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Min and Lee found that surface colors influence memories of places viewed.  As they report that during their study  “Spatial memory was measured in terms of architectural scale and recollection of architectural elements and furniture. Participants . . . viewed a short virtual simulation video of a residential studio and were asked to sketch a map of the architectural elements on distributed grid paper. . . . Contrast and hue had no significant effect on the memorization of proportional scale. However, high‐contrast schemes allowed for a significantly higher recollection of architectural elements than low‐contrast schemes. In comparing the effect of hues, a significant difference was seen in recalling detailed furniture and lighting items. Participants reported significantly better spatial memory of neutral and warm color schemes than of cool color schemes. . . . These results can be applied in the design of color schemes for architectural spaces requiring enhanced spatial cognition and memory.”

Young Min and Soyeon Lee. “Does Interior Color Contrast Enhance Spatial Memory?” Color Research and Application, in press,

How can parking lot lighting help people in those lots at night feel safe?  Bullough, Snyder, and Kiefer investigated this issue, finding that “Previously published research has indicated that perceptions of safety and security under outdoor illumination are correlated with perceptions of scene brightness, which in turn are influenced by the light level in the lot, by the spectral distribution of the illumination, and the uniformity of illumination. . . . two laboratory experiments were conducted using a scale model parking lot scene and a controllable light-emitting diode (LED) lighting system that allowed parametric variations in light level, spectrum and uniformity. From the results, a mathematical model of overall brightness and safety perceptions was developed to predict how different lighting configurations are perceived.”  The model developed is detailed in this article.In brief: “Increasing short-wavelength output to leverage spectral sensitivity for scene brightness perception, and improving uniformity distributions will both increase perceptions of safety, but when a white light source (e.g. LED) is chosen, the magnitude of the spectral effect is relatively small compared to the impact of more uniform illumination.”

J. Bullough, J. Snyder, and K. Kiefer.  “Impacts of Average Illuminance, Spectral Distribution, and Uniformity on Brightness and Safety Perceptions Under Parking Lot Lighting.” Lighting Research and Technology, in press,

Bhattacharjee and Pal studied the implications of spotlighting paintings in dimly lit rooms with light of different colors.  They determined that “the appearance of paintings changes due to different CCTs [correlated color temperatures] of LEDs having the same illuminance. In addition, the result reveals that for both mediums of paintings considered in this study, in comparison to warm white LED and artificial daylight LED, cool white LED has appeared to be more pleasant having moderately warm feelings to the viewers.” The researchers share information about the light directed at paintings: “a warm white (WW) LED (CCT = 2700 K), a cool white (CW) LED (CCT = 3500 K), and an artificial daylight (AD) LED (CCT = 6500 K) with narrow beam angles (10°) were selected. . . . illuminance was set at 100 lx. . . . measurement of illuminance was taken on the center of the vertical plane of the exhibited paintings. The color‐rendering index for all the LEDs was 90.”  Artworks were displayed on a black background and the two mediums of art noted above were water and oil.

Amrita Bhattacharjee and Swati Pal.  “Effect of Color Temperature on Appearance of Paintings Exhibited Under LED Lighting.” Color Research and Application, vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 762-771,

Mentzel and colleagues identified ties between an object’s color and how fast it seems to be moving. They had study participants review “the perceived running speed of 48 videos depicting runners on a treadmill at seven different speed settings. . . . The runners in the video were shown wearing either a red, blue, or gray jersey, gray being used to strengthen the cover story. . . . The results showed a significant color effect for speed; runners depicted in red were perceived as running at higher speeds compared to blue. . . . findings indicate that, in situations in which speed must be judged, red might be perceived as going faster.”

Stijn Mentzel, Linda Schucker, Norbert Hagemann, and Bernd Strauss.  “Perceiving Speed—The Color Can Matter.”  Color Research and Application, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 957-966,

Kirsch, Pfister, and Kunde studied peripheral vision.  They share that “An object appears smaller in the periphery than in the center of the visual field. In two experiments. . . .[the] outcome suggests that objects appear smaller in the visual periphery not only because of the structural properties of the visual system but also because of a lack of spatial attention.”

Wladimir Kirsch, Roland Pfister, and Wilfried Kunde.  “On Why Objects Appear Smaller in the Visual Periphery.”  Psychological Science, in press,

Recently published research investigated links between green areas near schools (specifically within 500 meters of them) and student levels of ADHD.  Yang and colleagues report that data collected in China about nearly 60,000 children (2 to 17 years old) indicate that “Greenness levels differed substantially across schools and kindergartens. . . . Greater greenness levels were associated with lower odds of ADHD symptoms. . . . Greenness surrounding each child’s school or kindergarten was estimated using 2 satellite image–derived vegetation indexes: the normalized difference vegetation index and the soil-adjusted vegetation index."

