design research

Air Pollution and Mental Performance (12-01-20)

Research completed by a Mullen-lead team not only confirms the value of air outside being fresh, but also the advantages of air brought into buildings being “scrubbed.”  The investigators report that  “Fine particulate air pollution is harmful to children in myriad ways. While evidence is mounting that chronic exposures are associated with reduced academic proficiency, no research has examined the frequency of peak exposures. . . .

Language, Culture and Experience (11-30-20)

Research confirms that our experiences are influenced by language being spoken and culture. Gianola, Losin, and Llabre found, via a study published in Affective Science, that “the language a bilingual person speaks can affect their physical sensations, depending on the cultural association tied to each vernacular. . . . bilingual Hispanic/Latino participants . . . participate[d] in separate English and Spanish testing sessions. During both sessions, they received a pain-induction procedure, when an experimenter applied painful heat to their inner forearm.

Wooden Effects (11-25-20)

Salvador, in the course of a furniture design project, completed a literature review focused on the psychological implications of experiencing wooden materials.  He reports that “A literary review based study revealed woodenmaterials in interiors and objects to have a positive psychological influence in humans, with a pacifying and relaxing effect.”

Too Much Is Too Bad (11-24-20)

Douce and Adams studied combined sensory experiences in retail environments.  They report that their lab and field experiments indicate that “when a third high arousal cue is added sensory overload (i.e., rise in perceived arousal and decrease in perceived pleasantness) occurs under the condition that this third cue is processed by a higher sense (i.e. visual or auditory sense). Furthermore, a decrease in approach behavior and evaluations is also observed when these conditions are met. . . .

Plants in Restaurants (11-23-20)

Yildirim and team assessed the implications of indoor plants in restaurants.  They found using digital images that “restaurants designed with indoor plants had a more positive effect on the shopping decisions of participants than restaurants designed without indoor plants. . . . higher education graduate participants showed more positive opinions about the plant designed restaurant than secondary education graduate participants. . . .

Food Choice and Clothing (11-20-20)

Research linking clothing worn and food selections may indicate an effect that can be broadened to environmental design; future research will confirm such a link, or not. Wang and teammates found that “formal and informal clothes styles can activate different clothes-image associations and thus make consumers more likely choose a food type (healthy or unhealthy) that is congruent with a specific set of clothes-image associations, referred to as clothes-food congruence. For example, wearing formal clothes can activate such formal-clothes associations as being self-controlled and organized.

Trees and Academic Success (11-19-20)

Research confirms that trees do indeed add value to our lives.  Kuo, Klein, Browning, and Zaplatosch collected data for 450 schools and 50,000 students in communities ranging from rural to urban in Washington State and report that “‘Hundreds of studies show a positive link between contact with nature and learning outcomes. . . . We wanted to make sure the same pattern was true in this vulnerable and overlooked population,’ says Ming Kuo. . .

Around Home Nature (11-18-20)

Nature around our home may help reduce some of the negative psychological effects of the current pandemic.  According to a study published in Ecological Applications, data collected online in Tokyo “quantified the link between five mental-health outcomes (depression, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, self-esteem, and loneliness) and two measures of nature experiences (frequency of greenspace use and green view through windows from home).

Seeing Color (11-17-20)

Research published in Current Biologyindicates why we may experience particular colors in certain ways. Rosenthal, Singh, Hermann, Pantazis, and Conway “decoded brain maps of human color perception. . . .  colors were presented at two luminance levels – light and dark. . . . study participants had unique patterns of brain activity for each color. With enough data, the researchers could predict . . . what color a volunteer was looking at. . . .

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