Our physical environment influences our cravings for alcohol, cigarettes, and harmful foods. Researchers have determined that “Green views were inversely associated with craving strength and frequency. . . . Access to a garden/allotment was inversely associated with craving. . .
Sinclair and colleagues investigated the implications of listening to music. They report that “Music streaming, structured by an expanding network of social interdependencies (e.g. musicians, sound engineers, computer scientists and distributors) has made it easier to consume music in a wider number of social and private spaces and to a greater degree. . . . We argue that music is used to demarcate, transition between, and blur space.
Khan, McGeown, and Bell studied primary school learning environments in Bangladesh. They share that at “the intervention school, a barren school ground was redesigned with several behavior settings (e.g., gardens and amphitheater) for teaching and learning. Treatment group children . . . received math and science classes outdoors, while a comparison group . . . received usual indoor classes. . . . The redesigned school ground was associated with higher levels of academic attainment.
Forder and Lupyan studied perception of colors. They report that “simply hearing color words enhances categorical color perception, improving people’s accuracy in discriminating between simultaneously presented colors in an untimed task. Immediately after hearing a color word participants were better able to distinguish between colors from the named category and colors from nearby categories. Discrimination between typical and atypical category members was also enhanced. Verbal cues slightly decreased discrimination accuracy between two typical shades of the named color. . . .
A study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Bindicates that there are important similarities in emotional responses to a range of real world experiences. A press release issued by Dartmouth related to the research efforts, lead by Sievers, states that “Death metal band logos often have a spiky look while romance novel titles often have a swirly script. The jaggedness or curviness of a font can be used to express an emotional tone. . . . sounds, shapes, speech and body movements convey emotional arousal the same way across the senses.
McDougall and colleagues investigated the best sorts of sounds to use as medical alarms. They conducted “two experiments, with nonclinical participants, alarm sets which relied on similarities to environmental sounds (concrete alarms, such as a heartbeat sound to indicate ‘check cardiovascular function’) were compared to alarms using abstract tones to represent functions on medical devices. The extent to which alarms were acoustically diverse was also examined: alarm sets were either acoustically different or acoustically similar within each set. . . .
Roozen investigated how views of a store influence decisions to enter it. Her “results show that task-oriented female clothing shoppers have a higher store entry intention when the store entry is less crowded, and the window display has a creative complex composition. Recreational female clothing shoppers, on the other hand, prefer crowded complex window displays.”
What do children think is important at pediatric hospitals? Researchers from Edith Cowan University collected information from school-aged children in Australia and New Zealand during hospital stays and determined that “Feeling safe and being able to get to sleep at night are the things that matter most to sick kids in hospital. . . . The children surveyed identified their most important needs as:
1 ‘To know I am safe and will be looked after.’
2 ‘To get enough sleep at night.’
Benita, Bansal, and Tuncer set out to learn more about the emotions people feel in public spaces. They specifically probed momentary subjective wellbeing (M-SWB). During the data collection process, students (age 7 to 18) “wore a sensor for one week, and happy moments were captured as well as geospatial and environmental data throughout the country. This is a large-scale in-the-wild user study. The findings provide weak empirical evidence that visiting parks and community centers increase the probability of experiencing M-SWB compared with commercial areas. . . .
Dunaway and Soroka probed how the size of the screen on which news is viewed influences how it is processed mentally. They investigated “how mobile technology constrains cognitive engagement through a lab-experimental study of individuals’ psychophysiological responses to network news on screens the size of a typical laptop computer, versus a typical smartphone. We explore heart rate variability, skin conductance levels, and the connection between skin conductance and the tone of news content.