Recently completed research confirms that humans are indeed fascinating creatures and that their sensory systems work in intriguing ways. Murugesu states that “The olfactory bulb, a structure at the very front of the brain, plays a vital role in our ability to smell. Or, at least, so we thought.
Framework for Reaction to Place
Integrating neuroscience research findings reveals that design-related experiences are processed
Design elements that make a difference
Gray and team have linked the perceived presence of different sorts of spirits to particular sorts of spaces—which provides interesting insights into how certain locations are thought about. The researchers determined that “Evil spirits are perceived to haunt houses and dense forests, whereas good spirits are perceived in expansive locations such as mountaintops.”
Maille and colleagues probed product “graspability.” The team reports that “People like graspable objects more when the objects are located on the dominant-hand side of their body or when the handles point toward their dominant-hand side. However, many products do not have handles or are not graspable (e.g., services, objects hanging on the wall). Can nongraspable products nevertheless benefit from the effects of appealing to viewers’ dominant hands?
Greer and team studied how music influences humans emotionally. They report that “Musical features related to dynamics [loudness], register, rhythm, and harmony were found to be particularly helpful in predicting these human [emotional] reactions.” In other words, particular aspects of music influence how we think and behave in certain ways.
Wang, Liao, Lyckvi, and Chen studied the different implications of using visual and auditory alarms. They determined via “data from two simulator studies . . . where the visual vs. the auditory modality was used to present the same type of advisory traffic information under the same driving scenarios. . . . that modality influences the drivers' behaviour patterns significantly. Visual information helps drivers to drive more accurately and efficiently, whereas auditory information supports quicker responses.
A research team lead by Marschallek studied links between the personality factor need for uniqueness and visual aesthetic sensitivity. The investigators asked study “participants to complete the German adaptation of the Need for Uniqueness scale (NfU-G) and the Visual Aesthetic Sensitivity Test (VAST)—including the VAST-Revised (VAST-R). The NfU-G measures the need to set oneself apart from others, whereas the VAST(-R) tests the ability to identify the objective aesthetic goodness of a figural composition. . . .
Park and Evans assessed the current relevance of Lynch’s work. They share that “Kevin Lynch’s The Image of the City (1960) identified five physical elements—path, edge, district, node, and landmark—that are the building blocks of place. Both the physical and sociocultural function of these elements, along with their locations, affects how we comprehend (legibility) and generate meaning of place (imageability). . . . dependence on LBS [location-based services, online applications that reflect users’ geographic locations and include navigation apps . . local weather functions. . .
Gold and colleagues establish that with music, as with other sensory stimuli, sometimes not straying too far from expectations is best. The researchers found that “as music manipulates patterns of melody, rhythm, and more, it proficiently exploits our expectations. Given the importance of anticipating and adapting to our ever-changing environments, making and evaluating uncertain predictions can have strong emotional effects.