Light is one of those elements of the environment that accompanies us all our lives, silently. We know that we need a lot of light when we want to read, take a photograph or look at something accurately. We know that we want the dark when we go to sleep, or we have a bad headache.
The semi-darkness suggests the mysterious and the romantic. The lights of dawn or dusk are evocative to us. A small thread of light may be what shows us the way. In short, the light is always there telling us something.
What you may not know is that light also has an impact on the way you perceive reality emotionally and has a strong influence when making decisions.
The intensity of the light intensifies your emotions
Bright and lit environments make emotions flow more intensely. A group of researchers from the University of Toronto measured the reactions of a group of people to environments full of light. Thus they were able to verify that the more the lighting increases, the stronger the emotions. In fact, some participants became aggressive when the light was strongest.
Experts called this reaction the “incandescent effect.” Everything seems to indicate that people perceive the increase in light as a parallel increase in temperature. The combination of light and heat makes emotions come alive.
Lighting alone does not give rise to new emotions. Rather, it stimulates existing ones and makes them more pronounced and visible.
The practical effect of this discovery is that bright environments are more conducive to carrying out activities in which emotions play a predominant role. For example, a family or old friend reunion can go smoothly in bright light.
On the other hand, if what it is about is to make rational decisions and face a situation that demands a cool head, it is best to close the curtains a bit, or draw the blind. A less illuminated environment attenuates emotions and encourages more objective reasoning.
The twinkling light and the blue light
When the light is stable, it usually does not attract attention. It’s just there as part of the set, but we hardly even notice it. Instead, a flickering light captures our attention immediately.
At the University of Utrecht they did an experiment in this regard. They posed a question to several passersby, next to a lantern of light; while some of them had the light steady, others were interrogated while the light flickered. The response of the former was conventional and moderate, while the latter were more radical and intolerant in their assessments.
The researchers concluded that people associate flashing lights with a danger signal. For that reason, they set off our emotional alarms and put us on the defensive. In nightclubs, the flickering light is part of the “adrenaline” experience that many are looking to live.
On the contrary, at Harvard University they carried out a study in which it was verified that blue, or bluish lights, exert a sedative effect on our emotions. Apparently, they increase our ability to concentrate and capture data. However, blue lights can also affect a loss of quality of sleep.
Image courtesy of josemanuelerre