sensory science

Warm Backgrounds, Warm Assessments (08-04-17)

Choi, Chang, Lee, and Chang investigated how color can influence assessments.  They found via “experiments and field surveys in the USA and South Korea. . . .  that an anonymous person against a warm color background (vs. neutral and cold color background) is perceived to be one with warmer personality.”  Also, “nurses’ perception of warmth from a hospital’s ambient color affects their favorable judgment of the hospital and intention to take on an extra role.”

Typefaces and Taste (08-03-17)

Typefaces bring different sorts of tastes to mind.  Velasco and his team have found via a study with words written in 3 languages (Spanish, English, and Chinese) and conducted with participants from 3 countries (Columbia, the United Kingdom, and China) that  “People associate tastes and taste words (e.g., “bitter,” “sweet,” etc.) with shape features in predictable ways. . . . rounder typefaces were reliably associated with the word sweet, whereas more angular typefaces were associated with the other tastes in all 3 languages and countries. . . .

Trees and Comfort (08-02-17)

Urban trees have an important effect on how weather is experienced.  Researchers from the University of British Columbia have found that “Even a single urban tree can help moderate wind speeds and keep pedestrians comfortable as they walk down the street, according to a new . . . study that also found losing a single tree can increase wind pressure on nearby buildings and drive up heating costs. . . . ‘We found that removing all trees can increase wind speed by a factor of two, which would make a noticeable difference to someone walking down the street.

Crowd Control (08-01-17)

Sieben and her team studied crowd management.  Their work verifies the value of installing stanchions connected by ropes (or something similar; called the “corridor setup” by researchers) to funnel crowds through a space.  As the Sieben group details, “an experiment in which a large group of people . . . enters a concert hall through two different spatial barrier structures is analyzed. These two structures correspond to everyday situations such as boarding trains and access to immigration desks.  . . .

Brighter Art Preferred in Healthcare Facilities (07-31-17)

Nielsen and Mullins collected information from hospitalized patients about their preferences for art in healthcare facilities.  The team found that “the presence of coloured visual art in hospitals contributes to health outcomes by improving patients’ wellbeing and satisfaction. . . . . Overall, patients preferred art in brighter colours. . . .  patients experienced more positive memories and emotions if they perceived the colours of the art as brighter. . . .

Healthcare Employees: Visibility and Performance (07-28-17)

Two studies presented at the 2017 meeting of the Environmental Design Research Association link more visual contact between health care workers and enhanced employee performance.  Gharaveis and his team found that “with high visibility in emergency departments, teamwork and collaborative communication will be improved, while the frequency of security issues will be reduced. . . .

Walking to Work and Mental Performance (07-27-17)

Hadavi linked how people commute to work and their performance once they get to the office.  She found that “the average level of attentional functioning among those who walk to work or school is significantly higher than that of those who drive or use public transportation (bus or train).”  Hadavi’s research has implications for office site selection decisions, for example.

Urban Green Spaces and Public Health (07-26-17)

Newly published research supports studies of relationships between urban green spaces and public health.  Van den Bosch and colleagues report that “We defined the indicator of green space accessibility as a proportion of an urban population living within a certain distance from a green space boundary. We developed a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based method and tested it in three case studies in Malmö, Sweden; Kaunas, Lithuania; and Utrecht, The Netherlands. . . .

Cooler is Heavier (07-25-17)

Recent research confirms that colder objects seem heavier than ones at a neutral temperature.  Dunn and his team share that “It has long been known that a . . . cooled stimulus is perceived as heavier than the same object at a neutral temperature—termed Weber's Phenomenon (WP). In the current study, we re-examined this phenomenon. . . .  In normal condition, when the same forces were applied [when items weighed the same amount], all subjects displayed a clear preference for the cooled tactile stimulus as being heavier than the tactile-only stimulus. . . .

Older Eyes and Light Intensity: Preferences (07-24-17)

Cheng, Ju, Sun, and Lin investigated what LED light levels are preferred by older viewers.  They report on their research with people 55 – 65 years old: “In this study, experiments were conducted under LED lighting with . . . three different illuminance levels (30lux; 100lux; 1000lux). . . .  they [study participants] prefer higher illuminance, which makes them find the lighting environment more comfortable, brighter, and better for reading.”


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