The Movement of People Toward Lights

Apr 01, 1974

As a part of another lighting experiment, 107 right-handed and four left-handed subjects slowly entered a doorway through a curtain and read a printed message which was placed immediately in front of them. This message made each subject stop for a few seconds and had vertical lettering to destroy any left-to-right movement tendencies associated with normal reading patterns. After reading the message the subject could only move to his left or right along an eight feet long, two feet wide passageway. The end of each passageway had a side opening into the remainder of the room. The illumination at one foot from drapes at the end of one passageway was held constant at 1, 3, 10, 30, or 100 footcandles while the illumination on the other side was held constant at 1 footcandle. Thus the ratio, R, of the illumination levels was 1, 3, 10, 30, or 100. The brighter side was evenly balanced between the left and right side and the direction chosen by the subject was measured as a function of the illumination ratio and the location of the brighter side. The subject was present for another experiment and was unaware of this movement measurement. After completion of the other experiment (about 10 minutes later), the subject left the room via the passageways and the direction chosen was again noted as a function of illumination ratio. However, the leaving situation differed from the entering situation in that the subject was no longer naive about the space, an experimenter was present, and the direction of travel was chosen before the passageways were entered. These differences add complications to the interpretation of the leaving results.

Lyle H. Taylor
Eugene W. Socov
Journal of the IES
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)

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