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Mostafa has written a classic article on how design can support the wellbeing of people on the autism spectrum; it is available without charge at the web address noted below. Mostafa’s text focuses on the post-occupancy evaluation of a pre-K-8thgrade school, but the insights shared are applicable in a much wider range of space types.  Mostafa recommends, for example that “provisions should be made for different levels of acoustical control in various rooms, so students can ‘graduate’ from one level of acoustical control to the next, slowly moving towards a typical environment. . . . Spaces should flow . . . through one-way circulation whenever possible. . . . .the presence of transition zones helps the user recalibrate their senses. . . . Such zones can take on a variety of forms and may be anything from a distinct node that indicates a shift in circulation to a full sensory room that allows the user to re-calibrate their sensory stimulation level. . . . Specifying robust materials, safety fittings to protect from hot water, detailing fixtures to avoid small removable parts or hanging strings and an avoidance of sharp edges and corners are examples of some of the considerations that may reduce [safety] risks.”

Magda Mostafa. 2018.  “Designing for Autism:  An ASPECTSS ™ Post-Occupancy Evaluation of Learning Environments.”  International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 308-326,

Body position has been linked to eating experiences.  Investigators share that “The results of six experiments show that vestibular sensations related to posture (i.e., sitting vs. standing) influence food taste perceptions.  Specifically, standing (vs. sitting) postures induce greater physical stress on the body, which in turn decreases sensory sensitivity.  As a result, when eating in a standing (vs. sitting) posture, consumers rate the taste of pleasant-tasting foods and beverages as less favorable, the temperature as less intense, and they consumer smaller amounts.  The effects of posture on taste perception are reversed for unpleasant-tasting foods. . . . Given the increasing trend toward eating while standing, the findings . . . have practical implications for restaurant, retail, and other food-service environment designs."

Dipayan Biswas, Courtney Szocs, and Annika Abell.  “Extending the Boundaries of Sensory Marketing and Examining the Sixth Sensory System:  Effects of Vestibular Sensations for Sitting Versus Standing Postures on Food Taste Perception.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press,

A literature review conducted by a Subiza-Perez-lead team confirms that contact with natural environments is mentally refreshing.  Investigators state that “Almost four decades ago, Attention Restoration Theory and Stress Recovery Theory postulated that nature could help people to recover from the attentional fatigue and the emotional negative outcomes coming from their daily performance. . . . This paper presents a descriptive review of 19 restoration pretest-posttest field studies. . . . there is a reasonable amount of evidence supporting the main premises of ART and SRT. Natural/green places can alleviate the negative affective outcomes and the attentional fatigue caused by daily performance. . . . .two studies showed that nature is not equally restorative: tended forest and natural places high in prospect and low in refuge are more restorative than their counterparts. . . . the urban settings in the sample of articles (even if not very attractive or restorative at first sight) did not always produce the expected negative cognitive-attentional and affective outcomes in the people visiting them.”

Mikel Subiza-Perez, Laura Vozmediano, and Cesar San Juan.  2019.  “Pretest-Posttest Field Studies on Psychological Restoration:  A Descriptive Review and Reflections for the Future.”  Landscape Research, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 493-505,

Van Assche and colleagues investigated why people move from one neighborhood to another, and their findings have broad implications for planning.  The researchers report that  “Previous research has shown that neighborhood (dis)satisfaction is an important determinant for individuals' moving intentions. Attempts by policy makers to boost neighborhood satisfaction, and hence reduce the exodus of people out of particular neighborhoods, have often involved physical interventions and development projects,  such as new parks or infrastructure.  . . . we consider this issue . . . [by] focusing on the role of positive neighborhood norms (e.g., strong local networks, mutual trust, and joint activities among neighbors) in boosting neighborhood satisfaction, and consequentially reducing inhabitants’ moving intentions. . . . [research conducted by the Van Assche-lead group] demonstrates that perceived positive norms in a neighborhood predicted lower moving intentions of its residents . . . through increased levels of neighborhood satisfaction.”

Jasper Van Assche, Tessa Haesesevoets, and Arne Roets. 2019.  “Local Norms and Moving Intentions:  The Mediating Role of Neighborhood Satisfaction.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 63, pp. 19-25,

Do the environments in which taste tests are conducted influence outcomes?  New research indicates that they do to some extent. Hannum and colleagues determined that when “red-wine consumers evaluated the same 4 wines in 3 environments—a traditional sensory booth, an immersive wine bar, and an actual wine bar. . . . at the individual level. . . On average, the greatest difference in liking scores occurred between the traditional booths and the actual wine bar . . . and was significantly greater than the difference in liking scores between the booths and immersive wine bar . . . Generally, consumers . . . estimated the wines at a higher price point in the actual environment compared to the traditional. . . . Overall, results suggest wine liking scores across environments were stable within the population, whereas greater variability was observed in individuals when comparing liking scores between traditional booths and the actual environment.”

