Any Designed Environment

Ventilating Rooms (11-18-19)

Wind can effectively support ventilating room and regulating their temperature; gentle movement is an important aspect of biophilic design.  Researchers determined that “wind can increase ventilation rates by as much as 40% above that which is driven by a temperature difference between a room and the outdoors. . . . researchers found that the rate of ventilation depends less on temperature and more on wind. Anyone who has tried to cool down on a hot night by opening the window will no doubt be familiar with how ineffective this is when there is no wind.

Order and Complexity and Preference (11-15-19)

Van Geert and Wagemans researched how image order and complexity are related to preference for images. They “explored which factors might contribute to aesthetic preferences for . . . images of a set of objects, or parts of objects, organized in a neatly or tidy way. . . Images high in order and high in complexity were perceived as more fascinating, whereas images high in order but low in complexity were perceived as more soothing. . . . In general, images of neatly organized compositions were perceived as pleasant to look at. . . .

White Noise Boosts Hearing (11-14-19)

Christensen, Lindén, Nakamura, and Barkat determined that white noise can improve ability to hear other sounds and their work is published in Cell Reports.  The investigators found via studies with mice that “With a background of continuous white noise, hearing pure sounds becomes even more precise. . . .the more precisely we can distinguish sound patterns, the better our hearing is. But how does the brain manage to distinguish between relevant and less relevant information – especially in an environment with background noise? . . .

Instrumental Music Can Reduce Stress (11-13-19)

Research indicates that listening to instrumental music can relieve cardiac stress.  A press release reporting research by Alves, Garner, do Amaral, Oliveira and Valenti states “Stress while driving is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac complications such as heart attack (myocardial infarction), according to studies published in recent years. . . .

Real and Virtual Nature Experiences (11-12-19)

Laurent and colleagues confirm the value of spending time in both “real” and “virtual” nature.  The team report that they  “conduct[ed] an experiment with healthy undergraduate students that tests the effects of six minutes of outdoor nature exposure with six minutes of exposure to a 360-degree VR [virtual reality] nature video, which is recorded at the outdoor nature exposure location. . . .

Nature and Mental Refreshment (11-08-19)

Crossan and Salmoni’s work confirms previous studies which have determined that nature experiences are mentally refreshing.  The research team reports that “Attention restoration theory (ART) predicts that top-down processing during everyday activities can cause attentional fatigue and that bottom-up processing that occurs when people experience nature will be restorative. This study exposed participants to three different conditions . . .

Plants and Air Quality (11-07-10)

A press release from Drexel indicates that plants may not be as effective at cleaning indoor air as thought.   This finding does not relate to plants’ ability to support cognitive refreshment, professional performance, and creativity, for example, as reported previously by Research Design Connections.  The Drexel team (Waring and Cummings) found that “Plants can help spruce up a home or office space, but claims about their ability to improve the air quality are vastly overstated. . . .

Local and Global Landmarks (11-04-19)

Crede and team evaluated how effective different sorts of landmarks are at helping people find their way through a space.  They define global landmarks as visible throughout a trip while local landmarks can be seen at specific points and not continuously.  Local landmarks are “sequentially visible” while global landmarks are “simultaneously visible.”  The investigators lreport that “our results have direct practical implications for the design of future digital navigation assistance systems that would support survey knowledge acquisition even while a navigator is multi-tasking. . .

Creativity, Practicality, Alone, and Together (11-01-19)

A Glaveanu-lead team has studied the implications of working with others or alone on creative and practical thinking.  Their findings have implications for the sorts of spaces (individual/for use by two people/etc.) provided in a variety of settings, for example, and also for managing the design process, for instance.  The researchers report that “the aim of this article is to examine the creative process in the case of individuals and dyads in relation to the originality and practicality of their ideas. . . .

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