Blog: Bright light increases honesty, leads people to perform ethical deeds

Life @ Work

Bright light increases honesty, leads people to perform ethical deeds

People Matters spoke to Indranil Goswami, Business Head-Controls, Philips Lighting India on how lighting can affect workplace productivity
Bright light increases honesty, leads people to perform ethical deeds

Bright lights make people more honest, altruistic and ethical, and less selfish, according to new research reported in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Experiments showed people in a brightly lit room were more likely to offer help to others than those in a dim room, The Independent reported.

“We provide the first experimental evidence showing that brightness appears to heighten the salience of morality to the individual, thereby leading people to perform ethical deeds. We suggest that brightness may enhance the self-importance of morality and thereby increase ethical behaviour,” say the researchers from National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan.

The researchers carried out a series of experiments with three levels of brightness under 12, eight, and four fluorescent lights. In one experiment, men and women were told they were playing a game which involved sharing money between themselves and a stranger said to be in another room.

Those in the brightest room offered around 15 per cent more of the cash than those in the moderately lit room, and around 30 per cent more than the people in the dimmest room. The researchers calculated an 85.2 per cent honesty rate for people in the well-lit room, 70.4 per cent for those in the moderately lit room, and 51.9 per for those under dim lighting.

In the light of this study, People Matters spoke to Indranil Goswami, Business Head-Controls, Philips Lighting India on how lighting can affect workplace productivity.

Q: A recent study by The Journal of Environmental Psychology shows that bright light can make people more honest, altruistic and ethical, and less selfish. What is your take on this?

A: There is a significant relationship between the physical conditions at the work place and the productivity at work. Several researches have highlighted this relationship over the years. Different kinds of lighting have an impact on different forms of work. For instance, employees prefer to work near windows at a workplace as studies have shown that sunlight has a positive impact on the employee’s performance. The colour of the light alters the mood and work performance. Warm light more often than not wins the hearts of the workers. Poor lighting can result in eye strain, fatigue and headach, which lead to deterioration in the performance.

Q: Philips has been at the forefront of providing lighting solutions. Is lighting for a workplace dependent on what kind of business it is?

A: The importance of lighting in different types of work and work environments can’t be ignored. The intensity of the light depends on the work hours. For instance, Leppamaki’s research in 2003 found that repeated brief exposures to bright light during night shifts over a two-week period improved the well-being and the vigour during the night shifts. In a study conducted by Aaras, it was found that the glare and discomfort was significantly reduced by using a new lighting system that increased general illuminating levels, luminance of surfaces and distribution of luminance. The study continues to report significant reduction of visual discomfort even after six years. The illumination of a workplace heavily depends on the hours and time of operations.

Q: What kind of research has Philips done in this regard?

A: Philips has been at the forefront in supporting various researches studying the impact of lighting in various facets of life. Worker controlled lighting and lighting solutions tailored to individual needs of workers have considerable potential for enhancing employee’s work satisfaction.

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Topics: Life @ Work

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