing now are related to the attractiveness of whatever painting you saw before it.  Paintings presented to study participants were landscapes or still lifes.

Sujin Kim, David Burr, and David Alais.  2019. “Attraction to the Recent Past in Aesthetic Judgments:  A Positive Serial Dependence for Rating Artwork.”  Journal of Vision, vol. 19, no. 19,

Wind can effectively support ventilating room and regulating their temperature; gentle movement is an important aspect of biophilic design.  Researchers determined that “wind can increase ventilation rates by as much as 40% above that which is driven by a temperature difference between a room and the outdoors. . . . researchers found that the rate of ventilation depends less on temperature and more on wind. Anyone who has tried to cool down on a hot night by opening the window will no doubt be familiar with how ineffective this is when there is no wind. This is because in many rooms, windows are positioned halfway up the wall, and when they are opened, the warm air near the ceiling can’t easily escape. Without the ‘mixing’ effect provided by the wind, the warm air will stay at the ceiling, unless there is another way for it to escape at the top of the room.” Study results are published in Building and Environment.

“Wind More Effective Than Cold Air at Cooling Rooms Naturally.”  2019.  Press release, University of Cambridge,


Subscribe to Latest Blog Posts