Any Designed Environment

Stress and Amounts of Urban Green (01-16-19)

Rawal studied how much greenery is necessary to support recovery from stressful situations.  He reports that “Psychological stress was first induced in the participants using Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and then they were randomly assigned to experience one of four, 360-degrees panoramic images of an urban park using Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE). Three groups viewed images of urban parks with density of vegetation varying from 3% to 70%, while the control group viewed an image with no nature elements. .  . .

Evaluations of Art (01-15-19)

Gruner and colleagues add to our understanding of location-related factors that influence the evaluations of artworks.  They determined that “artworks presented in a museum were liked more and rated more interesting than in the laboratory.”

Susanne Gruner, Eva Specker, and Helmut Leder.  “Effects of Context and Genuineness in the Experience of Art.”  Empirical Studies of the Arts,in press,

Nonverbal Messages (01-11-19)

Research recently completed by Rucker and Cannon indicates the importance of nonverbal communication. The Rucker/Cannon team’s findings are likely relevant in many contexts beyond the ones specifically tested.  According to a study-related article in KelloggInsight, “Over several decades, researchers have observed a Range Rover-sized pile of benefits from conspicuously consuming luxury goods.  High-status brands, these papers found, might help you get a date, obtain a job, secure a charitable donation, and receive more money in a negotiation. . .

Smart Buildings, Users, and Communication (01-10-19)

How smart buildings should communicate with their users was investigated by Khashe, Gratch, Gratch, and Becerik-Gerber.  They determined that “people connect better with a computer-generated avatar that represents building management. . . . social banter between machine and people gets better results.  The findings underscore how personal connections and social interactions key to human relations also foster cooperation between people and machines. . . . subjects were exposed to an office setting using virtual reality, followed by a real office setting for a smaller group of participants.

Gender and Experience (01-08-19)

Research recently published in Current Biologyindicates that men and women respond to places associated with chronic pain differently.  These findings may be applicable to other life experiences. Mogil and Martin report that  “Scientists increasingly believe that one of the driving forces in chronic pain—the number one health problem in both prevalence and burden—appears to be the memory of earlier pain. . . .  there may be variations, based on sex, in the way that pain is remembered in . . . humans.  The research team . . . found that men . . .

More on the Consequences of Awe (01-07-19)

Design can inspire awe, via size or skill in execution/workmanship, for example.  New research by Rudd and her team builds on previous studies detailing the benefits of feeling awed: “this research explores how the emotion of awe might motivate a consumer to partake . . . in experiential creation (i.e., activities in which they actively produce an outcome) by enhancing their willingness to learn. Across eight experiments, experiencing awe . . . increases people’s likelihood of choosing an experiential creation gift (vs.

Advantages of Green Exercise (01-03-19)

There are clear advantages to exercising in green environments.  Wooller and colleagues determined that when “Fifty participants were randomly assigned to one of five groups: REST [sitting quietly on a cycle ergometer in front of a gray screen], exercise, exercise with nature sounds, exercise withnature visual and exercise with nature sound and visual. . . . Results showed that green exercise improved mood and stress scores more than exercise alone or REST.


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