Gungormus and colleagues identified an intriguing implication of planting trees, literally. They share that “Sensory stimulation has shown the capacity to modulate pain mechanisms. . . . A single-group, pretest-posttest clinical trial was used. . . . healthy adults performed an afforestation activity for 90 minutes. . . . results showed significant reductions in the cold pain intensity at the moment of detection . . . mechanical pain sensitivity . . . and increases in the thresholds of pressure pain detection . . . and tolerance. . . .
Sleboda and team’s work indicate how important word choices can be and their findings are likely applicable generally in designed situations. The group reports that they collected data as “Participants chose between one gourmet food gift basket without meat and dairy and another with meat and dairy. . . . the gourmet food gift basket without meat and dairy was less likely to be chosen when its label focused on its content (stating ‘vegan’ or ‘plant-based’) rather than on its benefits (stating ‘healthy’, ‘sustainable’ or both).
Van Hedger, Bongiovanni, and Khudhair studied people’s responses to different sounds. They report that “we investigate whether the absolute tuning of music influences listener evaluations of music. Across three experiments, participants rated musical excerpts, tuned conventionally (A4 = 440 Hz) versus unconventionally (±50 cents from conventional tuning), in terms of aesthetic preference. . . . participants clearly preferred the conventionally tuned version for highly familiar recordings, they tended to prefer the version that was highest in absolute pitch if the recording was unfamiliar.
Hula and Samalova study of flower preferences produced intriguing findings. The investigators report that “Our previous studies revealed that Czechs, irrespective of gender, age, education, or level of expertise, display very similar esthetic responses to flowers of diverse shapes and colors, that is, they like and dislike the same flowers. . . . This study compares the flower preferences of the inhabitants of two culturally, geographically, and ecologically highly distinct countries—Czechia . . . and Kenya. . . We found a very strong positive correlation . .
Research by the de la Osa-lead team confirms the value of designing to support children’s natural experiences. The group found that “Exposure to greenspace has been associated with mental health benefits in children. . . . This longitudinal study . . . [collected data from] a community cohort of 539 children, from Barcelona province, followed from 3 to 11 years.
Adise and colleagues tie the conditions in which children grow up to their physical condition using data collected from 9- to 12-year-olds. The researchers report that “The NI [immunologic model of self-regulation failure] theory proposes that ADI [area deprivation] causes structural alteration in the brain due to the neuroinflammatory effects of overeating unhealthy foods. The NS [neuronal stress ] theory proposes that ADI-related stress negatively impacts brain structure, which causes stress-related overeating and subsequent obesity. . . .
Zushi’s team’s research can likely be extended from tasting substances to other sensory experiences. They share that “Prior research indicate that emotional states can alter taste perception, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. . . . The first experiment investigated how anxiety affects taste perception when individuals are aware of their anxiety. Participants watched videos inducing relaxation or anxiety, then were divided into groups focusing on their emotions and those who did not, and the taste perception was measure.
Cytowic’s work is an interesting introduction to synesthesia, particularly for people interested in the full range of possible sensory experiences. As Cytowic shares “Synesthesia has already caused a paradigm shift in two senses. For science, it has forced a fundamental rethinking about how brains are organized. It is now beyond dispute that cross talk happens in all brains; synesthetes just have more of it that takes place in existing circuits. The other paradigm shift lies within each individual. What synesthesia shows is that not everyone sees the world as you do. . . .
Marshall and colleagues probed relationships between air quality and the physical health of 9- and 10-year-olds. They completed “cross-sectional analyses of 8,429 youth . . .
Recent attention to the benefits of having pets in workplaces is likely to increase interest in designing pet friendly workplaces. As Quan and Schabram report “Studies in diverse settings—traditional offices but also universities, prisons, hospitals and courthouses—demonstrate that the presence of animals increases employee commitment and career satisfaction and reduces turnover intentions. These positive effects hold even for employees who have no pets or do not actively interact with animals at work. Why?