Any Designed Environment

Environmental Psych In Action (05-26-22)

Sorokowska and colleagues investigated how personal space preferences influenced COVID-19’s spread; interpersonal spacing is a core environmental psychology research area.  The Sorokowska-lead team report that “it was explored if interpersonal distance preferences . . . were valid measures of physical distancing in contacts between strangers and whether they related to country-level variation in early dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 spread.

Merging Smell and Taste (05-20-22)

Some researchers are suggesting that smell and taste be considered one sensory channel, not two.  A paper to be published in The Quarterly Review of Biology written by Mollo and 14 colleagues “proposes the unification of all chemosensory modalities into a single sense. . . . The paper thus envisages a rupture with what emerges as one of the most deeply rooted confirmation biases in the scientific literature: the differentiation between gustation (taste) and olfaction (smell). . . .

Scent Show (05-19-22)

An exhibit at the Museum of Craft and Design (San Francisco; February 12 to June 5, 2022, “Living with Scents”) focuses on scent-based experiences.  The show’s website reports that “researchers and practitioners, from the neurosciences to the humanities, have strived to gain a better understanding of the sense of smell, which deeply, yet often unknowingly, shapes the way we live: our eating habits, our social interactions, our emotions, memories, and even our well-being and safety. . . . scents may thus be purposefully used to improve many aspects of our lives. . . .

Self-Made Preferred (05-18-22)

Straffon and colleagues assessed people’s responses to artworks that they created.  The researchers report that “Self-made objects tend to be favored, remembered, valued, and ranked above and beyond objects that are not related to the self. On this basis, we set out to test whether the effects of self-relevance would apply to visual art, and via what mechanisms. In three studies, participants created abstract paintings that were then incorporated in a dot-probe task, pairing self-made and other-made stimuli. Our findings confirm that attention and preference are higher for self-made (vs.

Music’s Effects (05-16-22)

Birman and Ferguson increase our understanding of the cognitive effects of listening to music.  They report that their study participantswere randomly assigned to four different groups: silence (no music), classical music, rock, and the final group could choose any genre they liked. The California Verbal Learning Test—Second Edition (CVLT-II) was administered to assess participant’s memory. Anxiety was also assessed before and after the memory test to see whether the music had any effect.

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