Older individuals whose homes are more accessible are less likely to feel depressed, according to a recently published study. Vitman-Schorr and colleagues identified, via interviewing people over 65 years old, “a direct negativeeffect between perceived accessibility and depressive symptoms. . . .
Walsh and de la Fuente assessed how people manage their at-home acoustic experiences and the repercussions of those actions. The researchers report that they “propose that home and homeliness [hominess] pertain to the degree to which we can control our auditory involvements with the world and with others. What we term ‘homely listening’ concerns the use of music to make oneself feel at home, in some cases, through seclusion and immersion, and, in others, through either the musical ordering of mundane routines or the use of music to engage in sociality with others. . . .
Researchers investigated how to increase the sales appeal of chocolate; it seems likely that lessons learned are relevant to the promotion of other, similar goods. Brown, Hopfer, and Bakke determined that “Gold foil, ornate labels and an intriguing backstory are product characteristics highly desired by premium chocolate consumers. . . . [when assessing product options presented to them, participants] focused more on extrinsic cues, such as packaging, rather than intrinsic cues, such as flavor, to judge product quality.
Zhu and colleagues conducted a literature review and report on how the design of the physical work environment, at three different scales, can boost physical activity (PA) among employees. For example, “At the workstation scale, sit-stand desks, treadmill desks, and stationary high desks were found to reduce SB [sedentary behavior] and increase standing. Work building scale is relatively understudied, and reported correlates include staircase design, overall building design combining multiple PA-friendly strategies, and specific PA amenities (e.g., exercise facilities).
Kolomatsky reviews a recent survey by the American Institute of Architects (of individual architects and custom-home building/renovation firms) regarding trends influencing home design. As he reports, “special-function rooms and products that serve needs particular to the pandemic [are] rising in popularity. . . . 68 percent of respondents cited increasing client requests for home offices, and none reported a decrease. . . . enhanced or ‘task’ lighting, also gained popularity. . . .
Gonzalez, Meyer, and Toldos identified links between gender and responses to online retail displays; it is possible that their findings can also be applied in other contexts. The research trio report that their “study suggests a potential influence of rich contextual product displays, relative to plain white backgrounds. The results of five studies reveal that the product usage context influences purchase intentions among female customers. Women and men differ in their decision-making processes and evaluate different attributes and benefits prior to purchase.
Scents can enhance virtual experiences. Flavian and colleagues report that “Our experiences are constructed by the stimulation of all our senses. . . . This study analyzes how the addition of ambient scent to a VR experience affects digital pre-experiences in a service context (tourism). Results from a laboratory experiment confirmed that embodied VR devices, together with pleasant and congruent [consistent with experience] ambient scents, enhance sensory stimulation, which . . .influence affective [emotional] and behavioral reactions. . . . Using scents in closed, public spaces (e.g.
Cowan and colleagues investigated the use of virtual reality while selling something. Their work determined that “360-VR may help to communicate the brand story online, but the impact of this storytelling can be lost in store aisles due to cognitive competition. . . . 360-VR used online (versus in-store) favors consumers with lower product knowledge. Since consumers with lower product knowledge typically shop in supermarkets or discount stores rather than at specialty boutiques . . .
Meagher and Cheadle researched links between mental health and home design during the COID-19 outbreak. They determined that people who were attached to their homes are less stressed and anxious. As the researchers report, “Many people are spending more time in their homes due to work from home arrangements, stay at home orders, and closures of businesses and public gathering spaces. . . . we explored how one’s attachment to their home may help to buffer their mental health during this stressful time. Data were collected from a three-wave . . . sampling. . . .
Researchers have identified cross-cultural consistencies in responses to particular sounds and published their findings in Nature Human Behaviour. A team affiliated with Harvard’s Music Lab reports that “American infants relaxed when played lullabies that were unfamiliar and in a foreign language. . . . Infants responded to universal elements of songs, despite the unfamiliarity of their melodies and words, and relaxed. . . . In the experiment, each infant watched an animated video of two characters singing either a lullaby or a non-lullaby. . . .