Any Designed Environment

Human Minds Fascinating – More Evidence (04-20-18)

A research team lead by Barilari confirms that humans process sensory information in intriguing ways.  They report that “Across cultures and languages, people find similarities between the products of different senses in mysterious ways.  By studying what is called cross-modal correspondences, cognitive psychologists discovered that lemons are fast rather than slow, boulders are sour, and red is heavier than yellow.  Are these cross-modal correspondences established via sensory perception or can they be learned merely through language?  We [demonstrate] that early blind people [blind before

Elevation Above Street Level and Risk-Taking (04-18-18)

Esteky and colleagues linked what floor we’re on in a building and our response to financial risks – being even a few stories higher or lower in a building produces a noticeable effect on how humans think.  The researchers determined that  “high physical elevation increases risk-seeking tendencies.”  The effect is stronger when elevation is something people are aware of because they look out of a window.  The investigators also report that “In an unpublished study, we found that consumers at higher (vs. lower) elevations are more likely to consume juice from an unfamiliar (vs.

Branding and Design (04-17-18)

Bajaj and Bond investigated links between design elements and brand-related opinions. They share that “asymmetry in brand elements evokes arousal [excitement] in observers, which spills over to impressions of the brand itself. . . . symmetry was negatively associated with perceptions of brand excitement. . . . Among the . . .  academic research . . .  a common finding has been the broad benefits of symmetry for perceptions of beauty, perfection, etc. . . .

Labels and Evaluations (04-16-18)

Work by Anglada-Tort and his colleagues confirms that labels influence our opinions of various sorts of art.  As the Anglada-Tort team reports, previous research has “shown that titles influence peoples’ evaluation of visual art.”  The Anglada-Tort lead team “investigated whether names presented with music pieces influenced aesthetic and value judgments of music. Experiment 1 . . . focused on linguistic fluency. The same music excerpts were presented with easy-to-pronounce (fluent) and difficult-to-pronounce (disfluent) names. Experiment 2 . . . studied the affect heuristic.

Preferences for Symmetry – Expertise and Assessments (04-13-18)

Weichselbaum, Leder, and Ansorge researched humans’ responses to symmetry.  They share that  “In perception, humans typically prefer symmetrical over asymmetrical patterns. . . .  we tested the generality of the symmetry preference for different levels of individual art expertise. The preference for symmetrical versus asymmetrical abstract patterns was measured implicitly [indirectly], by an Implicit Association Test (IAT), and explicitly [directly], by a rating scale asking participants to evaluate pattern beauty. . . .

Earth Friendly Labels - Implications (04-12-18)

Haga studied the repercussions of labeling a lamp “environmentally friendly.”  He reports that “Built environments with objects that are labeled ‘environmentally friendly’ appear to change people’s behavior. For example, one study has shown that labeling a desktop lamp ‘environmentally friendly’ can enhance color discrimination, in comparison with when the lamp is labeled ‘conventional,’ even though there is no physical difference between the two lamps. This article explored . . .

Taxes and Flags (04-11-18)

Chan’s work is particularly timely as the deadline for paying income taxes in the United States draws near (April 17 this year).  Chan found that  “exposure to American, Australian, and British flags reduced Americans’, Australians’, and Britons’ tax evasion in financially‐incentivized tasks . . . and increased tax‐paying attitudes. . . . . [seeing the flags] made salient participants’ national identities that then motivated them to help their country.”  Chan’s work is consistent with a growing body of research related to the repercussions of seeing visual cues.

More on Environmental Control (04-09-18)

Research by Wu and team confirms the value of giving people reasonable amounts of control over their physical environments.  The researchers studied people boarding an aircraft during the winter.  They learned that “In practice, passengers actively respond to the thermal environment when they board an aircraft in winter. . . In this study. . . . temperature levels had significant effect on [air-movement/temperature adjusting] nozzle usage and clothing adjustment behaviours. . . .

Smart Phone Presence a Problem (04-06-18)

New research confirms how disruptive nearby smart phones are, even when they’re not ringing, buzzing, vibrating, or otherwise alerting us to some sort of activity.  Data collected by Ward and colleagues indicate “that even when people are successful at maintaining sustained attention—as when avoiding the temptation to check their phones—the mere presence of these devices reduces available cognitive capacity. . . . our data suggest at least one simple solution: separation. . . .  We therefore suggest that defined and protected periods of separation . . .

The Power of Metaphors (04-04-18)

Wang, Lu, Runco, and Hao’s work confirms the design-related power of metaphors—a topic that’s often discussed in Research Design Connections articles.  The Wang lead study “investigated whether the experience of “breaking the walls”, the embodiment of the metaphor “breaking the rules”, could enhance creative performance. . . . virtual reality technology was used to simulate the scenario where participants could “break the walls” while walking in a corridor. Participants were asked to solve the creativity-demanding problems. . . .  Results showed higher . . . originality . . .


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