Mackenzie Hannum, Sheri Forzley, Richard Popper, and Christopher Simons. 2019.  “Does Environment Matter?  Assessments of Wine in Traditional Booths Compared to an Immersive and Actual Wine Bar.”  Food Quality and Preference, vol. 76, pp. 100-108,

Lemercier-Talbot and team probed the feelings associated with various scents.  They determined that the smell of vanilla is linked to relaxation and the scent of mint to being energized.

Anais Lemercier-Talbot, Geraldine Coppin, Donato Cereghetti, Christelle Porcherot, Isabelle Cayeux, and Sylvain Delplanque.  2019. “Measuring Automatic Associations Between Relaxing/Energizing Feelings and Odors.”  Food Quality and Preference, vol. 77, pp. 21-31,

New evidence confirms that increasing use of GPS has implications for wayfinding systems/tools. Ruginski and colleagues report that “Research has established that GPS use negatively affects environmental learning and navigation in laboratory studies. . . .  In sum, our work suggests that GPS exerts its negative influence on spatial cognitive abilities in the long-term, building on work that has shown its negative effects on environmental learning in the short-term.”  

Ian Ruginski, Sarah Creem-Regehr, Jeanine Stefanucci, and Elizabeth Cashdan. 2019.  “GPS Use Negatively Effects Environmental Learning Through Spatial Transformation Abilities.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 64, pp. 12-20,

Sun, Lian, and Lan probed professional performance under varying lighting conditions using a variety of research methodologies.  They investigated “the relationship between lighting illuminance (ILL), uniformity of illuminance (U-ILL), correlated colour temperature (CCT) and workers’ productivity. . . . when exposed to high ILL, U-ILL and CCT environment, participants reported highest satisfaction on productivity and attention. . . . The improvements of perception, learning and memory function of participants were benefited from high ILL, high U-ILL and high/medium CCT. Low ILL, low U-ILL and moderate CCT were appropriate to increase participants’ thinking and executive performance.”

Chanjuan Sun, Zhiwei Lian, and Li Lan.  “Work Performance in Relation to Lighting Environment in Office Buildings.”  Indoor and Built Environment, in press, DOI:  10.1177/1420326X18820089

Recently published research conducted by Luffarelli, Stamatogiannakis, and Yang confirms previously reported associations to items that are asymmetrical.  The researchers report that “Five studies using a variety of experimental approaches and secondary data sets show that a visual property present in all brand logos—the degree of (a)symmetry—can interact with brand personality to affect brand equity. Specifically, compared with symmetrical logos, asymmetrical logos tend to be more arousing, leading to increased perceptions of excitement. As such, consumers tend to perceive asymmetrical logos as more congruent with brands that have an exciting personality.”

Jonathan Luffarelli, Antonios Stamatogiannakis, and Haiyang Yang.  2019.  “The Visual Asymmetry Effect:  An Interplay of Logo Design and Brand Personality on Brand Equity.”  Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 89-103,

Lefebvre and Biswas studied links between environmental odors, perceived temperature, and food consumption.  They found via field and lab experiments that “the presence of a warm ambient odor (e.g., cedarwood) versus a cool ambient odor (e.g., eucalyptus) reduces the amount of calories consumed and also leads to increased choice of lower-calorie food options. This is attributable to established implicit associations formed from the human body’s innate physiological response to changes in ambient temperature. Specifically, exposure to a warm (vs. cool) ambient odor influences perceived ambient temperature, which in turn alters food consumption behaviors. . . . warm (cool) odor leads to perceptions of warmer (cooler) ambient temperature. . . . if restaurants intend to make their customers eat more, a tempting option is to rely heavily on air-conditioning to make the ambience be perceived as colder. The findings of our studies suggest that instead of using more electricity/energy in running the air-conditioners at colder levels, a more effective, cheaper, and environmentally friendly option would be to use ambient odor.”  The effects of scents on perceived temperature have implications for general responses to environments, not just for food consumed.

S. Lefebvre and D. Biswas. “The Influence of Ambient Scent Temperature on Food Consumption Behavior.”  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, in press,


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