Neuroscience researches the influence of lighting incidence on the capacity of memorization

The activity of the lighting designer has a lot to benefit from the laboratory discoveries made about the influence of lighting on human cognitive processes. Professionals who aim to give their projects effective results, in addition to merely aesthetic ones, should pay attention to this type of research.

When thinking about a lighting design project with human interaction as its main component, one starts acting through the neurolighting bias, a new aspect of lighting design studies, which takes into account the way the brain processes the use of light, and its benefits.


The research


Researchers at Michigan State University in the United States, funded by the National Institutes of Health, have dedicated themselves to understanding how light incidence can aid in the ability to learn. To do so, neuroscientists followed the brain behavior of Nile grass rats. The choice for this species was reasoned by scientists because these animals have habits similar to those of humans: they are active during the day and they sleep at night.

Half of the animals were observed under artificial lights of low incidence, simulating the environment of an office, or even of a cloudy winter day. The other half, on the other hand, was kept under greater incidence of light, resembling the light of a sunny day.


The discovery


The scientists noted that the group of animals kept in low light developed a loss of 30% in the operational capacity of the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain responsible for learning and for memory. As a result, they performed worse in space task activities, for which they had been previously trained.

The researchers compared the compromise presented to be similar to that of humans when they cannot find the car in a crowded parking lot after spending a few hours in a mall or cinema.

It has been found that the reduction in lighting has led to a significant decrease in a brain substance called the brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This behavior makes it difficult for neurons to connect. With fewer connections being made, it leads to less performance in learning and in memory.


Conclusion of the research


One of the arguments established by scientists is that the increased incidence of light can directly benefit the cognitive performance of the elderly, or even people who have glaucoma, or other eye and brain conditions.

Another finding was in relation to work environments that depend on artificial lighting. They considered it to be essential to improve lighting, whether natural or artificial, to improve workers’ memory and neural connections. The better lit the place, the greater the productivity benefits of the professionals. The research was published in the journal Hippocampus.

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