Bo-Yi Yang and 16 others. 2019.  “Association Between Greenness Surrounding Schools and Kindergartens and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children in China.”  JAMA Network Open, vol. 2, no. 12, e1917862, doi:  10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.17862

Researchers at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer and the US General Services Administration (GSA) conducted important research related to at-work alertness and nighttime sleep.  During their study “luminaires, mounted near the participants’ computer monitors provided: (1) morning saturated blue light delivering a circadian stimulus (CS) of 0.4, (2) midday polychromatic white light delivering a CS of 0.3, and (3) afternoon saturated red light delivering a CS close to zero. . . . participants exhibited more consolidated rest–activity patterns, indicating better circadian entrainment, and woke up earlier during the intervention compared to baseline. The morning blue light appears to have advanced participants’ circadian phase, causing participants to wake up earlier in the morning. The afternoon red light elicited an acute alerting response close to the post-lunch dip (around 3 p.m.), reducing subjective sleepiness and increasing subjective vitality and energy. . . . The study results showed that office workers felt much less sleepy with the use of supplemental electric lighting and, as hypothesized, they also reported feeling significantly more vital, energetic, and alert compared to baseline.”  Tools available at the Rensselaer website provide important guidance for implementing these findings as well as useful background information and definitions.

“LRC Research Collaboration with GSA Finds Morning Blue Light and Afternoon Red Light Promote Entrainment and Increase Alertness in Office Workers.”  2019.  Press release, Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,

Choe, Jorgensen, and Sheffield investigated mindfulness in the presence of different images, some depicting more natural spaces than others.  They determined that “Interventions (mindfulness, relaxation-based intervention) in natural environments led to greater nature connectedness, lower negative feelings and reduced depression and stress than those in non-natural environments. . . . Participants’ stress levels decreased significantly from baseline to one-week follow-up only in the mindfulness group in natural environments. . . . the mindfulness programme was more effective when carried out in a natural environment. In addition, the mindfulness group in natural environments continued to improve even after the intervention was completed.”  The images presented were  of a woodland, parkland, an urban setting (a historical area of a city with no visible vegetation, not a “busy commercial area” or a “main road”), and a room with white walls (no vegetation visible).  All images were accompanied by corresponding sounds: “such as bird song and wind rustling the leaves of trees-in the simulated natural settings; typical urban noises-such as people talking in the distance and distant traffic-in the simulated urban setting; and a ticking clock in the indoor setting.”

Eun Choe, Anna Jorgensen, and David Sheffield.  “Simulated Natural Environments Bolster the Effectiveness of a Mindfulness Programme: A Comparison with a Relaxation-Based Intervention.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press,

Dai and Boos studied interdisciplinary team collaborations, similar to those many designers participate in, and make recommendations for increasing these groups’ effectiveness in an article available free of charge at the website noted below.  Their write-up includes very effective diagrams detailing team interactions.  The Dai/Boos team reports that they identified “two distinct patterns of knowledge integration. . . . The first, which we refer to as the theory-method interdisciplinary collaborative pattern, involves one party providing a theoretical understanding, and the other offering methods for collecting and analysing the data. . . . .The second pattern, namely the technical interdisciplinary collaborative pattern, occurs when interdisciplinary collaborations are established to merely share the participants’ respective technological approaches or assets, such as a particular algorithm or a loaned microscope. In this pattern, a single shared scientific concept may be the only interface between two disciplines necessary to establish an interdisciplinary collaboration project.”  To optimize collaboration Dai and Boos suggest “Have a kick-off meeting to set goals and rules for collaboration. . . . Identify the right tools for the collaboration. . . .  Combine collaborative patterns. . . . Facilitate project assessments.”

Lianghao Dai and Margarete Boos.  2019. “Mapping the Right Fit for Knowledge Sharing:  Practical Tips for Effective Interdisciplinary Collaborations.”  Nature,

IIzadi and colleagues learned that creativity is influenced by whether we’re facing into or away from the current of air movement in a room. The researchers, conducting research in laboratories and in the field, found that “frontal airflow (air blowing on the front of the body) boosts energetic activation and fuels enhanced performance on creative tasks, compared to dorsal airflow (air blowing on the back of the body).”  An important study detail: creative engagement was “operationalized . . . as improved performance on creative tasks.”  

Anoosha Izadi, Melanie Rudd, and Vanessa Patrick.  “The Way the Wind Blows:  Direction of Airflow Energizes Consumers and Fuels Creative Engagement.”  Journal of Retailing, in press,


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