Researchers investigated how green spaces (public parks) influence the wellbeing of city-dwellers; findings are published in the Journal of Public Space. The Sahakian-lead group evaluated data collected in Chennai, Singapore, Manila, and Shanghai and report that their project “was based on a list of nine ‘protected needs’ that society has the capacity to meet. . . . parks fulfill almost all these needs to varying degrees, with three in particular standing out. . . . parks play an essential role in the well-being of individuals . .
Kolarik and colleagues investigated how perceptions of distances are influenced by impaired vision; their findings are particularly useful for the development of spaces that people with compromised vision are likely to use. The researchers determined that “Blindness leads to substantial enhancements in many auditory abilities, and deficits in others. . . . we show that greater severity of visual loss is associated with increased auditory judgments of distance and room size.
Li, Liu, and Li studied the effects of being in an orderly environment on thoughts and behaviors. They share that previous research has shown that “Environmental orderliness can affect both self-control behaviors and creative thinking.” Their work “investigated the moderating effect of trait [inherently characteristic of a person] self-control on environmental orderliness influencing both self-control behaviors and creative thinking. . . . Participants exposed to an orderly or a disorderly room were asked to complete a breath-holding task measuring self-control. . . .
Song and Gao investigated how wellbeing is influenced by telework; their findings will interest people developing and managing workplaces. Specifically, Song and Gao probed “how subjective well-being varies among wage/salary workers between working at home and working in the workplace. . . . We find that compared to working in the workplace, bringing work home on weekdays is associated with less happiness, and telework on weekdays or weekends/holidays is associated with more stress. The effect of working at home on subjective well-being also varies by parental status and gender.
Chew, Lambiase, and colleagues studied physiological and emotional variations from one person to another in responses to music heard. Their work indicates that someone can “Play the same piece of music to two people, and their hearts can respond very differently. . . . patients with mild heart failure requiring a pacemaker were invited to a live classical piano concert. . . . Professor Chew said: ‘Even though two people might have statistically significant changes across the same musical transition, their responses could go in opposite directions.
Malafouris’ work highlights the psychological implications of the things that fill our world. As he reports, “We think ‘with’ and ‘through’ things, not simply ‘about’ things. . . . to think and to feel, we need more than a brain. Brain regions work in concert, but they are never alone; rather, they are always parts of broader systems extending beyond skin and skull. . . . New artifacts create novel relations and understandings of the world. New materialities bring about new modes of acting and thinking. . . .
Taylor and Butts-Wilmsmeyer studied kindergarten students’ ability to self-regulate their behavior after spending class time in green schoolyards. The researchers found via data collected at several schools that “girls in classes engaging in curriculum in greenspaces daily [for a minimum of 30 or 60 minutes, depending on the season] scored higher on measures of self-regulation post-intervention, controlling for baseline scores, than did girls engaging at a low frequency [once weekly for 60 minutes or less].
Galoni, Carpenter, and Rao investigated the sorts of choices people make when they are concerned about potentially catching a contagious disease. They determined “that contagious disease cues [such as hearing someone cough] can also elicit fear. Across four experiments and two large empirical data analyses of the presence of contagious disease on actual consumption behavior, we find that cues of contagious disease increase both fear and disgust, and these emotions together form a unique behavioral tendency with respect to consumer behavior.
Marks and Goldhagen circulated, via the Association for Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA) mailing list, a report on ANFA’s last conference, held in 2018 in San Diego. They share that Alex Coburn (UC San Francisco School of Medicine) reported that “scaling architecture incrementally with fractally-inspired patterns of leaves and ocean waves corresponds with improved memory and mood. . . .
Xu and teammates conducted a multisensory analysis of how context influences impressions of chocolate ice cream eaten. They determined that “When ice cream was consumed in the café, it was associated with . . . a sweet taste/flavour. When consumed in the university study area, it was correlated with . . . cocoa and milky flavours. Consumption at the city bus stop was correlated with . . . roasted and bitter tastes/flavours. The laboratory environment was only correlated with the attributes . . . creamy flavour.