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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,

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:

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:

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,

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,

Any time of year when there is heating or air conditioning in use, which is just about the entire year in most of the world, there are at-work debates about optimal workplace temperatures.  Gunay and team have investigated requests to change workplace temperatures.  In the course of their study “Custom temperature setpoint change requests from four [large] office buildings were analyzed.” The researchers learned that the “the majority of the setpoint change requests were either to increase the default 22 °C [about 72 degrees Fahrenheit] temperature setpoints during the cooling season or to decrease them during the heating season. . . . . the [HVAC-type] operators tend to make greater setpoint changes upon hot and cold complaints than the occupants make through their thermostat overrides.”

H. Gunay, Weiming Shen, Guy Newsham, and Araz Ashouri.  2018. “Modelling and Analysis of Unsolicited Temperature Setpoint Change Requests in Office Buildings.”  Building and Environment, vol. 133, pp. 203-212,

The End of Sitting workplace is nothing if not unique and thought-provoking.  To take a look at The End of Sitting, visit this website (it’s hard to appreciate the findings of the studies noted below without checking out the workplace images):

Caljouwde Haan, Mollee, and Withagen report that “Rietveld-Architecture-Art-Affordances acknowledged the public health concern of sitting too much and developed The End of Sitting—a workspace without chairs that provides a variety of supported standing positions. In the current study middle-aged office workers were to use the End of Sitting for one hour per week over a ten-week period. . . . we found that the self-reported office task performance (concentration, quality of work, productivity), mood (energized, well-being, pleasantness) and postural comfort were not negatively affected by working in this new office environment compared to their conventional workplace.”  

Withagen and Caljouw in 2016 reported on the same The End of Sitting location: “The End of Sitting, is a sculpture whose surfaces afford working in several non-sitting postures (e.g. lying, standing, leaning). . . .  It was found that 83 % of participants worked in more than one non-sitting posture in The End of Sitting. All these participants also changed location in this working environment. On the other hand, in the conventional office all but one participant sat on a chair at a desk during the entire work session. On average, participants reported that The End of Sitting supported their well-being more than the conventional office. Participants also felt more energetic after working in The End of Sitting. No differences between the working environments were found in reported concentration levels and satisfaction with the created product.”

S. Caljouw, E. de Haan, N. Mollee, and R. Withagen.  “The End of Sitting:  How Middle-Aged Employees Use and Experience a New Activity-Inducing Office Over Time.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press,

R. Withagen and S. Caljouw.  2016. “’The End of Sitting’: An Empirical of Working in an Office of the Future.”  Sports Medicine, vol. 46, no. 7, pp. 1019-1027, doi:  10.1007/s40279-015-0448-y.

Imschloss and Kuehnl’s findings, consistent with previous research, indicate how important consistency in sensory experiences can be.  They determined that “In retail environments, consumers commonly evaluate products while standing on some type of flooring and concurrently being exposed to music. . . . The results of an experiment in a real retail store reveal positive effects of multisensory congruent retail environments (e.g., soft music combined with soft flooring) on product evaluations. . . . . consumers in congruent rather than incongruent retail environments experience more purchase‐related self‐confidence, which in turn leads to more favorable product evaluations. Furthermore, this study shows that consumers with a low rather than a high preference for haptic [touch-related] information are influenced more by multisensory atmospheric congruence when evaluating a product haptically.”

M. Imschloss and C. Kuehnl. 2017.  “Don’t Ignore the Floor:  Exploring Multisensory Atmospheric Congruence Between Music and Flooring in a Retail Environment.”  Psychology and Marketing, vol. 34, no. 10, pp. 931-945,

Rawal studied how much greenery is necessary to support recovery from stressful situations.  He reports that “Psychological stress was first induced in the participants using Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and then they were randomly assigned to experience one of four, 360-degrees panoramic images of an urban park using Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE). Three groups viewed images of urban parks with density of vegetation varying from 3% to 70%, while the control group viewed an image with no nature elements. .  . . results indicate that as the percentage of vegetation cover increases from barren to greener scenes, there is a rapid decrease in stress until the density of vegetation reaches about 50% of the visible space; higher densities predict higher stress.”

S. Rawal.  2018.  “Impact of Urban Park Design on Recovery from Stress:  An Experimental Approach Using Physiological Biomarkers.”  Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 79(12-A(e)).

Gruner and colleagues add to our understanding of location-related factors that influence the evaluations of artworks.  They determined that “artworks presented in a museum were liked more and rated more interesting than in the laboratory.”

Susanne Gruner, Eva Specker, and Helmut Leder.  “Effects of Context and Genuineness in the Experience of Art.”  Empirical Studies of the Arts,in press,


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