Lopez and associates confirm previous findings indicating that visual cues have a meaningful effect on what we eat. The team asks “Imagine a bowl of soup that never emptied, no matter how many spoonfuls you ate—when and how would you know to stop eating? Satiation can play a role in regulating eating behavior, but research suggests visual cues may be just as important. In a seminal study by Wansink et al. (2005), researchers used self-refilling bowls to assess how visual cues of portion size would influence intake.
Any Designed Environment
Erica Hepper and many teammates studied the implications of feeling nostalgic; aspects of the environment can trigger nostalgia. The team reports that “Nostalgia is a social, self-relevant, and bittersweet (although mostly positive) emotion that arises when reflecting on fond past memories. . . . This study . . . examined dispositional nostalgia, self-reported triggers of nostalgia, and functions of experimentally induced nostalgia in young adults across 28 countries and a special administrative region of China (i.e., Hong Kong).
Pagnini and colleagues probed stress in an isolated, confined, extreme space—one that people can’t leave whenever they want—an Antarctic base. They report that “Long-duration missions in isolated, confined, and extreme environments, including Antarctica and upcoming deep-space operations, can be a source of increased stress. . . . crew members from two Antarctic expeditions at the Concordia base were repeatedly assessed over the course of a 12-month mission for stress (Perceived Stress Scale) and mindfulness. . . .
Yuan, Du, and Jiang studied the psychological effects of being awed; awe can be inspired by multiple factors in the physical world, including exquisite workmanship, use of exceptional materials, and large size, for example. The Yuan-lead team report that “in this research, we aimed to clarify how and when awe contributes to meaning in life. In six studies . . . We consistently found a positive indirect effect of awe on meaning in life via authentic-self pursuit . . . which arised beyond happiness and self-smallness . . . and also held for awe brought on by a threatening experience. .
Saeed, Cook, Mackie, and Hayward evaluated change blindness in virtual settings. As they report “In the real world, we often fail to notice changes in our environment. In some cases, such as not noticing a car moving into our lane, the results can be catastrophic. . . . Across two studies . . . participants engaged in an online video chat with a confederate, with two levels of visual clutter (none, a lot) and three levels of interaction (none, light conversations about weather/TV, deeper conversations about goals/greatest regrets).
Cupchik, Van Erp, Cardoso, and Hekkert evaluated factors that influence human creativity. They found that “The interaction between intuitive (practice-based) and logical (theory-based) ways of thinking about creatively solving design problems is the focus of this project. . . . industrial design students were exposed to both intuitive and logical design approaches to resolving briefs during a 1-day workshop.
Pullano and colleagues assessed how navigating through a space is influenced by emotional bonds to it. They share that “We propose that the emotional bond with a place could have a positive effect only in retrieving the visual features of navigational objects (i.e., landmarks).”
Ding, Liu, and Xu probe sensory associations to gender. They report that “the present research empirically documents the association between gender and taste. . . . Across four studies, we demonstrate that feminine and sweet are cognitively associated (Study 1), and accordingly, products launched by a feminine brand are perceived to be sweeter than those launched by a masculine brand (Study 2). Furthermore, a feminine (vs. masculine) brand leads to a higher preference for its sweet (vs. unsweet) products. . . .
Kent reviews the intriguing concept of “mental gravity.” As Kent reports “The theory of mental gravity posits that phenomenological, cognitive, and affective [emotional] states of an embodied self are structured according to the experience of physical gravity (i.e., internal gravity model). The theory draws a behavioral analogy between external (physical), internal (mental), and relational (socio-emotional) environments to argue that physical gravity serves as a mental template to express socio-emotional aspects of the self-world relationship. . . .
Biophilic design is much more than adding a few potted plants to a space and opening the blinds. Designers familiar with the neuroscience research supporting biophilic design have access to tools for developing experiences that elevate mental and physical wellbeing and performance.