Sathian and Lacey probed relationships between sensory experiences. They determined that “The sensory systems responsible for touch, vision, and hearing have traditionally been regarded as mostly separate. Contrary to this dogma, recent work has shown that interactions between the senses are robust and abundant. Touch and vision are both commonly used to obtain information about a number of object properties, and they share perceptual and neural representations in many domains. . . .
Research by Goldy, Jones, and Piff confirms the value of being awed; humans can be awed by a variety of conditions, including exquisite workmanship. The investigators determined that “Relative to individuals residing outside the [2017 solar] eclipse’s path, individuals inside it exhibited more awe and expressed less self-focused and more prosocial [beneficial to others], affiliative, humble, and collective language. . . .
Gellisch and teammates probed the implications of attending classes face-to-face or remotely; their findings are likely applicable in other situations, such as workplace contexts. The investigators report that “To examine the implications of the transition from face-to-face to online learning from a psychobiological perspective, this study investigated potential differences in physiological stress parameters of students engaged in online or face-to-face learning. . . . medical students . . .
Garrido-Cumbrera and colleagues’ work confirms the value of nature views. The researchers determined via data collected during the pandemic’s first wave in Spain, Ireland, and England that “having poorer quality of views from home led to poor well-being among participants. Our study highlights the importance of continued physical activity and views of nature to improve the well-being of individuals during times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
New research confirms the value of listening to natural soundscapes. In a recent study “EEG and Heart Rate data were recorded from 10 participants within an [real-world] office in London. Each participant listened to a Moodsonic Soundscape (lapping lake waves) . . . and typical office sounds while they performed a series of tasks; Stroop Test (cognition), Alternative Uses Test (creativity). . . . Comparative measures were taken from the typical office sounds and Moodsonic soundscape conditions to compare states of relaxation, engagement, creativity and speed of correct completion.
Research by Mueller and colleagues confirms the challenges of managing noise in open-plan offices. They share that “Office workers lately use active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones to improve the acoustic situation by blocking unwanted sound. . . . Two studies were conducted to examine if ANC headphones improve cognitive performance and the subjective well-being of employees in an open-plan office. . . .
New research confirms the value of circadian and natural lighting. Teruel and colleagues determined that “Disruption of the circadian clocks that keep the body and its cells entrained to the 24-hour day-night cycle plays a critical role in weight gain. . . factors that throw the body’s ‘clocks’ out of rhythm may contribute to weight gain.”
Jiang and Sidikides identify another positive ramification of feeling awed; design can induce awe in a variety of ways, including via material use and exceptional workmanship. The research duo report that “the emotion of awe . . . awakens self-transcendence (i.e., reaching beyond one’s self-boundary), which in turn invigorates pursuit of the authentic self (i.e., alignment with one’s true self). . . . awe-induced authentic-self pursuit was linked with higher general prosociality [acts that benefit others], but lower inauthentic prosociality.”
Gjerde and Vale asked people walking along an urban street about their visual preferences. They report that “The appearance of the built environment is an important matter for most people, as it can affect their physical, financial and psychological wellbeing. . . . People were invited to indicate their preferences while walking along three streets in New Zealand cities. The survey responses were supplemented by two focus group discussions. . . .
Das and Gailey’s work confirms the value of exercising in green environments via data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research duo report that “Previous cross-sectional literature reports protective effects of outdoor exposure on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. We longitudinally assess whether green exercise corresponded with a decline in adverse mental health symptoms, controlling for state lockdown policies. . . . we specificized participation in an outdoor walk, jog, or hike (green exercise). . . .