Any Designed Environment

Music Preferences and Personality (06-15-18)

Nave, Minxha, Kosinski, Greenberg, Rentfrow, and Stillwell conducted research linking opinions about particular types of music and personality—it’s interesting to consider potential applications of their findings beyond music.  The investigators found that “high-openness people . . . liked mostly sophisticated music. We define this as music that is inspiring, complex and dynamic. It comprises mostly classical, operatic, world and jazz pieces. The high-openness people, on the other hand, disliked . . .

Overheard Conversations (06-14-18)

People developing or using sound masking systems will be intrigued by Marsh and team’s research related to overheard conversations.  The Marsh-lead group determined that “Overhearing a telephone conversation—whereby only one of the two speakers is heard—is subjectively more annoying and objectively more distracting than overhearing a full conversation.

More Research on Symmetry (06-13-18)

Leder and team’s research provides nuanced insights into human beings’ responses to symmetry. The investigators learned that when they had people with an expertise related to art (artists and art historians) and people without a background in art view mandala-like designs that were symmetrical or not, and simple or complex that  “non-art experts evaluated the symmetrical–complex stimuli as most beautiful, followed in descending order by symmetrical–simple, asymmetrical–complex, and asymmetrical–simple stimuli.

Gut Feeling and Directions (06-11-18)

A research team lead by Suarez has found that there’s a physiological reason for that gut feeling you have about where to find more of some food you’ve enjoyed eating (in other words, where to find that bakery that sells your favorite cupcakes). Experiments with rats have shown that information transmitted from our GI (gastrointestinal) track to our brains via the vagus nerve is responsible for our powerful food location-related memories.  Designers familiar with this link may find knowing about it useful when they’re interpreting design research data, for example.

Circadian Lighting Insights (06-07-18)

Robert Soler’s presentation at Lightfair in Chicago (May 9) reviewed important findings from peer-reviewed research on circadian lighting.  The slides he used during his session are a useful reference and are available via the web address noted below. A particularly interesting section of Soler’s presentation related to the spatial distribution of light in a space.  As the notes available with Soler’s slides indicate, with interior circadian lighting, “During the Day time, light up your ‘sky’ . . . During the Night time, darken your “sky” and light your ‘fire’. .

More Reasons Art Matters (06-05-18)

Kim and Kim learned more about how viewing art influences how we think.  They found that  “artistic cues lead participants to consider more abstract features than concrete features. . . . The activated abstract mindset trigged by artistic cues can provoke prosocial choice.” Prosocial thinking is focused on the welfare of other people.  More information on Kim and Kim’s findings:  “exposure to artistic (vs. nonartistic) cues, promotes an abstract (vs. concrete) mindset. . . .

Photos and Memories (06-01-18)

Soares and Storm investigated how taking a photo influences remembering what’s shown in that photograph. The researchers report that earlier studies have shown “A photo-taking-impairment effect . . . such that participants are less likely to remember objects they photograph than objects they only observe.” In their study, Soares and Storm determined that ”participants exhibited a significant photo-taking-impairment effect even though they did not expect to have access to the photos.


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