Does Dim Lighting Help People Make Better Decisions?

The London, England-based The Independent is reporting that exposure to dim lighting can have a positive impact on people's emotions-making people more rational and able to negotiate better.

Time to make a decision to use dim lights?

A University of Toronto Scarborough and Northwestern University study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology examined the link between lighting and human emotion.  Participants in the study were asked to rate under different lighting settings the spiciness of chicken-wing sauce, how aggressive a fictional character was being, how attractive someone was and the taste of two juices.

Assistant Professor of Management at University of Toronto Scarborough Alison Jing Xu noted that  all of their reactions were intensified in bright light, a phenomena which Xu attributes to the body perceiving light as heat, which can trigger emotions.

"Bright light intensifies the initial emotional reaction we have to different kinds of stimulus including products and people," Xu said.

The researchers found that that bright light intensifies feelings so dramatically that people prone to depression “actually become more depressed” on sunny days.

The majority of everyday decisions are also made under bright light.

So turning down the light may help you make more rational decisions or even settle negotiations more easily.

"Marketers may also adjust the lightening levels in the retail environment, according to the nature of the products on sale," said Xu. "If you are selling emotional expressive products such as flowers or engagement rings it would make sense to make the store as bright as possible."

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