Latest Blog Posts
Researchers have linked living in a greener area with better cardiovascular health. A Yeager-lead team reports that they “measured biomarkers of cardiovascular injury and risk in participant blood and urine. We estimated greenness from satellite‐derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) in zones with radii of 250 m and 1 km surrounding the participants’ residences. . contemporaneous NDVI within 250 m of participant residence was inversely associated with urinary levels of epinephrine . . . and F2‐isoprostane. . . . Independent of age, sex, race, smoking status, neighborhood deprivation, statin use, and roadway exposure, residential greenness is associated with lower levels of sympathetic activation, reduced oxidative stress, and higher angiogenic capacity. . . . Living in green spaces is associated with lower stress and diminished cardiovascular disease risk. . . . Persistent exposure to greenness is conducive to cardiovascular health.”
Ray Yeager, Daniel Riggs, Natasha DeJarnett, David Tollerud, Jeffrey Wilson, Daniel Conklin, Timothy O’Toole, James McCracken, Pawel Lorkiewicz, Zhengzhi Xie, Nagma Zafar and 8 more authors. “Association Between Residential Greenness and Cardiovascular Disease Risk.” Journal of the American Heart Association, vol. 7, no. 24, e009117, no pagination, https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.118.009117.
Davidovic and colleagues studied preferred colors for street lighting. They report that their “project aimed to compare subjective evaluations of the sidewalk illumination under two street lighting installations, realised by LEDs of 3000 K (warm white) and 4000 K (neutral white). . . . Both installations had comparable sidewalk illuminances as well as other relevant photometric parameters. . . . [study participants were] asked to grade both lighting installations for the sidewalk light intensity, the appearance of human faces, the colour of light and the colour rendering as well as the overall impression. . . . the 3000 K LED installation was considered better than the 4000 K installation for all aspects assessed as well as the overall impression.”
M. Davidovic, L. Djokic, A. Cabarkapa, and M. Kostic. “Warm White Versus Neutral White LED Street Lighting: Pedestrians’ Impressions.” Lighting Research and Technology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/1477153518804296
Findings of a study conducted by Horgan, Herzog, and Dryszlewski indicate that designers should not only keep their own workplaces looking neat, but that they should also support any potential efforts by the users of the offices they develop to maintain a neat looking desk via drawers/cabinets/etc., where desktop items can be “stashed.” Horgan and team investigated “How perceivers' impressions of a researcher's personality might vary as a function of the messiness of the researcher's office. . . . Participants from the US were randomly assigned to sit in a researcher's office (A) that was either clean, neat, organized, and uncluttered or one (office B) that was somewhat messy (experiment 1) or very messy (experiments 2 & 3). They guessed the Big 5 traits of the researcher afterward. In each experiment, participants thought that the office B researcher was less conscientious than the office A researcher. In experiments 2 and 3, participants also thought that the office B researcher was less agreeable and more neurotic than the office A researcher.” In the neat office papers, books, and journals were neatly arranged on the desktop and shelves, for example, and in the messier office that was not the case; also, in the messier office, some materials were placed on the floor, for instance.
Terrence Horgan, Noelle Herzog, and Sarah Dryszlewski. 2019. “Does Your Messy Office Make Your Mind Look Cluttered? Office Appearance and Perceivers’ Judgments About the Owner’s Personality.” Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 138, pp. 370-379, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.10.018
Hutmacher and Kuhbander studied the psychological implications of having touched something. They found that “The question of how many of our perceptual experiences are stored in long-term memory has received considerable attention. The present study examined long-term memory for haptic [touch] experiences. . . . These results indicate that detailed, durable, long-term memory representations are stored as a natural product of haptic perception.” So touching builds memories, even when objects felt aren’t seen.
