Hong and teammates studied adding nature sounds to outdoor spaces. Study participants wore a mixed-reality head-mounted display and saw a hologram of either a sparrow or a fountain or a loudspeaker while hearing birdsong or a stream. The researchers determined via data collected outdoors, near an expressway, that “both natural sounds significantly reduced the PLN [perceived loudness of the traffic noise] and enhanced the OSQ [overall sound quality]. . . . Analysis on the preferred signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), i.e.
Hvass and teammates investigated how lighting urban spaces influence perceptions of experiences there. They determined via a field study in public transportation waiting areas and a laboratory experiment (where one light zone simulated the same sort of waiting area and the other the surrounding urban space) that “participants perceived the atmosphere in the simulated waiting area as relaxed and private when luminance intensity was low.
Yu and colleagues probed the implications of names appearing in UPPERCASE or lowercase letters; their findings are useful to people developing signage, etc. The Yu-lead team determined via eight experiments that “consumers perceive brands that use all uppercase letters (‘uppercase brands’) as more premium than those that use all lowercase letters (‘lowercase brands’). . . . The effect is reversed for consumers who prefer subtle signals (‘inconspicuous consumers’) because these consumers are likely to perceive a conspicuous uppercase brand as gaudy. . .
Evidence continues to grow indicating that people who are depressed have different visual experiences than those who are not. Meuwese found that when “After viewing a stressful video, participants were randomly allocated to one of two conditions, in which they watched a video of a walk in either (1) natural, or (2) built surroundings. . . . In both experiments, participants with more (rather than less) depressive symptoms displayed more stress reduction after viewing nature rather than built settings. . . . People with more depressive symptoms benefited more from viewing nature. . .
Sui and colleagues have determined that different sorts of seated experiences influence our psychological wellbeing in varying ways, with, in general greater levels of sedentary behavior linked to lower wellbeing. The team reports that via a literature review they found that “most studies demonstrated a weak, detrimental association between indices of SB [sedentary behavior] and outcomes of hedonic well-being . . . device-based SB was either weakly and negatively related or unrelated to hedonic well-being outcomes. . . .
Sabiniewicz directed a research team that found that adding scents to virtual reality experiences may affect how pleasant they seem. The group determined via a project during which “participants were divided into three groups, including two experimental virtual reality (VR) environments [still scenes]: a rose garden, an orange basket, and a control condition. In each VR condition, participants were exposed to a rose odor, an orange odor, or no odor. . . Virtual scenarios tended to be remembered as more pleasant when presented with congruent odors [i.e., rose odor with the rose garden]. .
Physical and other concerns related to birthing suite design were studied by Carlsson, Larsson, and Jormfeldt. Their literature review reports “a need to create a space for childbirth underpinned by four aspects; a homely space, a spiritual space, a safe space, and a territorial space. . . . A homely space was characterized by a place where the woman didn´t have to adapt to the environment. . . . In essence, a homely space contributed to a feeling of being at home, a non-threatening, comfortable relaxing space for the women, which implied a sense of belonging. . . .
Van Nes applied space syntax principles at the city level. He found that “shop owners always search for an optimal location to reach as many customers as possible. If the accessibility to this optimal location is affected by changes in a city’s road and street structure, it will affect the location pattern of shops. . . . how an inner ring road is connected to and the type of the street network it is imposed upon dictates the resulting location pattern of shops. Shops locate and relocate themselves along the most spatially-integrated streets. . .
In cooperation with a research team at the Technical University of Munich, Stora Enso has released a white paper detailing health and wellbeing benefits of living and working in spaces with wood design elements. It is available free of charge at the web address noted below. Research indicates, for example, that “wood has beneficial effects. . . .
Hodzic and colleagues studied the implications of moving into an activity-based workplace (which the researchers refer to as “activity-based flexible offices”). The researchers determined that “moving to the A-FO had negative effects on distraction, work engagement, job satisfaction, and fatigue. The negative effects of distraction were more pronounced in situations of increased time pressure and unpredictability. . . . .