place science

Benefits of Nature-Based Experiences (03-27-20)

Weir reports on the findings of numerous studies that have established the psychological value of nature-based experiences.  The material related to experiencing nature while indoors have the widest applicability. Weir states, for example, that “Berman and colleagues found that study participants who listened to nature sounds like crickets chirping and waves crashing performed better on demanding cognitive tests than those who listed to other sounds like traffic and the clatter of a busy café. . . . .

Green Consumption and Prestige (03-26-20)

Kohlova and Urban identified a link between green consumption and perceived social status. As they report, they “examine[d] whether a green profile of consumption affects the social status of consumers. . . . results corroborate the expected positive effect of a green profile of consumption on the social status of consumers [more green consumption, higher perceived social status]. . . . our results imply that the explicit monetary cost of green consumption is not a decisive factor conditioning the effect of green consumption on social status. . .

Working Underground (03-25-20)

Dunleavy and colleagues have determined that humans find working underground a more positive experience than might have been anticipated.  Surveying people living in Singapore who worked either above or below ground the team investigated “the prevalence of psychological distress . . . over time in aboveground and underground workspaces. . . .  workers in similar aboveground and underground workspaces were followed-up in three assessments over 12 months. . . .  Perceived IEQ (air quality, temperature, noise, light) in the workplace were collected. . .

Dynamic Retail Lighting (03-24-20)

Laski and colleagues wanted to know more about how dynamic retail lighting could influence shopping behavior.  Via eye movement tracking, they studied the implications over time of light intensity staying constant while the color rendering properties of that light changed: “The objective is for these changes to be subtle enough to not be consciously noticed by retail shoppers. . . . use of strategically modulated lighting conditions can, on average, increase shoppers' spatial range of browsing. . . .male subjects exhibited . . .

Defining Realities (03-23-20)

Flavian and colleagues define the terms used for the “realities” that are now technically possible. As they report ”The Real Environment is an actual setting where users interact solely with elements of the real world, whereas Virtual Environment is a completely computer-generated environment where users can interact solely with virtual objects in real-time. Between these extremes, we found technology-mediated realities where physical and virtual worlds are integrated at different levels.

Rightsizing Homes (03-20-20)

What is a sustainable size for a home?  Maurie Cohen, who reports on his work in Housing, Theory & Society,reviewed “more than 75 years of housing history and provides estimates for the optimal spatial dimensions that would align with an ‘environmentally tenable and globally equitable amount of per-person living area’ today. . . .

Nature and Life Satisfaction (03-19-20)

Chang and colleagues studied nature photos from around the world presented on social media. The team determined that “Humans may have evolved a need to connect with nature, and nature provides substantial cultural and social values to humans. . . .  We lack answers to fundamental questions: how do humans experience nature in different contexts (daily routines, fun activities, weddings, honeymoons, other celebrations, and vacations) and how do nature experiences differ across countries?

Sound and Balance (03-18-20)

Researchers have determined that what we hear influences our balance.  The investigators report in a literature review published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck that “What people hear and do not hear can have a direct effect on their balance. . . . . ‘This study found that the sounds we hear affect our balance by giving us important information about the environment. . . . ‘ said senior author Maura Cosetti, MD. . . . people had more difficulty staying balanced or standing still on an uneven surface when it was quiet, but had better balance while listening to sounds. . . .

Ramifications of Silence (03-17-20)

Pfeifer and Wittmann investigated how humans think when a space is silent.  They report that “Research on the perception of silence has led to insights regarding its positive effects on individuals. We conducted a series of studies during which individuals were exposed to several minutes of silence in different contexts. Participants were introduced to different social and environmental settings, either in a seminar room at a university or in a city garden, alone or in a group. . .

Smart Environment Design (03-16-20)

Kim and Maher studied metaphors that support the development of smart environments, i.e., spaces where technology is embedded.  They share that “[the device metaphor]represents performing tasks through users’ direct control. It encompasses providing better service, performance, and ease of control by using an interactive design as a device. . . .  A smart environment with embodied interaction is a robot in the sense that it is an intelligent machine capable of performing tasks without explicit human control.. .

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