sensory science

Nature and Mental Refreshment (11-08-19)

Crossan and Salmoni’s work confirms previous studies which have determined that nature experiences are mentally refreshing.  The research team reports that “Attention restoration theory (ART) predicts that top-down processing during everyday activities can cause attentional fatigue and that bottom-up processing that occurs when people experience nature will be restorative. This study exposed participants to three different conditions . . .

Plants and Air Quality (11-07-10)

A press release from Drexel indicates that plants may not be as effective at cleaning indoor air as thought.   This finding does not relate to plants’ ability to support cognitive refreshment, professional performance, and creativity, for example, as reported previously by Research Design Connections.  The Drexel team (Waring and Cummings) found that “Plants can help spruce up a home or office space, but claims about their ability to improve the air quality are vastly overstated. . . .

Classroom Air Quality and Temperature (11-06-19)

Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, indicates that the temperature and air quality in K-12 classrooms may be degrading students’ ability to learn.  A press release from Davis, reporting on a study from UC Davis and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) published in Building and Environment,states that “Roughly 85 percent of recently installed HVAC systems in K-12 classrooms investigated in California did not provide adequate ventilation. . . . researchers visited 104 classrooms . . .

Local and Global Landmarks (11-04-19)

Crede and team evaluated how effective different sorts of landmarks are at helping people find their way through a space.  They define global landmarks as visible throughout a trip while local landmarks can be seen at specific points and not continuously.  Local landmarks are “sequentially visible” while global landmarks are “simultaneously visible.”  The investigators lreport that “our results have direct practical implications for the design of future digital navigation assistance systems that would support survey knowledge acquisition even while a navigator is multi-tasking. . .

Creativity, Practicality, Alone, and Together (11-01-19)

A Glaveanu-lead team has studied the implications of working with others or alone on creative and practical thinking.  Their findings have implications for the sorts of spaces (individual/for use by two people/etc.) provided in a variety of settings, for example, and also for managing the design process, for instance.  The researchers report that “the aim of this article is to examine the creative process in the case of individuals and dyads in relation to the originality and practicality of their ideas. . . .

Spooky Spaces (10-31-19)

Gray and team have linked the perceived presence of different sorts of spirits to particular sorts of spaces—which provides interesting insights into how certain locations are thought about.  The researchers determined that “Evil spirits are perceived to haunt houses and dense forests, whereas good spirits are perceived in expansive locations such as mountaintops.”

Academic Meetings (10-30-19)

Weijs-Perree lead a team that investigated how university employees and students use spaces for face-to-face interactions.  They determined via data collected at a building at a Dutch university that “students more often interacted in meeting rooms than teaching staff, and support staff interacted less in eat/drink areas and the hallways than other users. . . . it is important that sufficient meeting rooms and concentration rooms for students are designed, as this user group uses these spaces more often compared to employees, who have more interactions at their workplace.

“Graspability” Key (10-29-19)

Maille and colleagues probed product “graspability.”  The team reports that “People like graspable objects more when the objects are located on the dominant-hand side of their body or when the handles point toward their dominant-hand side. However, many products do not have handles or are not graspable (e.g., services, objects hanging on the wall). Can nongraspable products nevertheless benefit from the effects of appealing to viewers’ dominant hands?

Experiencing Music (10-28-19)

Greer and team studied how music influences humans emotionally.  They report that “Musical features related to dynamics [loudness], register, rhythm, and harmony were found to be particularly helpful in predicting these human [emotional] reactions.”  In other words, particular aspects of music influence how we think and behave in certain ways.

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