Another study indicates that there are intriguing similarities between our online experiences and those we have in real life. A press release related to the new research indicates that “The more the video quality of an online meeting degrades, the louder we start talking, a new study by researchers at Radboud University and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics finds. People also tend to change up their gestures to compensate. Their findings were published today in the Royal Society Open Science journal. . . .
Arshamian and teammates determined that worldwide people tend to find the same odors pleasant to smell. As they report, they “asked 225 individuals from 9 diverse nonwestern cultures—hunter-gatherer to urban dwelling—to rank . . . odorants from most to least pleasant. Contrary to expectations, culture explained only 6% of the variance in pleasantness rankings, whereas individual variability or personal taste explained 54%. Importantly, there was substantial global consistency, with molecular identity explaining 41% of the variance in odor pleasantness rankings. . . .
New research verifies that sensory experiences vary by culture. For a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences n international research team led by Elizabeth Margulis and Devin McAuley “asked hundreds of people what stories they imagined when listening to instrumental music. . . . listeners in Michigan and Arkansas imagined very similar scenes, while listeners in China envisioned completely different stories. . . .
Rossel and teammates’ research confirms that many factors influence what we see. The team shares that “Our study investigated the influence of expectations based on prior experience and contextual information on the perceived sharpness of objects and scenes. . . . We manipulated the availability of relevant information to form expectations about the image’s content: one of the two images contained predictable information while the other one unpredictable. At an equal level of blur, predictable objects and scenes were perceived as sharper than unpredictable ones. . . .
Eneix reports on recent developments in the field of archaeoacoustics in an intriguing article available free at the web address noted below—her work confirms that there are lots of people out there studying interesting things. Eneix shares, for example, that “Researching a subject about prehistory that cannot be photographed or handled requires input from a wide range of disciplines combined with informed observation.
Bafna and colleagues studied how home design can support the wellbeing of older individuals (mean age of participants in their study was 69.5). The investigators report on “a quantitative study of the relationship between a characteristic of the physical home environment—the degree of interconnectedness of its rooms—and the cognitive ability of adults. . . .
People who design public spaces where crowding can be an issue will be intrigued by the findings of a new paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (and available free of charge here: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.2089). A related press release reports that “A new model . . . takes the point of view of an individual crowd member, and is remarkably accurate at predicting actual crowd flow, its developers say. The model . . .
Work by a research team lead by Van Den Eeden provides additional evidence that living near green spaces is good for our health. The team reports that they “sought to determine if residential green cover was also associated with direct healthcare costs. We linked residential Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) satellite data for 5,189,303 [people] . . . to direct individual healthcare costs for 2003–2015. . . . we examined the association between direct healthcare costs and green cover within 250, 500, and 1000 meters (m) of an individual’s residence. . . .
Research indicates that urban design is affecting neighborhood temperatures. A study conducted in Australia by Rouhollahi, Boland, and others determined that “New housing subdivisions, smaller yards and a dependence on air conditioning have resulted in a 30 per cent decline in Australian residential trees in the past decade, leading to hotter neighbourhoods and increased energy costs.”
A recent study confirms the negative health effects of noise exposure and supports the use of sound insulation. Avel Moreyra lead a study that determined that “People experiencing high levels of noise from cars, trains or planes were more likely to suffer a heart attack. . . . Patients were divided into those experiencing high levels of transportation noise (an average of 65 decibels or higher over the course of the day) and those with low noise exposure (a daily average of less than 50 decibels). A noise level of 65 decibels is similar to a loud conversation or laughter.