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An Engemann-lead team determined that growing up in greener areas has lifelong benefits.  The investigators found that “Green space presence was assessed at the individual level using high-resolution satellite data to calculate the normalized difference vegetation index within a 210 × 210 m square around each person’s place of residence (∼1 million people [in Denmark]) from birth to the age of 10. . . . high levels of green space presence during childhood are associated with lower risk of a wide spectrum of psychiatric disorders later in life. Risk for subsequent mental illness for those who lived with the lowest level of green space during childhood was up to 55% higher across various disorders compared with those who lived with the highest level of green space. The association remained even after adjusting for urbanization, socioeconomic factors, parental history of mental illness, and parental age. . . . [study findings support] efforts to better integrate natural environments into urban planning.”

Kristine Engemann, Carsten Pedersen, Lars Arge, Constantinos Tsirogiannis, Preben Mortensen, and Jens-Christian Svenning.   “Residential Green Space in Childhood Is Associated with Lower Risk of Psychiatric Disorders from Adolescence into Adulthood.”  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, in press,

Berthelsen and colleagues investigated the implications of transitioning university staff from cell offices to an activity-based workplace.  The researchers studied, via a survey, “how staff at a large Swedish university experienced the . . . work environment before and after moving to activity-based offices.. . . In the new premises, a vast majority (86 per cent) always occupied the same place when possible, and worked also more often from home. The social community at work had declined and social support from colleagues and supervisors was perceived to have decreased. The participants reported a lower job satisfaction after the relocation and were more likely to seek new jobs. No aspects in the physical or psychosocial work environment were found to have improved after the relocation.. . .  The risk that staff cannot concentrate on their work in activity-based university workplaces and lose their sense of community with colleagues are factors, which in the long run may lead to decreased efficiency, more conflicts and poorer well-being.”

Hanne Berthelsen, Tuija Muhonen, and Susanna Toivanen.  2018. “What Happens to the Physical and Psychosocial Work Environment When Activity-Based Offices Are Introduced Into Academia?”  Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 230-243,

Kareklas and colleagues determined that the color red is linked to independence and that blue is associated with interdependence with others.  As they report, “we demonstrate that red is associated with independence-focused words. . . . Participants exhibited a significant automatic association between red geometric shapes and independence-focused words, and between blue geometric shapes and interdependence-focused words. . . . the color red was associated more closely with independence . . . while the color blue was associated more closely with interdependence.”  

Ioannis Kareklas, Darrel Muehling, and Skyler King.  2019.  “The Effect of Color and Self-View Priming in Persuasive Communications.”  Journal of Business Research, vol. 98, pp. 33-49,

Liu, Choi, and Mattila researched behavioral responses to typefaces.  They found that “Healthy restaurants using handwritten (vs. machine-written) typeface will generate more favorable attitudes toward the menu, perceived healthiness, and social media engagement. . . . handwritten typeface creates a competitive advantage by conveying a sense of human touch, which subsequently induces the perception that love is symbolically imbued in the restaurant's offerings. The belief that ‘menu contains love’ leads to a wide range of favorable consumer responses including positive attitudes toward the menu, enhanced perceived healthiness of  the brand, and higher social media engagement. The results show that these positive effects occur only when the restaurant brand is health-focused.”

Stephanie Liu, Sungwoo Choi, and Anna Mattila.  2019. “Love Is in the Menu:  Leveraging Healthy Restaurant Brands with Handwritten Typeface.”  Journal of Business Research, vol. 98, pp. 289-298,

Research conducted by Biswas and Szocslinks scents and eating in intriguing ways.  The duo learned that “Managers are using ambient scent as an important strategic element in various service settings, with food-related scents being especially common. This research examines the effects of food-related ambient scents on children’s and adults’ food purchases/choices. The results of a series of experiments, including field studies at a supermarket and at a middle school cafeteria, show that extended exposure (of more than two minutes) to an indulgent food–related ambient scent (e.g., cookie scent) leads to lower purchases of unhealthy foods compared with no ambient scent or a nonindulgent food–related ambient scent (e.g., strawberry scent). The effects seem to be driven by cross-modal sensory compensation, whereby prolonged exposure to an indulgent/rewarding food scent induces pleasure in the reward circuitry, which in turn diminishes the desire for actual consumption of indulgent foods. Notably, the effects reverse with brief (<30 seconds) exposure to the scent.”