Fabian Hutmacher and Christof Kuhbander. “Long-Term Memory for Haptically Explored Objects: Fidelity, Durability, Incidental Encoding, and Cross-Modal Transfer.” Psychological Science, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618803644
Vaughan has written a book, a PDF of which is free at the website noted below, that focuses on the development and use of maps tied to multiple social science-related factors. As materials describing the book on its website state, “Mapping Society traces the evolution of social cartography over the past two centuries. . . . Laura Vaughan examines maps of ethnic or religious difference, poverty, and health inequalities, demonstrating how they not only serve as historical records of social enquiry, but also constitute inscriptions of social patterns that have been etched deeply on the surface of cities. The book covers themes such as the use of visual rhetoric to change public opinion . . . changing attitudes to physical disorder, and the complexity of segregation as an urban phenomenon. . . . the narrative carries the discussion of the spatial dimensions of social cartography forward to the present day, showing how disciplines such as public health, crime science, and urban planning chart spatial data in their current practice.”
Laura Vaughan. 2018. Mapping Society: The Spatial Dimensions of Social Cartography. UCL Press, London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/mapping-society?utm_source=...
A recent press release from VIB (a life sciences research institute in Flanders, Belgium) describes the findings of a study published in Nature Communications. That research indicates that what we “see” may vary based on the situation in which we encounter it. Researchers lead by Vincent Bonin learned that “What we see is not only determined by what is really there, but also depends on whether we are paying attention, whether we are moving, excited or interested. . . . the processing of visual information in the brain is indeed modulated by our own behavior. . . . the researchers . . . found that some neurons were more strongly affected by movement than others [for example]. . . . ‘A consequence of these visual cell-type specific changes is that the overall sensitivity to fast-moving stimuli is enhanced. This may improve the processing of the fast-changing visual scene during exploration and navigation,’ says Bonin.”
“How Your Moving Brain Sees the World.” 2018. Press release, VIB, http://www.vib.be/en/news/Pages/How-your-moving-brain-sees-the-world.aspx
Wang and Ackerman studied factors that influence how crowded people feel in a space. They determined that “People sometimes perceive social environments as unpleasantly crowded. Previous work has linked these experiences to incidental factors such as being hungry or hot and to the relevance of the social environment for an individual’s current goals. Here. . . . Eight studies test whether infectious disease threats, which are associated with crowded conditions, increase such reactions. Across studies, pathogen threat made dense social environments seem more crowded and generated more negative affect [feelings] toward these environments. These perceptions and negative feelings were more influenced by pathogen threat relative to other threats of physical danger.”
Iris Wang and Joshua Ackerman. 2019. “The Infectiousness of Crowds: Crowding Experiences are Amplified by Pathogen Threats.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 120-132, https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218780735
Kuper investigated the cognitive refreshment/restoration related implications of viewing different sorts of nature scenes. He found that “Respondents rated flowering and autumn-colored views significantly higher in RP [restorative potential] and preference than foliated [green leaves only on trees]. . . . Flowering plants and red or yellow autumn-colored foliage may increase users’ preference and RP.”
Rob Kuper. “Effects of Flowering, Foliation, and Autumn Colors on Preference and Restorative Potential for Designed Digital Landscape Models.” Environment and Behavior, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916518811424
Yadon and Daugherty explored how personality influences responses to sound. They report that “Sensory gating allows an individual to filter out irrelevant sensory information from the environment, potentially freeing attentional resources for more complex tasks. . . . [study] Participants with more robust . . . sensory gating reported a significantly greater degree of conscientiousness; conscientiousness (but not the other Big Five factors) predicted sensory gating ability.”
Carly Yadon and Timothy Daugherty. “Auditory Sensory Gating and the Big Five Personality Factors.” Journal of Psychophysiology, in press, http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/0269-8803/a000229
Helm and colleagues’ research indicates that consumers still value the experience of visiting physical stores. The team found via “a content analysis of reader comments [US consumers] in response to articles featuring reports on large-scale store closures, and structured online consumer interviews. . . . many consumers lamenting the disappearance of physical retailers. Most expect negative consequences for themselves and society. However, many consumers also describe physical retailers as often unable to deliver on basic retail functions, and many are accepting of a future with very few physical stores."
Sabrina Helm, Soo Hyun, Kim Silvia, and Van Piper. “Navigating the ‘Retail Apocalypse’: A Framework of Consumer Evaluations of the New Retail Landscape.” Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2018.09.015