design psychology

Repercussions of Unpleasant Odors (06-17-20)

Li, Jia, and Wang wanted to better understand how smelling odors we feel are unpleasant influences what goes on in our minds. They report that their “study combined event-related potentials (ERPs) with a facial emotion recognition task to investigate the effect of food odor context on the recognition of facial expressions. . . . unpleasant food odors triggered faster recognition of facial expressions, especially fearful ones.”

Seeing Color, Quantified (06-16-20)

Robertson, Cohen and Botch evaluated the size of our color field-of-vision and their findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The researchers report that they “used head-mounted virtual reality displays installed with eye-trackers to immerse participants in a 360-degree real-world environment. The virtual environments included tours of historic sites, a street dance performance, a symphony rehearsal and more, where observers could explore their surroundings simply by turning their heads. . .

Visual Objectivity (06-15-20)

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that we do not see the world completely objectively.  A group lead by Firestone and Morales reports “that it's almost impossible for people to separate an object's true identity from their own perspective on it. In this case, people looked at round objects that were tilted away from them; even when people were certain that the objects were round, they couldn't help but ‘see’ them in a distorted way, as ovals or ellipses. . . . subjects were shown pairs of three-dimensional coins.

Hospital Acoustics (06-12-20)

Research completed by Zhou, Wu, Meng, and Kang indicates that the acoustics in hospitals have a significant effect on stress experienced by patients.  The researchers share that “Patients in general wards are often exposed to excessive levels of noise and activity, and high levels of noise have been associated with depression and anxiety.

Effort and Distance (06-10-20)

Molto and team’s work indicates that multiple factors influence how far away something seems to be.  The researchers report that “Previous studies have suggested that action constraints influence visual perception of distance.  For example, the greater the effort to cover a distance, the longer people perceive this distance to be.  The present . . . meta-analysis . . . supported the existence of a small action-constraint effect on distance estimation. . . . This effect varied slightly according to the action-constraint category (effort, weight, tool use). . .

Benefits of Brightness (06-09-20)

Researchers at the Lighting Research Center confirm the value of spending time in brightly lit spaces.  They share that “The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is investigating the impacts of working from home or quarantining indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic on individual daily light exposures, and how this may be affecting sleep quality and psychological health. In May 2020, the LRC invited people who had been staying home due to the pandemic to complete a short survey about their sleep, mood, and daily light exposure. . .

A Time for Cute Pictures (06-08-20)

Yoshikawa, Nittono, and Masaki detail the cognitive benefits of looking at cute images.  They report that “QE [quiet eye] is a gaze phenomenon, and its duration . . . is thought to represent attention control. . . . several studies have confirmed that viewing cute pictures can induce focal attention, thus improving performance in fine motor tasks. . . . We randomly assigned participants to either the baby-animal pictures group or the adult-animal pictures group, based on pictures viewed prior to the task. . . .

Crime and Walkability (06-05-20)

Lee and  Contreras  evaluated how walkability and crime are related using data collected in Los Angeles. They determined that “walkability had an especially strong linear effect on robbery rates: a 24% increase in the robbery rate accompanied a 10-point increase in Walk Score on a block, controlling for the effects of local businesses and sociodemographic characteristics. . . .

The Shape of Personal Spaces (06-04-20)

Yu, Xiong, and  Lee evaluated the shapes of personal spaces among Chinese people. They report that “Participants were required to determine their IPS [interpersonal space] in eight directions (0°, 45°, 90°, 135°, 180°, 225°, 270°, 315°) when approached by male or female confederates. . . .   IPS was significantly influenced by direction . . . with the largest distance in the front (0°) and the closest distance in the rear (135°, 180°, 225°). . . . Participants maintained a larger IPS . . . with a male confederate than a female confederate. . . IPS . . .


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