With the rise of LED lighting to save energy, there are many new options in terms of color and brightness. With these new options available, it is important to examine how different types of lighting can affect us. Much research has been done on how lighting can affect physiology (such as heart rate and blood pressure) and psychology (how different types of light make us feel). Previous studies have also examined how lighting can affect working speed, productivity and accuracy. However, all previous studies looked at how lighting affects people in industrial and working environments until recent studies came out examining the effects of lighting in learning environments.
A couple other studies showed contradictory results, with one study showing high school students performed better in warm lighting while another showing that bright white lighting can improve alertness in lectures. Then there are studies looking at dynamic lighting, a relatively new trend, which involves varying the lighting over time and as different activities are undertaken. Some studies have shown that dynamic lighting can improve performance and concentration, but there are conflicting results.
Thus, one of the more recent studies undertook to compare the effect of different types of lighting in primary schools (Choi and Suk, 2016). This study found that a color temperature of 3500K (warm to neutral light) is better for students during times when they need to communicate or relax. A color temperature of 5000K is a standard blue light that supports general activities such as reading. Lastly, a color temperature of 6500K, which simulates bright sunlight (sunlight is about 5600K) supports students during intensive activities such as problem solving. This lighting helped students perform better on a mathematics test and even made them feel more alert and able to tackle the questions!
Well I know what kind of lights I should install in my classroom :) How about you? Have you ever felt that different types of lighting influenced your ability to study or concentrate? Thinking about changing your lights at home where you normally do your homework? Let us know!