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.
Svanas-Hoh, Sanchez, and Tsay evaluated how mood influences evaluations of music; their findings can likely be extended to other situations in which assessments are made. The team reports that “Across two studies, participants . . . listened to a recital (set) of six pieces and provided moment-to-moment evaluations of emotional intensity, as well as global REs [retrospective evaluations] of the pieces and the entire set. Trend was manipulated (between-subjects) by ordering pieces by increasing (Low-High) or decreasing (High- Low) emotional intensity.
Research conducted by Lemon, Li, and Ali confirms that there are significant connections between our sensory experiences; their study is published in The Journal of Neuroscience. A related press release reports that “If you have eaten a chili pepper, you have likely felt how your body reacts to the spicy hot sensation. New research published by biologists at the University of Oklahoma shows that the brain categorizes taste, temperature and pain-related sensations in a common region of the brain.
Living near a green area has been linked to less likelihood of having a stroke. Researchers report that “The risk of suffering an ischaemic stroke, the most common type of cerebrovascular event, is 16% less in people who have green spaces less than 300 metres from their homes. . . . The study took into account information on exposure to three atmospheric pollutants linked to vehicle traffic. . . . The results indicate a direct relationship between increased levels of NO2 in the atmosphere and the risk of ischaemic stroke.
A recent study indicates that we respond differently to material presented on paper than on digital devices. Allen shares that “research by Maferima Toure-Tillery [co-author Lili Wang]. . . finds that people are more likely to engage in virtuous behavior when they make their selections on paper than when they are using a digital device. . . Their study, which was conducted in both the U.S. and China, shows that the effect extends to several types of virtuous behavior, from charitable giving to choosing educational reading material over page turners.