Ambient Lighting Atmospheres for Influencing Emotional Expressiveness and Cognitive Performance

  • Boris De RuyterEmail author
  • Saskia Van Dantzig
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11912)


In this paper a study is reported for investigating the effects of a lighting atmosphere on emotional expressiveness and cognitive processing. An experimental lighting atmosphere was created for hospital consultation rooms to better support the shared decision making process of patient and clinician. The lighting atmosphere consists of two phases: (1) indirect, dimmed-warm light (supporting emotional expressiveness) and (2) direct, cold-bright light (supporting cognitive processing). The ambient lighting atmosphere was compared with a standard office lighting atmosphere involving 54 male participants. Participants took part in the experiment in pairs. During the first phase, they watched two emotion inducing film fragments and then discussed these fragments with each other. Under warm-dimmed lighting conditions significantly more emotions were expressed with less negative valence. During the second phase, participants performed two cognitive tasks. No statistical significant effects of lighting condition on both attention and concentration tasks were found.

The results showed that participants’ emotions and anxiety level was influenced negatively by the film fragments in both conditions. During the discussion, participants in the intervention condition had significantly more eye contact and showed fewer negative expressions than participants in the control condition. On the cognitive tasks, there was no difference between the conditions, indicating that attention and concentration were not influenced by the intervention.


Ambient lighting Emotions Cognitive performance 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philips ResearchEindhovenThe Netherlands

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