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Darkness Enhances Decision-Making Skills

Update Date: Feb 25, 2014 02:51 PM EST
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Turning off the lights may enhance decision-making skills, according to a new study.

New research reveals that people tend to think more objectively in low lighting. Scientists said that darkness helps people think objectively by reducing emotional intensity.

The study conducted at the University of Toronto Scarborough reveals that bright light makes people feel emotions more intensely.

Previous studies reveal that people tend to be more optimistic on sunny days and at risk of seasonal affective disorder on gloomy days. However, researchers found that sunny days can also increase the risk of depression among those susceptible to mental illness.

Researchers investigated this unusual paradox by having participants rate a wide range of things, like the spiciness of chicken-wing sauce, the aggressiveness of a fictional character, how attractive someone was and the taste of two juices, under different lighting conditions.

The findings revealed that people felt more intensely under bright light. Participants rated hot sauce as spicier, fictional characters as more aggressive and people as more attractive under brighter conditions. Participants also drank for of the tasty juice and less of the unfavorable juice under bright light.

Researchers said the findings suggest that the effect bright light has on emotional system may be caused by the way people perceive heat. Previous studies revealed that the perception of heat triggers emotions.

"Bright light intensifies the initial emotional reaction we have to different kinds of stimulus including products and people," said lead researcher Alison Jing Xu, assistant professor of management at the University of Toronto Scarborough, according to the Daily Mail.

"Marketers may also adjust the lightening levels in the retail environment, according to the nature of the products on sale," Xu said. "If you are selling emotional expressive products such as flowers or engagement rings it would make sense to make the store as bright as possible."

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