Bright Light Heats Your Emotions

Turning on the light can turn on your hot emotional system!! Across six studies, these researchers showed that ambient brightness made people feel warmer,

Chicago Botanic Gardens

Chicago Botanic Gardens

Fearing the light of reasonFearing the light of reasonsmiles faces groupsmiles faces groupwhich increases the intensity of their emotional response. This includes sensation seeking from spicy-hot foods, perception of aggression, and perception of sexiness (“hotness”) in others. Strong lighting generated more extreme emotional reactions toward positive and negative words or drinks. The researchers suggested that these effects arise because light underlies perception of heat, and perception of heat can trigger the hot emotional system. Thus, turning down the light, effortless and unassuming as it may seem, can reduce emotionality in everyday decisions, most of which take place under bright light. To feel quieter, you might want to lower the lights. To get more emotional, make them brighter. 

The authors said, “Bright light usually correlates with heat, and heat is linked to emotional intensity…This psychological experience of heat turns on the hot emotional system, intensifying a person’s emotional reactions to any stimulus…Thus, in bright light, good feels better and bad feels worse.”

Source: Journal of Consumer PsychologyVolume 24, Issue 2, April 2014, Pages 207–216. Incandescent affect: Turning on the hot emotional system with bright light. Alison Jing Xu, Aparna A. Labroo

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