design psychology

Green Areas Around Schools (12-16-19)

Recently published research investigated links between green areas near schools (specifically within 500 meters of them) and student levels of ADHD.  Yang and colleagues report that data collected in China about nearly 60,000 children (2 to 17 years old) indicate that “Greenness levels differed substantially across schools and kindergartens. . . . Greater greenness levels were associated with lower odds of ADHD symptoms. . . .

Office Lighting, Alertness, and Sleep (12-13-19)

Researchers at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer and the US General Services Administration (GSA) conducted important research related to at-work alertness and nighttime sleep.  During their study “luminaires, mounted near the participants’ computer monitors provided: (1) morning saturated blue light delivering a circadian stimulus (CS) of 0.4, (2) midday polychromatic white light delivering a CS of 0.3, and (3) afternoon saturated red light delivering a CS close to zero. . . .

Images and Mindfulness (12-12-19)

Choe, Jorgensen, and Sheffield investigated mindfulness in the presence of different images, some depicting more natural spaces than others.  They determined that “Interventions (mindfulness, relaxation-based intervention) in natural environments led to greater nature connectedness, lower negative feelings and reduced depression and stress than those in non-natural environments. . . . Participants’ stress levels decreased significantly from baseline to one-week follow-up only in the mindfulness group in natural environments. . .

Working Together: A Guide for Teams (12-11-19)

Dai and Boos studied interdisciplinary team collaborations, similar to those many designers participate in, and make recommendations for increasing these groups’ effectiveness in an article available free of charge at the website noted below.  Their write-up includes very effective diagrams detailing team interactions.  The Dai/Boos team reports that they identified “two distinct patterns of knowledge integration. . .

Airflow and Creativity (12-10-19)

IIzadi and colleagues learned that creativity is influenced by whether we’re facing into or away from the current of air movement in a room. The researchers, conducting research in laboratories and in the field, found that “frontal airflow (air blowing on the front of the body) boosts energetic activation and fuels enhanced performance on creative tasks, compared to dorsal airflow (air blowing on the back of the body).”  An important study detail: creative engagement was “operationalized . . . as improved performance on creative tasks.”  

Music and Exercise (12-09-19)

How does music heard influence exercising? Terry and colleagues reviewed previously published studies and found that “Music was associated with significant beneficial effects on affective valence [mood] . . . physical performance . . . perceived exertion . . . and oxygen consumption. . . . No significant benefit of music was found for heart rate. . . .

Art Context and Experience (12-06-19)

Krauss and teammates evaluated how the context in which art is shown influences human responses to it via a study in an actual museum.  They report that their “study set out to assess the aesthetic experience and psychophysiological responses of participants in an art museum viewing 6 artworks of Flemish expressionism. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the experimental conditions, either receiving elaborative information or descriptive information on the artworks. Aesthetic experiences were assessed via a questionnaire and through psychophysiological markers.

Benefits of Outside Air (12-05-19)

McArthur simulated the experience of being in “large offices in all climate zones . . . with various outdoor air rates,” and documented the significant performance/economic benefits that result from relatively high outdoor air ventilation rates.  The researcher shares that “A benefit-cost analysis considered energy costs and carbon emission offsets to achieve net-zero carbon operation for large office buildings across international climate zones with ventilation rates ranging from 125% to 1000% ASHRAE 62.1 minimums.

Responses to Water Sounds (12-04-19)

Paton and colleagues investigated human responses to sounds that water can make.  They report that “16 water sounds, with very different acoustic characteristics in the number of harmonics, fundamental frequencies, spectral information and fractal dimension (=complexity), were sampled. . . .  Relationships between sound parameters and comfort responses show that information related to harmonics is behind the preferences. . . . we demonstrated that fountains with large waterfalls or jets, produce a marked acoustic aversion to humans.

Sensory Interactions (12-03-19)

Jeon and Jo studied the effects of visual and acoustic information on satisfaction with urban environments and it is likely that their findings are applicable in other contexts.  The duo determined that when “Actual site conditions were simulated using immersive virtual reality technology in which subjects were provided with visual information via a head-mounted display (HMD) and audio information via head-tracking technology using the first-order ambisonics (FOA) of headphone-based three-dimensional auralization. . . .


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