design research

Selecting and Erring (02-14-18)

Buechel and Townsend investigated how people decide which products to buy and the repercussions of those decisions.  The team reports that their “research identifies a systematic error in consumers’ preferences and predicted liking for product aesthetics.  Consumers predict a faster decrease in liking for high (vs.

Standing and Working (02-13-18)

Makkonen and colleagues studied how standing desks influenced the at-work experiences of employees at a software company.  They determined that, among the employees of the Finnish software company where they collected data, “the usage of standing instead of sitting workstations results in only modest promotions of physical activity, does not have an effect on mental alertness . . . decreases musculoskeletal strain in the neck and shoulders, although increasing it in the legs and feet.”  Using standing desks didn’t significantly affect employees’ satisfaction with their workstations.

Pain Meds and Experience (02-12-18)

Researchers and others struggling to make sense of experience-related data may find useful insights in a study conducted by Ratner and colleagues and published in Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences.  The Ratner group reports that “Over-the-counter pain medicine such as Ibuprofen and acetaminophen may influence how people process information, experience hurt feelings, and react to emotionally evocative images, according to recent studies. . .

Using a Foreign Language: Implications (02-09-18)

Research by Hayakawa and Keysar indicates that when design-related decisions are being made the language being used in a space and the language that design research was conducted in should be carefully considered.  The team report that “Mental imagery plays a significant role in guiding how we feel, think, and even behave. These mental simulations are often guided by language, making it important to understand what aspects of language contribute to imagery vividness and consequently to the way we think. Here, we . . .

Taste and Intelligence (02-08-18)

Having (aesthetic) taste and intelligence seem to be linked.  Myszkowski and colleagues found that “What makes individuals experts in judging aesthetic value is actively researched in a variety of ways. In the visual domain, one classical paradigm—used in ‘T’ (for Taste) tests (Eysenck, 1983)—consists in comparing one’s evaluative judgments of beauty with a standard judgment—provided by consensual or expert agreement. . . . We found [via a meta-analysis] a significant positive . . . correlation between g [general intelligence] and ‘T’ . . .

Changing Rooms and Exercising (02-07-18)

When people have access to showers and changing rooms, are they more likely to ride a bicycle or walk to work?  A research team headed by Biswas analyzed data collected from over 53,000 people who answered questions on the 2007 – 2008 Canadian Community Health Survey, and determined that “Compared with younger ages, workers 50 to 75 years old were more likely to cycle to work if WS/CR [showers and changing rooms] were available.”  So, older individuals were more likely to ride their bicycles to work when WS/CR were available but people 49 years old or younger were not more likely to ride a

More on Environmental Noise (02-06-18)

New research indicates how important it is to block the flow of environmental sound (from aircraft, trucks, trains, etc.) into buildings and to reduce outside noise levels via traffic routing/management, building orientation, etc.  Munzel and his team report that “Noise has been found associated with annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, and impaired cognitive performance. . . . studies have found that environmental noise is associated with an increased incidence of arterial hypertension, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke. . . .

Light and Thinking (02-05-18)

Research with rats confirms that being in dim light may not be good for our cognitive performance (“Does Dim Light Make Us Dumber,” 2018).  Previous research has linked brighter light with improved “cognitive performance in school children, healthy adults, and patients in early stages of dementia” (Soler, Robison, Nunez, and Yan, in press).  The Michigan State press release states that “Spending too much time in dimly lit rooms and offices may actually change the brain's structure and hurt one's ability to remember and learn.” It reports that the Soler lead team  “studied the brains of . .

Cost-Benefit Analyses (02-02-18)

Kim, Zafari Bellanger, and Muennig probed the costs and benefits of creating a park.  Anyone assessing the potential value of any sort of design solution will find it useful to take a look at their work (the Kim team’s methods for calculating outcome values are reported in detail at http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2017.304243).  Kim and colleagues wanted to “examine health benefits and cost-effectiveness of implementing a freeway deck park to increase urban green space. . . .

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