Krpan and van Tilburg add to our knowledge of what is perceived to be beautiful. They share that they “developed and empirically evaluated the Aesthetic Quality Model, which proposes that the link between [visual] complexity and beauty depends on another key visual property—randomness. According to the model, beauty judgements are determined by an interaction between these two properties, with more beautiful patterns featuring comparatively high complexity and low randomness.
Jiang and teammates studied humans’ responses to multicolor light in the context of space travel, but their findings are likely to be relevant in other situations. The group shares that “The goal of this study . . . was to test whether multicolour lighting can improve people’s psychological state in an isolated and confined environment over a period of seven days. . . . [participants] were randomly divided into two groups: one group that was exposed to multicolour lighting and a control group, which was exposed to a static, monotonous white interior. . . .
What neighborhoods can kids and their parents benefit from being in? Hunter and colleagues set out to answer this question. Their goal was “To identify features parents perceived as being relevant for their child’s active play, their own active recreation, and their coactivity. Parents . . . with preschoolers . . . living in Edmonton, Canada were recruited. . . .
Research completed at the University of Florida confirms that there are significant psychological benefits linked to gardening. Researchers determined via a study published in PLoS ONE that “many people may indeed reap mental health benefits from working with plants — even if they’ve never gardened before. . . . gardening activities lowered stress, anxiety and depression in healthy women who attended twice-weekly gardening classes. None of study participants had gardened before. . . .
Thielsch, Forthmann, Brau, and Eisbach probed the factors that influence responses to product aesthetics, focusing on household appliances. The researchers report that “we have developed the Product Aesthetics Inventory (PAI) and its short version, the PAI-S. . . . data [collected] were used to determine the number of product aesthetics factors . . . We found an eight-factor structure consisting of the dimensions Visual Aesthetics, Operating Elements, Logo, Feedback Sounds, Operating Sounds, Haptic, Interaction Aesthetics, and Impression.”
Researchers have investigated the consequences of smelling the sorts of odors present in deserts when it rains. Nabhan, Daugherty, and Hartung found that “Desert dwellers know it well: the smell of rain and the feeling of euphoria that comes when a storm washes over the parched earth. That feeling, and the health benefits that come with it, may be the result of oils and other chemicals released by desert plants after a good soaking. . . .
It may be possible to apply research findings related to the implications of seeing oneself during Zoom calls to other contexts, for example, to seeing oneself in a mirrored surface during a conversation. Researchers determined via a study published in Clinical Psychological Science that “the more a person stares at themself while talking with a partner in an online chat, the more their mood degrades over the course of the conversation. . . .
Faur and Laursen link classroom seat locations and friendships via a study whose findings are consistent with much prior research. Study participants were in grades 3-5. The researchers found that “students sitting next to or nearby one another were more likely to . . . be involved in reciprocated friendships than students seated elsewhere in the classroom. Longitudinal analyses indicated that classroom seating proximity was associated with the formation of new friendships. . . . Seat assignments were not random.
Zu, Jiang, and Zhao evaluated preferences for landscapes that varied by season. They report that “Seasonality is a typical feature of landscapes in temperate regions. Seasonality’s effects on visual aesthetic quality (VAQ) are widely recognised but not well understood. . . . 10 sample sites were selected to represent the diversity of urban green spaces in Xuzhou, eastern China, which has a typical temperate monsoon climate. Photographs of the 10 sites were acquired in eight typical months to capture seasonality. Online surveys were used to evaluate the VAQ of the photographs. . . .
Patelaki and colleagues add to the body of knowledge related to walking’s cognitive implications. They report that “Mobile brain/body imaging (M0BI) was used to record electroencephalographic (EEG) activity, 3-denstional (3D) gait kinematics and behavioral responses in the cognitive task, during sitting or walking on a treadmill. In a cohort of 26 young adults, 14 participants improved in measures of cognitive task performance while walking compared with sitting. . . In contrast, 12 participants . . . did not improve.”