place science

Room Acoustics (09-15-21)

Researchers continue to investigate the psychological implications of acoustic experiences.  A team lead by Sierra-Polanco reports that “Three independent room acoustic parameters were considered: gain (alteration of the sidetone or playback of one’s own voice), reverberation time, and background noise. An increase in the sidetone led to a decrease in vocal sound pressure levels, thus increasing vocal comfort and vocal control. This effect was consistent in the different reverberation times considered.

More on Walkability (09-14-21)

Baobeid and teammates built on earlier research to investigate what makes an area walkable. They share that “This review advocates that long-term health benefits from walking and physical activity are the premier incentive to repurpose our cities to be more sustainable and more walking friendly, and spark behavioral change into reducing car dependency for all daily transportations. . . .

“Natural” Scenes (09-13-21)

Menser and colleagues investigated what makes an image seem like it shows a nature scene.  They determined that “canopies [vegetation over eight feet tall], bodies of water, and mountains were found to be highly representative of nature, whereas unnatural elements [objects and man-made structures, such as boats and walkways, respectively] and close-range views [a view focused on a singular object or small area (e.g., flowers, plants, etc.)] were inversely related.

Landscape Preferences (09-10-21)

Li, Zhai, Dou, and Liu studied how landscape preferences vary from situation to situation.  They determined that “college students in varied moods all prefer natural landscapes and open view landscapes, a result that is consistent with previous research. . . . there are significant differences in the degree of naturalness of the preferred landscape among college students with different moods. . . .  instead of a natural landscape, most respondents in a fatigued mood preferred a nature-dominated landscape with a small amount of built environment. . . .

Workplace Adjacencies (09-09-21)

Zhou, Tagliaro, and Hua studied adjacency planning.  They share that “In large organizations, space planning relies on workgroup leaders to indicate spatial adjacency preferences. . . .The authors studied a large company’s spatial adjacency planning with an in-depth analysis of its formal organizational structure and collaboration network. A sample of 183 managers was surveyed regarding groups with whom they want to be spatially adjacent and groups with whom they mostly interact.

Sound and Remote Work (09-08-21)

Puglisi and colleagues studied the experiences of people working remotely and it seems likely that their findings can be applied more generally.  The researchers report that data they collected via surveys completed by remote workers “show that 55% of the workers perform their activity in an isolated room of the home environment, 43% in a shared room (e.g., kitchen, living room), and 2% in an outdoor space, with the majority of workers (57%) performing activity without other people in the environment. . . .

Personal Spaces and Masks (09-07-21)

Lee and Chen’s work indicates that face masks may influence distances people keep from each other.  Lee and Chen report that via data collected through an online survey they found that “A smaller IPS [interpersonal space] was observed when participants faced confederates wearing surgical masks than in the no-mask condition. Female dyads tended to maintain a smaller IPS than did both male and mixed-sex dyads, and Taiwanese participants maintained a significantly larger IPS than did Mainland Chinese participants. . . .

Blind People and Color (09-03-21)

Kim and colleagues investigated how people who are blind think about color.  They determined that “congenitally blind and sighted individuals share in-depth understanding of object color. Blind and sighted people share similar intuitions about which objects will have consistent colors, make similar predictions for novel objects, and give similar explanations. Living among people who talk about color is sufficient for color understanding, highlighting the efficiency of linguistic communication as a source of knowledge.. . .

Round Food (09-02-21)

Zhou, Chen, and Liconducted intriguing shape-related research; studies replicating their findings in other than the tested contexts will be useful. The researchers report that “Despite being a fundamental food feature, the effect of food shapes has been underexplored. This study demonstrates that giving hedonic [pleasure-related] foods a round shape increases their desirability, choice probability, and consumption. However, this effect does not apply to utilitarian foods.

Recycling, Implications (09-01-21)

Recycling stations are designed into many spaces, both public and private.  Van Doorn and Kurz have identified interesting repercussions of recycling; designers who are aware of their findings may devise ways to counter the effects noted.  Van Doorn and Kurz found that “when presented with [recycling] options people may come to psychologically frame their waste creation as a contribution to the collective good that makes them feel good about themselves. . . .

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