Chambers, Robertson, and Baker reviewed published studies of the various effects of using sit-stand desks (SSDs). They integrated research findings related to “behavior (e.g. time sitting and standing), physiological, work performance, psychological, discomfort, and posture. . . . We conclude that SSDs effectively change behaviors, but these changes only mildly effect health outcomes. SSDs seem most effective for discomfort and least for productivity. . . .
Meier and his team have confirmed one of the repercussions of being in an area that feels spacious. The investigators found that “To assess the reliability of findings showing that an expansive driver seat space predicts parking violations, we replicated an original field study in a geographically and socio-culturally different location and included an additional covariate. After controlling for car length, brand status, and car price, driver seat space remained a positive predictor of illegal parking.
Researchers at Boston University have developed a new system for soundproofing spaces. A press release from Boston University reports that Zhang, Ghaffarivardavagh, Anderson, and Nikolajczyk determined that “Although noise-mitigating barricades, called sound baffles, can help drown out the whoosh of rush hour traffic or contain the symphony of music within concert hall walls, they are a clunky approach not well suited to situations where airflow is also critical. . . .
Negami and colleagues investigated the psychological repercussions of urban design. Their published study indicates that “the urban environment has great potential to shape residents’ experiences and social interactions, as well as to mitigate social isolation by promoting trust and sociability. The current study examines the effects of urban design interventions, such as colorful crosswalks and greenery, on participants’ mental well-being, sociability and feelings of environmental stewardship. Participants were led on walks of Vancouver’s West End neighborhood, stopping at six sites . .
McPhetres has identified another benefit of feeling awed, after inducing awe by showing study participants scenes from the natural world (for instance, of the aurora borealis). McPhetres states that “Results from four pre-registered studies . . . indicate that manipulating awe through online . . . and virtual reality . . . videos, led to greater awareness of knowledge gaps [things that are no known].
Research conducted by Choi and team confirms that experiencing cooler light is energizing. They “investigated physiological and subjective responses to morning light exposure of commercially available LED lighting with different correlated colour temperatures to predict how LED-based smart lighting employed in future learning environments will impact students. . . . university students underwent an hour of morning light exposure to both warm (3,500 K) and blue-enriched (6,500 K) white lights at recommended illuminance levels for classrooms and lecture halls (500 lux).
New ways of living are prompting fresh design options - and research by cognitive scientists can
Research by Soiland and Hansen again indicates that multiple factors influence how spaces are used. As Soiland and Hansen report, “Flexible office concepts offer organisations the ability to adapt quickly to changes, and provide users with possibilities to work flexibly. Ideas about flexible working shape the design concepts employed in office design, and have consequences for users’ everyday work practices. . . . The paper draws on data from a case study in a Norwegian public organisation. Our findings suggest that flexible architecture on its own does not produce flexible workers.
Supporting positive experiences
Pairing bright/dim and warm/cool