How You’re Affected by Bright Lights

Want to calm down? Dim the lights. Want to get amped up? Turn ‘em up.

That’s the gist of a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Researchers had a group of students rate how warm they thought a room was—first lit by computer monitors, then by florescent lights. In reality, the temperature never changed. Then, under both lighting conditions, students had to choose between buffalo wing sauces ranked from hot to mind, judge how aggressive a fictional person was, judge how attractive three women were, and say what they felt about positive, negative, and neutral words.

Participants through that the florescent-lit room was warmer—it wasn’t. In the brighter room, participants liked spicier buffalo sauce, found the fictional character more aggressive, found the women (all of them) more attractive, liked the positive words more, and disliked the negative words more. Basically, in a brighter room, the participants felt more strongly about everything. People in the dim room, by contrast, were more relaxed about everything.

Our main bone of contention with this study is that the attractive women probably looked better in the well-lit room because the participants could see properly—but their point is well taken. The next time opinions get too strong around the old DailyXY office, we’ll just dim the lights. And probably bring back nap time.

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