sensory science

Prompting Sit – Stand Changes: Benefits (07-21-17)

Barbieri and team set out to learn more about how people use sit-stand desk options.  They “compared usage patterns of two different electronically controlled sit-stand tables during a 2-month intervention period among office workers. . . . Twelve workers were provided with standard sit-stand tables (nonautomated table group) and 12 with semiautomated sit-stand tables programmed to change table position according to a preset pattern, if the user agreed to the system-generated prompt (semiautomated table group). Table position was monitored continuously. . . .

Too Loud to Study (07-20-17)

Bratt-Eggen and her team researched sound levels in open-plan study spaces.  The investigators collected information in “five open-plan study environments at universities in the Netherlands. A questionnaire was used to investigate student tasks, perceived sound sources and their perceived disturbance, and sound measurements were performed to determine the room acoustic parameters. This study shows that 38% of the surveyed students are disturbed by background noise in an open-plan study environment.

Curvier Preferred (07-19-17)

Cotter and team’s research adds to our understanding of human beings’ preference for curved items.  They report that  “A preference for smooth curvature, as opposed to angularity, is a well-established finding for lines, two-dimensional shapes, and complex objects. . . .  We [found that] people preferred curved over angular stimuli. . . . For one stimulus set—the irregular polygons. . . . People with more knowledge about the arts . . . showed greater curvature preferences, as did people higher in openness to experience. . . .

Color Preferences (07-18-17)

Schloss and Palmer investigated why people tend to prefer particular colors.  Their findings align with common sense: “There are well-known and extensive differences in color preferences between individuals . . . there are also within-individual differences from one time to another. . . . they have the same underlying cause: people’s . . . experiences with color-associated objects and events. . . . preference for a given color is determined by the combined valence (liking/disliking) of all objects and events associated with that color.”

Cut the Dust to Cut the Fat (07-17-17)

An article published in Environmental Science and Technology reports that exposure to dust can affect how much someone weighs.  The study’s findings indicate that easy dust removal/low dust accumulation environments (as well as curtailing the use of certain chemicals) may help keep our BMIs in healthy zones.  A press release from the American Chemical Society indicates that “Poor diet and a lack of physical activity are major contributors to the world’s obesity epidemic, but researchers have also identified common environmental pollutants that could play a role.

Proximity Still Matters (07-14-17)

Researchers associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that where we work has a significant effect on who we work with, still (Claudel, Massaro, Santi, Murray, and Ratti, 2017).  The investigators report that “Academic research is increasingly cross-disciplinary and collaborative, between and within institutions. . . . We examine the collaboration patterns of faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology . . .

Photos and Experience (07-13-17)

Taking a photograph of something influences our sensory memories of it.  Barasch and her team (in press) found that “even without revisiting any photos, participants who could freely take photographs during an experience recognized more of what they saw and less of what they heard, compared with those who could not take any photographs. Further, merely taking mental photos had similar effects on memory. These results provide support for the idea that photo taking induces a shift in attention toward visual aspects and away from auditory aspects of an experience. . . .

Decluttering with Images (07-12-17)

Recent research indicates that it’s easier for people to discard “cluttering” objects after they photograph them.  Reczek, Winterich, and Irwin “found that people were more willing to give away unneeded goods that still had sentimental value if they were encouraged to take a photo of these items first. . . . ‘What people really don’t want to give up is the memories associated with the item,’ said Rebecca Reczek  . . . . ‘We found that people are more willing to give up these possessions if we offer them a way to keep the memory and the identity associated with that memory.’ . . .

Noise and Infertility (07-11-17)

Min and Min linked exposure to loud-ish noises and male infertility.  The researchers report that they “examined an association between daytime and nocturnal noise exposures over four years . . .. and subsequent male infertility.  We used the National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort (2002–2013), a population-wide health insurance claims dataset. A total of 206,492 males of reproductive age (20–59 years) with no history of congenital malformations were followed up for an 8-year period. . . . Data on noise exposure was obtained from the National Noise Information System.  . .

Phones and Thinking (07-10-17)

If they’re nearby, our phones effect how we think—in ways that complicate the development of workplaces where people work to their full potential—even if they’re turned off.  Researchers found that “Your cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when your smartphone is within reach — even if it’s off.  . . .  researchers asked study participants to sit at a computer and take a series of tests that required full concentration in order to score well. . . .

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