Chang and colleagues studied nature photos from around the world presented on social media. The team determined that “Humans may have evolved a need to connect with nature, and nature provides substantial cultural and social values to humans. . . . We lack answers to fundamental questions: how do humans experience nature in different contexts (daily routines, fun activities, weddings, honeymoons, other celebrations, and vacations) and how do nature experiences differ across countries?
Researchers have determined that what we hear influences our balance. The investigators report in a literature review published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck that “What people hear and do not hear can have a direct effect on their balance. . . . . ‘This study found that the sounds we hear affect our balance by giving us important information about the environment. . . . ‘ said senior author Maura Cosetti, MD. . . . people had more difficulty staying balanced or standing still on an uneven surface when it was quiet, but had better balance while listening to sounds. . . .
Pfeifer and Wittmann investigated how humans think when a space is silent. They report that “Research on the perception of silence has led to insights regarding its positive effects on individuals. We conducted a series of studies during which individuals were exposed to several minutes of silence in different contexts. Participants were introduced to different social and environmental settings, either in a seminar room at a university or in a city garden, alone or in a group. . .
Kim and Maher studied metaphors that support the development of smart environments, i.e., spaces where technology is embedded. They share that “[the device metaphor]represents performing tasks through users’ direct control. It encompasses providing better service, performance, and ease of control by using an interactive design as a device. . . . A smart environment with embodied interaction is a robot in the sense that it is an intelligent machine capable of performing tasks without explicit human control.. .
Organizations concerned about the wellbeing of their members now have another issue to consider. Cornil, Gomez, and Vasiljevic report that “At work, at school, at the gym club or even at home, consumers often face challenging situations in which they are motivated to perform their best. . . . activating [triggering thoughts of] performance goals, whether in cognitive or physical domains, leads to an increase in consumption of high-calorie foods at the expense of good nutrition.
Williams and colleagues evaluated preferences for various painting techniques. They determined that “brushstroke paintings were found to be more pleasing than pointillism paintings.”
Louis Williams, Eugene McSorley, and Rachel McCloy. “Enhanced Associations with Actions of the Artist Influence Gaze Behaviour.” i-Perception, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/2041669520911059
Nakano and Tanabe studied reactions to air temperature in urban semi-outdoor environments, such as atria, terraces, and sidewalk eating areas. They determined that “Clothing adjustments showed higher correlation with outdoor temperature, not the immediate environment. Occupants in non-HVAC spaces were more responsive to their environment. . . . The comfort zone . . . was found to be 19 - 30°C for HVAC spaces and 15 - 32°C for non-HVAC spaces."
Chen, He, and Yu investigated the brain mechanics underlying attention restoration. They had study participants spend 20 minutes wearing a cap that collected information about brain activity in a “restorative (wooded garden [by a pond]) or a nonrestorative (traffic island [in a heavily trafficked road]) environment. . . . the perceived coherence of the restorative environment may induce fatigue recovery and, hence, attention restoration via alpha-theta oscillations and synchronization.
Iravani and Rao looked at links between New Urbanist design and health. They specifically studied “how the 10 New Urbanism principles produce outcomes that affect public health. The outcomes include: (1) higher usage of non-motorized and public transit modes, which results in more physical activity; (2) lower usage of private automobiles, which results in less air pollution; (3) safer streets, which results in fewer traffic accidents; and (4) complete community planning for residents, regardless of income, age or ideas, which results in better access to health resources.
Xu, Chen, Li and Menassa investigated environmentally responsible behavior in offices. They determined that “while injunctive norms are an important predictor of behavioral intention for single-person offices, descriptive norms are an important one for shared offices. . . . perceived control over energy-saving and perceived ease of access to building control features have no direct impacts on energy-saving behaviors in single-person offices, while they have impacts on energy-saving behaviors in shared offices. . .