Dipavan Biswas and Courtney Szocs.  “The Smell of Healthy Choices:  Cross-Modal Sensory Compensation Effects of Ambient Scent on Food Purchases.”  Journal of Marketing Research, in press,

Research indicates that the stripes on zebras tend to reduce the likelihood that the animals will be bitten by horse flies; designers can apply this finding when selecting patterns for vertical surfaces.  Caro and teammates determined that “Averting attack by biting flies is increasingly regarded as the evolutionary driver of zebra stripes. . . . We examined the behaviour of tabanids (horse flies) in the vicinity of captive plains zebras and uniformly coloured domestic horses living on a horse farm in Britain. Observations showed that fewer tabanids landed on zebras than on horses per unit time. . . . In an experiment in which horses sequentially wore cloth coats of different colours, those wearing a striped pattern suffered far lower rates of tabanid touching and landing on coats than the same horses wearing black or white, yet there were no differences in attack rates to their naked heads. . . . Taken together, these findings indicate that, up close, striped surfaces prevented flies from making a controlled landing but did not influence tabanid behaviour at a distance.”

Tim Caro, Yvette Argueta, Emmanuelle Briolat, Joren Bruggink, Maurice Kasprowsky, Jai Lake, Matthew Mitchell, Sara Richardson, and Martin How. 2019.  “Benefits of Zebra Stripes:  Behaviour of Tabanid Flies Around Zebras and Horses.”  PLoS One,

Wu and colleagues determined that working in groups of different sizes often has different outcomes. Their results confirm the value of design that supports teams of various sizes. The investigators found that when they analyzed “more than 65 million papers, patents and software products that span the period 1954-2014 . . . smaller teams have tended to disrupt science and technology with new ideas and opportunities, whereas larger teams have tended to develop existing ones. . . . These results demonstrate that both small and large teams are essential to a flourishing ecology of science and technology. . . . These results support the hypothesis that large teams may be better designed or incentivized to develop current science and technology, and that small teams disrupt science and technology with new problems and opportunities.”  In an article reporting on the Wu, Wang, and Evans study published in the New York Times (Benedict Carey, February 13, 2019, “Can Science Be Too Big?”), Evans was quoted: “’You might ask what is large, and what is small. . . . Well, the answer is that this relationship holds no matter where you cut the number: between one person and two, between ten and twenty, between 25 and 26.’”

Lingfei Wu, Dashun Wang, and James Evans.  2019.  “Large Teams Develop and Small Teams Disrupt Science and Technology.”  Nature, Research Letter,

Sui and colleagues researched the effects of workspace design on performance.  They found via a literature review that among studies “that met the inclusion criteria: 45 examined a productivity outcome (i.e., typing, mouse, work-related tasks, and absenteeism), 38 examined a performance outcome (i.e., memory, reading comprehension, mathematics, executive function, creativity, psychomotor function, and psychobiological factors), and 30 examined a self-reported productivity/performance outcome (i.e., presenteeism or other self-reported outcome). Overall, standing interventions do not appear to impact productivity/performance outcomes, whereas walking and cycling interventions demonstrate mixed null/negative associations for productivity outcomes. Hence, standing interventions to reduce occupational sedentary behaviour could be implemented without negatively impacting productivity/performance outcomes.”

Wuyou Sui, Siobhan Smith,Matthew Fagan, Scott Rollo, and Harry Prapavessis.  2019.  “The Effects of Sedentary Behaviour Interventions on Work-Related Productivity and Performance Outcomes in Real and Simulated Office Work:  A Systematic Review.”  Applied Ergonomics, vol. 75, pp. 27-73,

D’Acci reports on our experiences traveling through a space.  He reports that “It is widely recognized that most people are attracted to curvy paths rather than straight ones.”  

Luca D’Acci. “Orientational Versus Esthetical Urban Street Morphology Parameterization in Space Syntax.”  Spatial Cognition and Computation, in press,

Hellinga, Mehta, and Mehran investigated how the experiences of bikers differ when there are and are not bike lanes for them to travel in.  Their data, “Collected using sensors and a handlebar camera as researchers cycled hundreds of kilometres in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario . . . showed bike lanes virtually eliminate vehicles getting too close to cyclists when they pass them. . . . On two-lane roads without bike lanes, passing motorists got within a metre of cyclists 12 per cent of the time. With bike lanes, that number dropped to just .2 per cent.  On four-lane roads, unsafe passing dropped from almost six per cent with no bike lanes to .5 per cent with bikes lanes. . . .  In addition to improving safety, he [Hellinga] said bike lanes make cyclists more comfortable and therefore more likely to cycle.”

“Research Will Help Urban Planners Prioritize Bike Lanes.”  2019.  Press release, University of Waterloo,


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