Newman and colleagues investigated how virtual reality realism influences potentially restorative VR experiences. They determined that “High realism VR environments provided a greater sense of presence and restoration. Realism is important, particularly for environmental restoration research. . . . Two studies were conducted to examine how realism of environmental presentations impact affective responses and participant perceptions. . . . . Study One showed that experiences of VR presentations fell between real and video presentations.
Estes and Streicher’s work makes it clear that retail design and planning should support use of certain sorts of shopping carts. The research duo reports that “Prior research on ergonomics indicates that standard shopping carts, which are pushed via a horizontal handlebar, are likely to activate arm extensor muscles. Prior research on arm muscle activation, in turn, suggests that arm extensor activation may elicit less purchasing than arm flexor activation. . . .
Sunder shares thought-provoking insights that will be valuable to any one designing patient rooms, particularly semi-private ones. As sales materials on the book’s Amazon site report, “The patient room is the smallest cell of the hospital organism. Its layout determines the structure of the ward and is therefore a decisive factor for the entire building. Many requirements have to be met. The patient's sense of well-being can be positively influenced by the design: homely materials, an attractive view and sufficient privacy are important objectives.
Faraji-Rad and Lee’s study helps explain some choices of objects and environments. They determined that “Merely anticipating a future sad event motivates consumers to ‘accumulate happiness’ in order to enhance their ability to cope with the anticipated sadness later—a phenomenon that we call banking happiness. To bank happiness, consumers not only choose positive stimuli over non-positive stimuli when given the choice. . . Consumers bank happiness because of the lay theory that happiness is a resource that can be accumulated (i.e., banked) and consumed later. . .
Goldring and Bolger investigated the implications of experiencing daily stressors, which can arise from conditions in physical environments. They report that “Prior research shows that daily stressors lead to greater psychological distress. A separate body of research links daily stressors to physical symptoms such as backaches and stomach problems. We integrate these literatures by positing an interconnected causal system, whereby stressors lead to psychological distress which, in turn, leads to physical symptoms.
Binter and colleagues studied links between urban design and child development. They report that they “investigated the association between early-life urban environment and cognitive and motor function in children. We used data from 5403 mother–child pairs from four population-based birth-cohorts (UK, France, Spain, and Greece). . . . Higher greenness exposure within 300 m during pregnancy was associated with higher verbal abilities. . . . Higher connectivity density within 100 m and land use diversity during pregnancy were related to lower verbal abilities.
Yang and colleagues investigated the remote work experiences of Microsoft employees. They report that “The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a rapid shift to full-time remote work for many information workers. Viewing this shift as a natural experiment in which some workers were already working remotely before the pandemic enables us to separate the effects of firm-wide remote work from other pandemic-related confounding factors.
Boland and colleagues studied conversations during Zoom meetings. They learned that “Small, variable transmission delays over Zoom disrupt the typical rhythm of conversation, leading to delays in turn initiation. This study compared local and remote (Zoom) turn transition times. . . . We consider the possibility that electronic transmission delays disrupt neural oscillators that normally synchronize on syllable rate, at around, 150–300 ms per cycle . . . and enable interlocutors to effortlessly and precisely time the initiation of their turns.”
Researchers have investigated why we get lost in places that are similar to other areas we’re familiar with. Zheng lead a team that found that “the brain may treat similar environments as if they are even more different than a pair of environments that have nothing in common. The concept is known to brain scientists as ‘repulsion.’ . . . Ekstrom points to a visit to a restaurant. There are many aspects about dining out that will always be the same – being seated, ordering food and waiting for the meal.
Ayton and colleagues studied how links to a notable individual influence property values. They report that “In many places commemorative plaques are erected on buildings to serve as historical markers of notable men and women who lived in them – London has a Blue Plaque scheme for this purpose. We investigated the influence of commemorative Blue Plaques on the selling prices of London real estate. We identified properties which sold both before and after a Blue Plaque was installed indexing prices relative to the median prevailing sales prices of properties sold in the same neighborhood.