Any Designed Environment

More on Zoom Calls (04-07-22)

Another study indicates that there are intriguing similarities between our online experiences and those we have in real life.  A press release related to the new research indicates that “The more the video quality of an online meeting degrades, the louder we start talking, a new study by researchers at Radboud University and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics finds. People also tend to change up their gestures to compensate. Their findings were published today in the Royal Society Open Science journal. . . .

Odor Pleasantness Universals (04-06-22)

Arshamian and teammates determined that worldwide people tend to find the same odors pleasant to smell.  As they report, they “asked 225 individuals from 9 diverse nonwestern cultures—hunter-gatherer to urban dwelling—to rank . . . odorants from most to least pleasant. Contrary to expectations, culture explained only 6% of the variance in pleasantness rankings, whereas individual variability or personal taste explained 54%. Importantly, there was substantial global consistency, with molecular identity explaining 41% of the variance in odor pleasantness rankings. . . .

Cross-Cultural Music Experiences (04-05-22)

New research verifies that sensory experiences vary by culture.  For a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences n international research team led by Elizabeth Margulis and Devin McAuley “asked hundreds of people what stories they imagined when listening to instrumental music. . . . listeners in Michigan and Arkansas imagined very similar scenes, while listeners in China envisioned completely different stories. . . .

Expecting and Seeing (04-04-22)

Rossel and teammates’ research confirms that many factors influence what we see.  The team shares that “Our study investigated the influence of expectations based on prior experience and contextual information on the perceived sharpness of objects and scenes. . . .  We manipulated the availability of relevant information to form expectations about the image’s content: one of the two images contained predictable information while the other one unpredictable. At an equal level of blur, predictable objects and scenes were perceived as sharper than unpredictable ones. . . .

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