design psychology

Setting and Mindfulness Training (08-05-19)

Lymeus, Lindberg, and Hartig assessed mindfulness training in different environments.  They found that “The setting matters in meditation. . . .  Many mindfulness-based health interventions emphasize effortful attention training exercises in sparsely furnished indoor settings. However, many beginners with attention regulation problems struggle with the exercises and drop out. In contrast, restoration skills training (ReST) – a five-week course set in a garden environment – builds on mindfulness practices adapted to draw on restorative processes stimulated effortlessly in nature contacts.

Nature’s Cognitive Benefits (08-02-19)

Schertz and Berman reviewed published studies exploring the cognitive repercussions of being exposed to nature.  They determined that exposure to a variety of natural stimuli (vs. urban stimuli) consistently improves working memory performance. . . . Overall, there is compelling evidence to support the advice of Thoreau and Murray to spend time in nature. Exposure to natural environments has been shown to improve performance on working memory, cognitive-flexibility, and attentional-control tasks.

Valuing Human Work (08-01-19)

Why do we value handmade objects, even when “perfect” machine made options are available?  Waytz in The Power of Human:  How Our Shared Humanity Can Help Us Create a Better World answers that question. Waytz reports, for example, that “people consciously or subconsciously judge the value of something based on the perceived effort put into it.  The first studies examining this effect, led by psychologist Justin Kruger . . . demonstrated that people valued poems, paintings, and medieval armor more highly when they believed these artifacts required more human effort to produce. . . .

Walkability Near Parks Key (07-30-19)

Zuniga-Teran lead a team which determined that parks are used more when the routes potential users would take to them are more walkable.  The investigators found that “Walkable neighborhoods may predict a higher frequency of greenspace use.  Walking as a mode to reach greenspace may predict higher frequency of greenspace visitation.  Driving as a mode to reach greenspace may predict lower frequency of use of greenspace. Proximity to greenspace may not predict the frequency of greenspace visitation for residents. . .

Green Space Parameters and Health (07-29-19)

Astell-Burt and Feng linked the mental and physical health of city-dwelling people over 45 years old to the extensiveness of the tree canopies and the amount of grass near their homes. They determined that “exposure to 30% or more tree canopy compared with 0% to 9% tree canopy was associated with 31% lower odds of incident psychological distress, whereas exposure to 30% or more grass was associated with 71% higher odds of prevalent psychological distress after adjusting for age, sex, income, economic status, couple status, and educational level.

“National” Art (07-26-19)

Mastandrea, Wagoner, and Hogg looked at links between where people live and art preferences. They learned that when “American and Italian participants evaluated two pieces of abstract art and two pieces of representational art that were attributed to fictional American or Italian artists.

Healthcare at Home (07-25-19)

Melissa Piatkowski, Addie Abushousheh, and Ellen Taylor have written the whitepaper “Healthcare at Home,” which is available to all at the Center for Health Design website indicated below.  This useful, comprehensive text is described on the noted website: “Within the past decade, advances in medical technology, changes in reimbursement structures, the desires and complex care needs of an aging population, and innovative care delivery models have initiated a shift from providing care in hospitals to outpatient settings.

Kids and Nature (07-24-19)

Our attitudes towards nature evolve over our lives. Meidenbauer and colleagues found that “Children aged 4-11 years do not show the preference for nature [over urban spaces] found in adults [children demonstrated robust preferences for urban over natural environments]. With age, children’s preferences for urban over natural environments decrease.  More nearby nature is associated with fewer attention problems in children. The observed attentional benefits are unrelated to the children’s preferences.  Children’s preferences were not linked to their home, school or play environments. . . .

Healthcare Design Sessions Available (07-23-19)

Video links to the 2018 and 2019 sessions of the Architecture-For-Health lecture series, hosted by Texas A &M University (College of Architecture and Health Science Center School of Public Health), are now available without charge at https://www.pbs.org/show/texas-architecture-for-health/.  As indicated on the linked to website: “Leading healthcare designers and administrators will explore the built environment’s effect on health and hospital facility design in the Architecture-For-Health Lecture Series at the Texas A

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