design psychology

Reviewing 20 Years of CBE Data (07-29-20)

A Graham-lead team at the Center for the Built Environment, University of California, Berkeley, reviewed 20 years of data collected by the Center; their findings are available without charge at the web address noted below. The CBE researchers report that “One of the most widely used online POE [post-occupancy evaluation] tools is the Center for the Built Environment’s Occupant Survey. We analyzed data collected from this tool over the last two decades (>90,000 respondents from ~900 buildings) to summarize the database and evaluate the survey structure.

Healthcare Environments for Children (07-28-20)

Gaminiesfahani and colleagues investigated how healthcare environments can best meet the needs of pediatric patients.  They determined via a review of published research that “the built environment characteristics of pediatric healthcare environments that have healing benefits include access to nature, music, art and natural light, reduced crowding, reduced noise, and soft, cyclical, and user-controlled artificial lighting.”

Designing for Autistic Children (07-27-20)

Clouse’s team investigated the optimal design of spaces to be used by children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  They share that “Mostafa recommended seven design criteria known as ASPECTSS™: Acoustics, Spatial sequencing, Escape spaces, Compartmentalization, Transition spaces, Sensory zoning, and Safety, when designing for people with ASD. These classifications lay the groundwork for the established guidelines. . . . recommendations demonstrate that sensitivity to the needs of people with autism creates a solution that is better for all people.”

Birthing Room Design (07-24-20)

Nilsson lead a team that reviewed previously published studies to learn how birthing room design affects mothers and neonates, physically and emotionally.  They share that “The results of the analysis reveal four prominent physical themes in birthing rooms that positively influence on maternal and neonate physical and emotional outcomes: (1) means of distraction, comfort, and relaxation; (2) raising the birthing room temperature; (3) features of familiarity; and (4) diminishing a technocratic environment.”

Time and Preferences (07-23-20)

Li and Tian assessed how viewing preferred art influences perceptions of the amount of time that has passed.  The researchers report that “Participants who preferred Chinese paintings . . . and participants who preferred western paintings . . . were recruited. . . . participants who preferred Chinese paintings exhibited longer time perceptions for Chinese paintings than for western paintings, while the participants who preferred western paintings exhibited longer time perceptions for western paintings than for Chinese paintings. . . .

Aesthetic Assessments (07-22-20)

Specker and colleagues evaluated the implications of an artwork’s context.  They report that their work was “conducted in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. . . . We used an impressionist artwork of waterlilies by Monet, placed within both a temporary exhibition—meant to highlight his revolutionary anticipation of abstraction—and within a permanent exhibition of other impressionistic pieces not highlighting deviance. Results showed that the artist was indeed considered more influential in the temporary exhibition.

Plant Consciousness (07-21-20)

A hot topic in the psych world is whether plants have some sort of consciousness;  whether they do or not may not have design related consequences, but who knows for sure?  In a recent article, Castiello, for example, states “Up until the middle of the 19th century, some data about plant behavior could be found in books dealing with comparative psychology. The tendency gradually faded away, and the topic was almost exclusively treated in literature dealing with plant physiology.

Multiple Mental Maps (07-20-20)

Researchers have found that the mental maps we use to keep track of social relationships are similar to those we develop in our minds to help us find our way from one place to another. A press release from the University of California, Davis, describing a study conducted by Boorman, Park, Miller, Ranganath, and Nili and published in Neuron, states “Even in these social-distanced days, we keep in our heads a map of our relationships with other people: family, friends, co-workers and how they relate to each other. New research . .

Teenagers and Light at Night (07-17-20)

Research lead by Paksarian and Merikangas, and published in JAMA Psychiatry, confirms that nighttime light can have undesirable consequences.  Investigators determined that “adolescents [13-18 years olds] who live in areas that have high levels of artificial light at night tend to get less sleep and are more likely to have a mood disorder relative to teens who live in areas with low levels of night-time light. . . . Daily rhythms, including the circadian rhythms that drive our sleep-wake cycles, are thought to be important factors that contribute to physical and mental health.

Urban Place Bonds and Maintenance (07-16-20)

Hidalgo and colleagues studied how bonds to urban places are related to how well cared for those spaces are.  The team report that “Research in environmental psychology has found a positive relationship between place bonds and behaviors related to care and maintenance of place. Although this relationship has been analyzed in natural environments. . . . The participants [in this study] were . . . from eight different neighborhoods with different sociodemographic characteristics in one Spanish city.

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