A new book reviews how future cities should be designed; conclusions are drawn from data collected during visits to 53 cities in 30 different countries and conversations with a variety of experts. The Ideal City’s website reports that “our vision for the cities of tomorrow is built around five guiding principles. . . . A resourceful city manages to be both ecologically and economically sustainable. . . . An accessible city is built for diversity, inclusion, and equality. . . . A shared city fosters a sense of community, collaboration, and togetherness. . .
Recent research verifies that being depressed influences how people see the world, literally. Salmela, Socada, Söderholm, Heikkilä, Lahti, Ekelund, and Isometsä “confirmed that the processing of visual information is altered in depressed people, a phenomenon most likely linked with the processing of information in the cerebral cortex.
Kiss and Linnell investigated how listening to the music that they prefer to hear as they work on a task that requires attention influences a person’s cognitive performance. The researchers share that while people “completed a variation of the Psychomotor Vigilance Task—that has long been used to measure sustained attention—in silence and with their self-selected or preferred music in the background. We collected subjective reports of attentional state (specifically mind-wandering, task-focus and external distraction states) as well as reaction time (RT) measures of performance. .
Yang and colleagues studied how the noises that people hear in highway tunnels influences their driving performance; their findings are likely relevant in other contexts. The investigators report on a driving simulation-based assessment that they conducted: “Five different sound scenarios were tested: original highway tunnel sound and a mix of it with four other sounds (slow music [72 beats per minute], fast music [96 beats per minute], voice prompt [woman’s voice], and siren, respectively).
Hian and colleagues used virtual reality to study the psychological implications of vertical (e.g., on the sides of buildings) greenery. They report that they “examined the buffering effects of vertical greenery, an increasingly popular form of urban nature in high-density cities, by using VR to simulate the experience of walking through a noisy downtown area where buildings’ exteriors were covered with vertical greenery. Our results suggest that vertical greenery on city buildings can buffer against the negative psychophysiological consequences of stress. . . .
Belanche and colleagues evaluated responses to robots providing services; their conclusions are can be applied to design robot waiters or robot concierges in workplaces, for example. The investigators report that their “study analyzes to what extent robots' perceived physical human-likeness, perceived competence, and perceived warmth affect customers' service value expectations and, subsequently, their loyalty intentions. . . . human-likeness positively affects four dimensions of service value expectations [functional, social, monetary, and emotional value].
Wichrowski and research partners investigated how nature imagery influences rehabilitation patient experiences. They share that “In settings where patients have high degrees of medical acuity and infection control is a major concern, exposure to the benefits of real nature may be precluded. . . . In these settings, the presence of nature imagery may provide benefits which positively impact patient experience. . . .
Lim and colleagues evaluated how the design of healthcare facilities influences perceptions of teamwork. They “measured teamwork perceptions of staff members and patients at four primary care clinics providing team-based care. Visual access to staff workstations from both staff and patient perspectives was analyzed using VisualPower tool (version 21). . . .the visual relationships among staff members and those between staff members and patients have significant associations with overall perceptions of teamwork.
Zhang and Park assessed behavior in underground malls. They share that “a series of exit-finding tasks in virtual malls were simulated. . . . people have a right-turn preference during exit finding.”
Shaoqing Zhang and Soobeen Park. “Study of Effective Corridor Design to Improve Wayfinding in Underground Malls.” Frontiers in Psychology, in press, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.631531
Heft, Schwimmer, and Edmunds studied the implications of using visual navigation systems, such as GPS. They report that “One group of participants drove a simulated car in VR along a designated path while relying on visual GPS guidance. It was expected that use of the GPS display would draw attention away from temporally continuous path information. A second group initially drove the same route without GPS guidance. Both groups drove the path a second time without navigational assistance.