Any Designed Environment

Social Distancing Challenge (04-20-20)

A recent article in Current Biology details why social distancing is so difficult for humans.  Deroy, Frith, and Dezecache report that “people instinctively tend to huddle together when faced with an acute danger – in other words, they actively seek closer social contacts. . . .  threatening situations make us even more cooperative and more likely to be socially supportive than we usually are. . .

Work-Leisure Conflicts (04-16-20)

Etkin and Memmi researched how we decide whether to spend time working or not working; future research may support extrapolating their findings to the allocation of resources besides time.  Etkin and Memmi report that “Leisure is desirable and beneficial, yet consumers frequently forgo leisure in favor of other activities—namely work. . . . Because work tends to be easier to justify and leisure harder to justify, goal conflict increases time spent on work and decreases time spent on leisure.  . . . The findings. . . .

Temperature Effects (04-14-20)

Spence investigated how temperature is linked to the experience of other sensory stimuli.  His review of the literature indicates that “The last few years have seen an explosive growth of research interest in the crossmodal correspondences, the sometimes surprising associations that people experience between stimuli, attributes, or perceptual dimensions, such as between auditory pitch and visual size, or elevation. . . . I take a closer look at temperature-based correspondences.

Architecture and Fire (04-13-20)

Zografos has written an interesting text that will intrigue people developing an assortment of different sort of sites.  As detailed at its UCL Press website, Architecture and Firefocuses on “the intimate relationship between architecture and fire.  Stamatis Zografos expands on the general agreement among many theorists that the primitive hut was erected around fire – locating fire as the first memory of architecture, at the very beginning of architectural evolution. . . . [Zografos] explore[s] the ambivalent nature of fire . . .

Lighting for Video Conferencing (04-09-20)

The Lighting Research Center (LRC:  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) is making available, at the YouTube address noted below, a short tutorial on the best lighting for at-home video conferences; the insights shared by this prestigious research team are also applicable in conference rooms at employer owned/managed facilities.  As the LRC team shares “Whether you are taking part in a virtual meeting with colleagues, participating in a job interview, or giving a presentation, you want to make sure that you look your best, and that people can clearly understand you.

Automation and Morality (04-08-20)

Gill evaluated links between judgments of morality and automation.  He reports that “Building on recent work on AV [autonomous vehicle/car] morality, the current research examined how people resolve the dilemma between protecting self versus a pedestrian, and what they expect an AV to do in a similar situation. Five studies revealed that participants considered harm to a pedestrian more permissible with an AV as compared to self as the decision agent in a regular car.

Image Assessments (04-07-20)

Virtanen and colleagues investigated the criteria used to evaluate image quality.  They report that “Various image elements, such as sharpness or naturalness, can impact how observers view images and, more directly, how they evaluate their quality. . . . we conducted a study with a large set of images with multiple overlapping distortions, covering a wide range of quality variation. Observers assigned a quality rating of the images on a 0–10 scale and gave a verbal description explaining the elements on which their rating was based. . . .

Repeated Sensory Experiences (04-06-20)

Recent research by Gao, Fillmore, and  Scullin confirms the value of repeated exposure to the same stimuli during the learning process;  it also validates the powerful links between memories and sensory stimuli and the fact that linked memories can be reactivated when stimuli are repeated. The team reports on research related to targeting reactivation of memories (TMR) during sleep: “undergraduate students completed a college-level microeconomics lecture (mathematics-based) while listening to distinctive classical music (Chopin, Beethoven, and Vivaldi).

Food Temperature and Assessments (04-03-20)

Yamim, Mai, and Werle investigated the affects of the temperature of food being eaten on judgments made about that food; future studies indicating the potential generalizability of their findings may lead to intriguing applications of their work. The researchers report that “This research proposes that consumers spontaneously infer that warm foods contain more calories, an unexplored lay belief we named the ‘warm is calorie-rich’intuition.

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