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Behavioral Science, Medicine and Society, Research

Bright lights breed stronger emotions, study finds

Bright lights breed stronger emotions, study finds

lightsThe glow of a tubular fluorescent bulb beneath a plastic cover can feel… unflattering. But bright lighting can also influence emotions and decision-making. That’s according to new research from the University of Toronto Scarborough that found that people feel more intensely – whether the sentiment is negative or positive – when under bright lights.

From a release:

[Study authors Alison Jing Xu, PhD, assistant professor of management at UTSC and the Rotman School of Management, and Aparna Labroo, PhD, of Northwestern University] 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.

The research was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

Previously: Careful, your comfy chair might be making you soft
Photo by Chris Scott

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