Indoor Lighting Can Affect Decision Making

02/26/2014 |

Bright lights could heighten emotions in the office.

Facility managers may want to take care while adjusting indoor lighting. According to new research, the way a room is lit can affect decision making, with bright light acting is a possible catalyst for more intense emotions.

In a brighter room, study participants wanted spicier chicken wing sauce, thought the fictional character was more aggressive, found the women more attractive, felt better about positive words and worse about negative words, and drank more of the juice marked "favorable" and less of the so-called "unfavorable" juice.

Researcher Alison Jing Xu says the effect bright light has on our emotional system may be the result of the light being perceived as heat, and the perception of heat can trigger our emotions.

"Bright light intensifies the initial emotional reaction we have to different kinds of stimulus including products and people," says Xu.

The majority of everyday decisions are also made under bright light. So turning down the light may help people make more rational decisions or even settle negotiations more easily.

The study was conducted by the University of Toronto Scarborough and is available in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

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