Any Designed Environment

Letter Case Effects (04-08-21)

Yu and colleagues probed the implications of names appearing in UPPERCASE or lowercase letters; their findings are useful to people developing signage, etc.  The Yu-lead team determined via eight experiments that “consumers perceive brands that use all uppercase letters (‘uppercase brands’) as more premium than those that use all lowercase letters (‘lowercase brands’). . . .  The effect is reversed for consumers who prefer subtle signals (‘inconspicuous consumers’) because these consumers are likely to perceive a conspicuous uppercase brand as gaudy. . .

Depression and Nature Views (04-07-21)

Evidence continues to grow indicating that people who are depressed have different visual experiences than those who are not. Meuwese found that when “After viewing a stressful video, participants were randomly allocated to one of two conditions, in which they watched a video of a walk in either (1) natural, or (2) built surroundings. . . . In both experiments, participants with more (rather than less) depressive symptoms displayed more stress reduction after viewing nature rather than built settings. . . . People with more depressive symptoms benefited more from viewing nature. . .

Types of Sitting and Wellbeing (04-06-21)

Sui and colleagues have determined that different sorts of seated experiences influence our psychological wellbeing in varying ways, with, in general greater levels of sedentary behavior linked to lower wellbeing.  The team reports that via a literature review they found that “most studies demonstrated a weak, detrimental association between indices of SB [sedentary behavior] and outcomes of hedonic well-being . . . device-based SB was either weakly and negatively related or unrelated to hedonic well-being outcomes. . . .

Virtual Reality Scents (04-05-21)

Sabiniewicz directed a research team that found that adding scents to virtual reality experiences may affect how pleasant they seem.  The group determined via a project during which “participants were divided into three groups, including two experimental virtual reality (VR) environments [still scenes]: a rose garden, an orange basket, and a control condition. In each VR condition, participants were exposed to a rose odor, an orange odor, or no odor. . . Virtual scenarios tended to be remembered as more pleasant when presented with congruent odors [i.e., rose odor with the rose garden]. .


Designed and natural objects and spaces can awe humans.  How?  What is awesome?  And why does awe matter?  Applying neuroscience to answer these questions enriches design practice.


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