Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The way a room is lit can affect the way you make decisions

Date:
February 20, 2014
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
The next time you want to turn down the emotional intensity before making an important decision, you may want to dim the lights first. A new study shows that human emotion, whether positive or negative, is felt more intensely under bright light. under bright lights emotions are felt more intensely. In the brighter room 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 "favorable" juice and less of the "unfavorable" juice.

Spicy chicken wings. Under bright lights emotions are felt more intensely. In the brighter room 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 "favourable" juice and less of the "unfavourable" juice.
Credit: komar.maria / Fotolia

The next time you want to turn down the emotional intensity before making an important decision, you may want to dim the lights first.

Related Articles


A new study from the University of Toronto Scarborough shows that human emotion, whether positive or negative, is felt more intensely under bright light. Alison Jing Xu, assistant professor of management at UTSC and the Rotman School of Management, along with Aparna Labroo of Northwestern University, conducted a series of studies to examine the unusual paradox of lighting and human emotion.

"Other evidence shows that on sunny days people are more optimistic about the stock market, report higher wellbeing and are more helpful while extended exposure to dark, gloomy days can result in seasonal affective disorder," says Xu. "Contrary to these results, we found that on sunny days depression-prone people actually become more depressed," she says, pointing to peaks in suicide rates during late spring and summer when sunshine is abundant. Xu and Labroo asked participants to rate a wide range of things -- the spiciness of chicken-wing sauce, the aggressiveness of a fictional character, how attractive someone was, their feelings about specific words, and the taste of two juices -- under different lighting conditions.

The results: under bright lights emotions are felt more intensely. In the brighter room 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 "favourable" juice and less of the "unfavourable" juice.

Xu says the effect bright light has on our emotional system may be the result of it 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," she says.

The majority of everyday decisions are also made under bright light. So turning down the light may help you make more rational decisions or even settle negotiations more easily. "Marketers may also adjust the lightening levels in the retail environment, according to the nature of the products on sale," says Xu. "If you are selling emotional expressive products such as flowers or engagement rings it would make sense to make the store as bright as possible."

Xu notes the effect is likely to be stronger on brighter days around noon when sunlight is the most abundant and in geographic regions that experience sunnier rather than cloudier days.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alison Jing Xu, Aparna A. Labroo. Incandescent affect: Turning on the hot emotional system with bright light. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2013.12.007

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "The way a room is lit can affect the way you make decisions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220132004.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2014, February 20). The way a room is lit can affect the way you make decisions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220132004.htm
University of Toronto. "The way a room is lit can affect the way you make decisions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220132004.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins