environment behavior

Coffee Reminders: Implications (03-28-19)

A new study confirms how powerful visual cues can be. Chan and Maglio determined that “Just looking at something that reminds us of coffee can cause our minds to become more alert and attentive. . . . Across four separate studies and using a mix of participants from Western and Eastern cultures, they [the researchers] compared coffee- and tea-related cues. They found that participants exposed to coffee-related cues perceived time as shorter and thought in more concrete, precise terms. . . . the effect was not as strong among participants who grew up in Eastern cultures.

Links Between the Senses (03-27-19)

Weir reviews research in the field of neurogastronomy.  The field is defined in her article as “combining the molecular biology of olfaction, the biochemistry of food preparation and the neuroscience of sensation and perception.” Weir reports, for example that when someone is tasting something “The process starts even before you take a bite. You smell the food’s aroma and see its shape and color, as well as the appearance of the plate or bowl. . . . aroma from the food is carried through the inside of the mouth up into the nose . . . which has a big effect on flavor. . . .

Aesthetic Judgments, for Others (03-26-19)

Miller and Hubner found that individuals are pretty good at determining if other people will like a particular piece of art. The duo reports that “Aesthetic preferences vary strongly between people. Yet, it can be essential to infer what other people aesthetically prefer. Therefore, we investigated lay people’s ability to infer aesthetic preferences. . . . about half of the participants produced a significant medium to high correlation between their other assessments and the mean others′ self-assessment. . . .

Healthcare Waiting Room Study (03-25-19)

On March 22, at the Outcome of Design (OOD) conference organized by the American Society of Interior Designers, OOD  award winning projects were reviewed.  One of the awarded projects is a waiting area at Unity Health Care Brentwood, redesigned by Gensler in partnership with others, including Sunbrella.  The new space was developed using data collected via surveys, observations, behavioral mapping, and community outreach.  The printed agenda for the Outcome of Design conference indicated that in the new waiting room “wider seat selections and increased spacing between seats resulted in incr

Indoor Climate, Long Ago Homes (03-22-19)

Just, Nichols, and Dunn evaluated indoor climates across the United States.  They studied “indoor climate data from homes . . . across the USA. We then compared these data to recent global terrestrial climate data (0.5° grid cells, n = 67 420) using a climate dissimilarity index. . . .  On average, our study homes were most similar in climate to the outdoor conditions of west central Kenya. . . .

Signals in Brand Design (03-21-19)

Calder reports on the unspoken messages sent via design in an article that is of note primarily because a significant segment of its readers are business people whose careers are not focused on design-related issues.  Calder states that “good brand design mainly influences consumers on an unconscious level. . . . Establishing associations in the consumer’s mind that lead the consumer to recognize and interpret the brand without cognitive effort creates a perception that is consistent and supportive of the brand’s positioning concept. . . .

Mental Magnets (03-20-19)

Wang and colleagues determined that humans sense magnetic fields.  The researchers share that “Although many migrating and homing animals are sensitive to Earth’s magnetic field, most humans are not consciously aware of the geomagnetic stimuli that we encounter in everyday life. . . . We found two classes of ecologically-relevant rotations of Earth-strength magnetic fields that produce strong, specific and repeatable effects on human brainwave activity in the EEG alpha band (8-13 Hz); EEG discriminates in response to different geomagnetic field stimuli.”  

Parking Spaces: Changing Requirements (03-19-19)

Henao and Marshall investigated changing needs for parking spaces.  They found that their “study uses ethnographic methods—complemented with passenger surveys collected when driving for Uber and Lyft in the Denver, Colorado, region—to gather quantitative and qualitative data on ride-hailing and analyze the impacts of ride-hailing on parking, including changes in parking demand and parking as a reason to deter driving. The study also examines relationships between parking time and cost. . . .

Research in Virtual Reality (03-18-19)

An interview with Alan Kingstone and Andrew Gallup sheds light on “how basic human behaviors differ between the real world and simulated environments.”  They report that  “By demonstrating that yawning is just as contagious within VR [virtual reality] as it is in traditional laboratory settings, we show that people are indeed responsive to imbedded social cues in VR.” In addition, Kingstone and Gallup found that the sites in which VR research is done influence the data collected: “The fact that the mere presence of another person in real-life [in the physical room where people are wearing V

Sit-Stand Desks: Research Review (03-15-19)

Chambers, Robertson, and Baker reviewed published studies of the various effects of using sit-stand desks (SSDs).  They integrated research findings related to “behavior (e.g. time sitting and standing), physiological, work performance, psychological, discomfort, and posture. . . . We conclude that SSDs effectively change behaviors, but these changes only mildly effect health outcomes. SSDs seem most effective for discomfort and least for productivity.  . . .


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