design psychology

Recycled Water: Acceptability (11-22-19)

Research indicates that people have situation-specific reactions to recycled water; reported findings are likely applicable in other contexts with other recycled materials.  Gauvain and Harmon determined that “If people are educated on recycled water, they may come to agree it’s perfectly safe and tastes as good — or better — than their drinking water. . . . But that doesn’t mean they’re going to use recycled water — and it sure doesn’t mean they’ll drink it. And the reason lies in the word ‘disgust.’ . . .

Classroom Acoustics (11-21-19)

Astolfi and colleagues investigated the effects of classroom acoustics on the educational experiences of young people, age 6 to 7.  They determined that findings of the study suggest that long reverberation times, which are associated to poor classroom acoustics as they generate higher noise levels and degraded speech intelligibility, bring pupils to a reduced perception of having fun and being happy with themselves.

Nature Videos and Colonoscopies (11-20-19)

Sjolander and colleagues examined the effects of showing people having colonoscopies nature videos during the procedure and found that the patients exposed to the nature videos experienced less stress.  As they describe “One of the four endoscopy rooms was rebuilt to include a large digital screen showing calm nature films. . . . The presence of calm nature films during colonoscopy decreased the release of cortisol, increased prolactin levels, and enhanced oxygen saturation.

Evaluating Art (11-19-19)

Kim, Burr, and Alais studied how recently viewed art influences perceptions of subsequently seen pieces.  Their results “showed that the current painting earned significantly higher aesthetic ratings when participants viewed a more attractive painting on the previous trial, compared to when they viewed a less attractive one. . . .

Ventilating Rooms (11-18-19)

Wind can effectively support ventilating room and regulating their temperature; gentle movement is an important aspect of biophilic design.  Researchers determined that “wind can increase ventilation rates by as much as 40% above that which is driven by a temperature difference between a room and the outdoors. . . . researchers found that the rate of ventilation depends less on temperature and more on wind. Anyone who has tried to cool down on a hot night by opening the window will no doubt be familiar with how ineffective this is when there is no wind.

Order and Complexity and Preference (11-15-19)

Van Geert and Wagemans researched how image order and complexity are related to preference for images. They “explored which factors might contribute to aesthetic preferences for . . . images of a set of objects, or parts of objects, organized in a neatly or tidy way. . . Images high in order and high in complexity were perceived as more fascinating, whereas images high in order but low in complexity were perceived as more soothing. . . . In general, images of neatly organized compositions were perceived as pleasant to look at. . . .

White Noise Boosts Hearing (11-14-19)

Christensen, Lindén, Nakamura, and Barkat determined that white noise can improve ability to hear other sounds and their work is published in Cell Reports.  The investigators found via studies with mice that “With a background of continuous white noise, hearing pure sounds becomes even more precise. . . .the more precisely we can distinguish sound patterns, the better our hearing is. But how does the brain manage to distinguish between relevant and less relevant information – especially in an environment with background noise? . . .

Instrumental Music Can Reduce Stress (11-13-19)

Research indicates that listening to instrumental music can relieve cardiac stress.  A press release reporting research by Alves, Garner, do Amaral, Oliveira and Valenti states “Stress while driving is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac complications such as heart attack (myocardial infarction), according to studies published in recent years. . . .

Real and Virtual Nature Experiences (11-12-19)

Laurent and colleagues confirm the value of spending time in both “real” and “virtual” nature.  The team report that they  “conduct[ed] an experiment with healthy undergraduate students that tests the effects of six minutes of outdoor nature exposure with six minutes of exposure to a 360-degree VR [virtual reality] nature video, which is recorded at the outdoor nature exposure location. . . .

Nature and Mental Refreshment (11-08-19)

Crossan and Salmoni’s work confirms previous studies which have determined that nature experiences are mentally refreshing.  The research team reports that “Attention restoration theory (ART) predicts that top-down processing during everyday activities can cause attentional fatigue and that bottom-up processing that occurs when people experience nature will be restorative. This study exposed participants to three different conditions . . .

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