Cognitive Processing Under Different Color Temperature Rated Environments

S. Taylor Frost, Cory D. Gifford


Light is an environmental marker that can produce non-visual responses within the human body, including the regulation of circadian rhythms, suppression of melatonin, and promotion of alertness and cognition. Recent studies have shown that these non-visual responses are particularly sensitive to monochromatic blue-enriched white light. With an increasing number of the population working under artificial lighting conditions, there is a need for more energy efficient lighting that also promotes cognition and alertness. The rating system for artificial lighting is based on two different characteristics, total lux and color temperature (K); the color temperature refers to what part of the visual spectrum the light is emitting. The present study sought to discover how cognitive problem solving (under specific time constraints) changes in regards to different color temperature-rated lighting environments. Participants were exposed to two different lighting environments, one being a low cool-white light with a color temperature of 4100K, and the second being a high cool-white light with a color temperature of 6500K. In order to measure cognition the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) was administered followed by the Stanford Sleepiness Scale. It was found that color temperature had no significant effect of PASAT scores F(1,19)=.769, p > .05. A trend for increased alertness was seen for the 6500K condition however, significance could not be found F(1,19)=3.709, p =.069


Cognition, Color temperature, Lighting

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