Archive for April, 2011

April 24, 2011

Men’s Needs Neglected in Public Restrooms, too

I keep thinking how short this post is going to be. After all, what do I know about men’s restroom and the satisfaction of their users? I can’t speak from my own experience, and I didn’t find any research investigating that topic. Apparently there’s no need to discuss it, which means there are no problems.

Las Vegas Hilton mens’ restroom urinals; photo by Eric Mill

However, while writing about women’s needs being neglected in most public restrooms, I came across few ideas that could improve the bathroom experience for men, too. I figured that there are at least two needs that most contemporary men’s restrooms don’t meet adequately – privacy and baby changing.

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April 21, 2011

Are Natural Scenes Aways Preferred over Urban Scenes? Considering City Skylines at Night

Studies have consistently found that people prefer natural environments over urban environments, and they do so with a good reason – experience of nature can better provide physiological, emotional and attentional restoration than urban surroundings (according to Hartig et al., 2003). However, there must be some city-lovers out there who wonder if there are some conditions on which urban settings can be just as likable as scenes of nature, or even more.

Sleepless in Seattle; photo by James Marvin Phelps

Folloving the logic of an undeniable city-lover Woddy Allen, who used Manhattan skyline at night as an exciting and romantic setting for his movies, Nasar and Terzano (2010) wondered if city skylines after dark would upset the consistent pattern of preference for natural scenes over urban ones.

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April 13, 2011

Personality Cues in Offices

Sometimes it’s really hard to appreciate psychology research. All findings seem so familiar and intuitive, and it feels like you would’ve guessed it without some social scientists spending their time and (our) money on such obvious experiments. In a way, everyone is their own psychology expert. And it should be that way. But could you really guess reasearch findings in advance? I don’t think so – it’s just one of those cognitive biases that makes us feel we know more than we really do. You can try if you don’t belive me: which personality traits do you think can be correctly inferred by observing somebody’s office? Can you appraise one’s emotional stability by looking their office? Of extraversion? Or agreeableness?

Does here work an agreeable person?; photo by blupics

Interior design acts as a form of nonverbal communication, sending messages to potential visitors and thus affecting their impressions of the occupant. That’ why home design is related to some personality traits, and it’s proven that, by examining a stranger’s home, visitors can accurately infere ocupants’ consciousness and openness to experience. Can the same traits be guessed in an office setting? Presuming that we don’t show all aspects of our personality at work and at home, it’s worth to investigate this question more closely.

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April 6, 2011

The Presence of Indoor Plants May Increase Pain Tolerance

Research in environmental psychology often fascinate me by showing how very sensitive we are.  Just by changing some minor details in a room researchers are able to make measurable impacts on our psyche. I think that Alain de Botton (in The Architecture of Happiness) described it best by calling us vulnerable to design. And when are we more vulnerable than when we are in pain?

Would something this small have an impact on you?; photo by AmySelleck

Following studies were inspired by well-known research in which hospital patients who viewed plants from their windows recovered more quickly and used fewer pain reliving drugs than patients who viewed a building (Urlich, 1984; for more about the impact of a window view see Attention Restoration and Views of Nature). Lohr and Pearson-Mims (2000) purposed that indoor plants could have the similar pain relieving effect like window views of nature.

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