August 29, 2014

Bright Light Helps Market Products, But Makes Decisions More Emotional

Light Levels Edit

Light in your office or in your brick and mortar store may have a lot more impact on your business than you realize.

In fact, bright light helps market products, but it may have a very different effect on decisions in the workplace, a study says.

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management say evidence suggests that sunny days tend to make people more optimistic and full of well-being.

However, seemingly contradictory data shows sunny days can also intensify the depressed outlook already present in people who are prone to depression.

In a summary of the study’s findings Red Orbit reports:

The team asked participants to rate a range of things, including 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. During the experiment the participants were placed under different light settings.

The researchers wrote in the Journal of Consumer Psychology that under bright lights, the participants’ emotions were more intense. They saw that in brighter rooms the volunteers wanted spicier chicken wing sauce, thought the fictional character was more aggressive, found women more attractive, felt better about positive words and worse about negative ones, and drank more of the “favorable” juice of the two.

So, to review, what researchers found was not that subjects were more positive under bright lights. Rather, the conclusion seems to indicate that brighter lighting conditions bring out more intense emotions.

And, researchers say there are some practical business conclusions that can be drawn from all this.

For example, one researcher suggests that when marketing products with a high emotional impact — say flowers, engagement rings etc. — higher light levels might make sense.

On the other hand, researchers say, in an office environment where important business decisions are being made, you may not want people on an emotional tear.

Instead, consider turning down the lighting level in your business office to mellow things out.

Knowing the effect light levels have on your customers, clients and employers gives you a great advantage.

Studying the environments that make your customers more willing to buy and your workers better able to make good decisions should make managing your entire business much easier in the long run.

Light levels: Shutterstock

3 Comments ▼

Shawn Hessinger - Editor


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Editor for Small Business Trends. He is a journalist and social media networker with more than a decade of experience in the traditional newspaper business before moving to the digital world. He was the former community manager of BizSugar and the former community editor at AllAnalytics, a site dedicated to professionals in the business intelligence and analytics community.

3 Reactions

  1. Light also plays an important roll in our daily lives at home. That is why so many companies specialize in lighting quality and experience. Through smart lighting systems one can personalize, remote control and even automate lighting at home or in a store. Advantages that come with innovations, like brightup.

    • Hi Ana,
      In researching this post, I was most interested to see how light levels can affect everyone differently. For example, high light levels may fill some with a sense of well-being while they may make others already prone to depression more depressed. When considering personal productivity, the lesson here may be that it’s a good idea to figure out how certain light levels affect you personally. That may be the best way to adjust your work environment for maximum effectiveness.

  2. Surprisingly, office environments usually have bright lights so as to stimulate employee productivity. If it stimulates intense emotions, does it also have a study for low light?

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