Kuper investigated the cognitive refreshment/restoration related implications of viewing different sorts of nature scenes. He found that “Respondents rated flowering and autumn-colored views significantly higher in RP [restorative potential] and preference than foliated [green leaves only on trees]. . . . Flowering plants and red or yellow autumn-colored foliage may increase users’ preference and RP.”
Yadon and Daugherty explored how personality influences responses to sound. They report that “Sensory gating allows an individual to filter out irrelevant sensory information from the environment, potentially freeing attentional resources for more complex tasks. . . . [study] Participants with more robust . . . sensory gating reported a significantly greater degree of conscientiousness; conscientiousness (but not the other Big Five factors) predicted sensory gating ability.”
Helm and colleagues’ research indicates that consumers still value the experience of visiting physical stores. The team found via “a content analysis of reader comments [US consumers] in response to articles featuring reports on large-scale store closures, and structured online consumer interviews. . . . many consumers lamenting the disappearance of physical retailers. Most expect negative consequences for themselves and society.
YouGov, a respected research organization, investigated in-office experiences. The investigators determined that “In just the past six months, open office workers in major cities across the U.S. [New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco and Houston] have: Gone to a closet or hallway to take a phone call: Almost 1 in 3 (31%); Gone to the bathroom to take a phone call: 1 in 8 (12%); . . .
Urban/regional planning seems to have political ramifications. Researchers from the University of Waterloo determined that “Urban planning decisions from decades past are likely a contributing factor to the rise of right-wing populism. . . . development patterns that led to the reliance on the automobiles may also be fueling political attitudes that favour comfort and convenience and resist sustainable development. . . . In reviewing the data, the researchers found that the increasing use of the automobile heavily influenced land-use decisions and life-style choices.
Schutz and Stefanucci studied consumer preferences for product sounds. They determined that “Interfaces play a crucial role in a device’s success or failure. Although visual aspects generally receive more attention, findings from sonic interaction design increasingly illustrate the importance of auditory aesthetics in creating desirable products. Here we show that small changes to the amplitude envelope (i.e., ‘sound shape’) of tones affect user preference.
Researchers have determined that the importance of sensory information received through various channels (via vision, touch, etc.) varies by culture. As a press release from the University of York details, “the accepted hierarchy of human senses – sight [most important sense], hearing, touch, taste and smell [least important] – is not universally true across all cultures. . . . Researchers found that rather than being able to predict the importance of the senses from biology, cultural factors were most important. . . .
Bottalico studied noise levels in restaurants and their implications. He reports that “Previous studies have demonstrated that uncomfortably loud levels of background noise can result in decreased customer satisfaction and business for the restaurant. . . . [study participants with normal hearing]read passages to a listener in the presence of typical restaurant noise . . . with the level varying between 35 dBA and 85 dBA. . . . to improve the acoustic environment of restaurants, background noise levels should be lower than 50-55 dB(A).
Peeples has written a comprehensive, general press review of research on the implications of experiencing circadian lighting (or not), which is available free to all at the web address noted below. Her work is a good introduction to circadian lighting for a non-technical audience. Peeples reports, for example that “there is little question that the study of human interaction with light is now in its heyday, and that the implications for our hopelessly indoor lives could be significant. . . .
Mullenbach and her team studied links between park location and features and public health. They determined that “Walkable access to parks, sufficient park acreage, and investments in park and recreation resources are 3 indicators of quality city park systems. . . . . Data were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 500 Cities Project, the Trust for Public Land’s City Park Facts Report, and the US Census Bureau. . . .