Researchers investigated how the properties of food photos influence expectations of how the food shown will taste. Liu and teammates determined, via a study published in the Journal of Business Research, that “Photos high in color saturation make food look fresher and tastier to viewers, which increases their willingness to order the menu items. . . . Color saturation refers to the intensity of the color in the image – the vividness and richness of the reds and greens and blues. . . .
Howlin, Stapleton, and Rooney studied how music can be used to reduce pain, collecting information from adults experiencing acute pain. They report that “Music is increasingly being recognised as an adjuvant treatment for pain management. Music can help to decrease the experience of both chronic and experimental pain. . . . in naturalistic settings, the present study examined the degree to which cognitive agency (i.e., perceived choice in music), music features (i.e., complexity), and individual levels of musical sophistication were related to perceived pain. . . .
Christiana and teammates probed the effectiveness of using signage along pathways to encourage people to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves. The researchers share that they “examined the effectiveness of a point-of-decision prompt to increase physical distancing (maintaining at least 6 ft of distance) on greenways and rail-trails using systematic observation. . . . Results indicate that the intervention did not have a significant effect on interacting groups maintaining physical distance.
Hatano and colleagues’ research will interest you if you design or manage areas where people wait or ever wait yourself (and who doesn’t from time to time?). The investigators report that “The ability to engage in internal thoughts without external stimulation is a unique characteristic in humans. The current research tested the hypothesis that people . . . underestimate their capability to enjoy this process of “just thinking.” Participants . . . were asked to sit and wait in a quiet room without doing anything.
Qi, Lu, and Chen’s research confirms the wayfinding-related findings of previous studies; being able to see the outdoors as we walk inside a building helps us keep track of where we are and find our way to a desired location. They report that “General hospitals in China always present significant wayfinding problems due to their sizes and complexity. Poor wayfinding often leads to a frustrating and stressful user experience. . . . We conducted an experiment in which 117 college students, aged 18–33 . . . performed two tasks in virtual reality environments of outpatient clinics. . . .
Devlin’s study was conducted in doctor’s office waiting rooms but its findings can reasonably be extended to other sorts of places. Devlin reports that she studied “preference for five different seating arrangements (e.g., rows, clusters) in a doctor’s office waiting room . . . and how such choices may have changed over the pandemic (2013 vs. 2021). . . . Data collected in 2013 and 2021 used sketches of five different seating arrangements; people saw just one of these. . . . seating preferences favored end, not middle seats, and chair selections with the chair back to a wall.
Where would people prefer to give birth? Skogstrom, Vithal, and Wijk report that their “study was part of a . . . research project, including women . . . receiv[ing] care in a new birthing room designed with physical features changeable according to personal wishes. . . . The overall impression of the room was positive and exceeded women’s expectations. They felt welcomed and strengthened by the room, which shifted the focus to a more positive emotional state.
Franconeri, Padilla, Shah, Zacks, and Hullman (in a study published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest) report on their research into how to share data with others. Their recommendations for sending messages via data visualizations include: “Understand how starting axes at zero might not always be the best option because it can mask relevant data patterns or create the illusion of patterns that do not reflect reality. . . .
Roessler, Weber, Tawil, and Kuhn evaluated human responses to various housing facades, by getting people in Denmark, Germany, and Canada to provide their impressions of images of Canadian homes. The investigators report that “the present study aimed at characterizing potentially central aspects in the judgement of house facades and identified that the dimensions: friendliness, liking and invitingness, as well as safety and freedom seem to be of importance.
Ellenberg’s recent book on geometry is drawing lots of attention to a topic many thought they’d left behind when they graduated from high school. Ellenberg makes it clear why geometry is a powerful and continuing force in our lives, explaining many of the issues we face day-to-day: “We are living in a wild geometric boomtown, global in scope. Geometry isn’t out there beyond space and time, it’s right here with us, mixed in with the reasoning of everyday life. It is beautiful? Yes, but not bare. Geometers see Beauty with its work clothes on.”