Interim Study of Procedures for Investigating the Effect of Light on Impression and Behavior

Oct 01, 1973

This paper reports some preliminary findings concerning the effect of environmental lighting as a medium that affects user impressions and behavior. It begins with recognition of the fact that visual consciousness does not seem to be completely explainable with the simple notion of an optical image imposed on the retina of the eye and "photographically" interpreted by the brain. Instead, we find indications that there is considerable selectivity in the process of visual experience - a search for meaningful information. This suggests that light can be discussed as a vehicle that facilitates the selective process and alters the information content of the visual field. It further suggest that lighting design should be evaluated, in part, for its role in adequately establishing cues that facilitate or alter the user's understanding of his environment and the activities around him.

This initial study involved a search for evidence that variations in environmental lighting do (or do not) affect human behavior in some noticeable way. In this, we were looking specifically for evidence that some patterns of light might serve as environmental cues or signals, and that the occupants might tend to respond or act upon these cues in some consistent way. If so, we should find some consistent and shared patterns of impression among the occupants of a room - and we should find some consistent changes in impression as we vary the lighting conditions.

John E. Flynn
Terry J. Spencer
Osyp Martyniuk
Clyde Hendrick
Journal of IES
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)

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