Hian and colleagues used virtual reality to study the psychological implications of vertical (e.g., on the sides of buildings) greenery. They report that they “examined the buffering effects of vertical greenery, an increasingly popular form of urban nature in high-density cities, by using VR to simulate the experience of walking through a noisy downtown area where buildings’ exteriors were covered with vertical greenery. Our results suggest that vertical greenery on city buildings can buffer against the negative psychophysiological consequences of stress. . . .
Support Mental Restoration/Ease Stress
Sander and colleagues studied the effects of open plan offices on worker experiences, coupling self-reports and physiological measures: “Employing a simulated office setting, we compared the effects of a typical OPO [open-plan office] auditory environment to a quieter private office auditory environment on a range of objective and subjective measures of well-being and performance. . . . OPO noise . . .
Kimura and colleagues assessed the how mentally refreshing various situations are. They report that they conducted an experiment that “involved measuring the changes in the task performance of the participants (i.e., sustained attention to response task) and the subjective mental workload . . . while the attention restoration was indexed from physiological response (i.e., skin conductance level, SCL) over time.
James and colleagues, via a literature review, evaluated employee experiences in cellular offices and more open workspaces. Their research compared data collected for cellular workspaces with information from all other types of work areas (all those without full height walls and a door assigned to one individual). The researchers determined that “working in open-plan workplace designs is associated with more negative outcomes on many measures relating to health, satisfaction, productivity, and social relationships.
Peck and teammates found that listening to music may not help people feel less stressed in the sorts of situations that are often encountered in daily life, for example, while at work. The researchers report that “Music listening [has been] shown to promote faster physiological recovery following acute stress. . . . It was hypothesized that listening to music prior to acute stress exposure would decrease stress reactivity compared with white noise (WN), and that self-selected music would serve as a stronger inoculator than researcher-selected music. Participants . . .
Stress levels and ability to focus affected
Much relief after much stress
Recently released research confirms which music tempos are relaxing. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society indicates that “listening to music can help older adults sleep better. . . People who were treated with music listened to either calming or rhythmic music for 30 minutes to one hour, over a period ranging from two days to three months. (Calming music has slow tempo of 60 to 80 beats per minute and a smooth melody, while rhythmic music is faster and louder.) . . .
Rodriquez and teammates determined via a virtual-reality-based study that we prefer apparent daylighting levels to vary from time to time in viewed urban environments; their findings may be useful to people developing virtual spaces, for example. The group shares that their work “analyze[d] subjective reponses to lightness changes in outdoor views with respect to three view constructs (i.e., preference, recovery, and imageability). . .
Which light is best? Houser and colleagues report that “light is still for vision, and lighting for visibility, visual comfort and visual amenity is as important as ever. Complementing the old is new awareness and responsibility for how light and lighting influence non-visual responses in humans. Circadian, neuroendocrine and neurobehavioural responses are important for human health and should be considered on-par with visual responses. This awareness leads toward lighting design solutions with increased contrast between day and night.