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Physiol Behav. 2012 Feb 1;105(3):621-7. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.09.020. Epub 2011 Oct 6.

Applicability and efficacy of variable light in schools.

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Center for Psychosocial Medicine, Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.


There is a range of reliable, empirical data on the effects of special lighting techniques on the performance of adults in the work environment in the literature. However, these studies have not adequately addressed the effects of lighting on school children in the classroom environment. In the present study, the effect of variable lighting (VL) i.e., lighting that is variable in illuminance and color temperature, was studied in the classroom using a variety of student performance and attitude measures. Two classrooms each in two separate schools were studied over a period of nine months; one class in each school served as an intervention group, and a parallel class in each school served as a control group. The effects of the individual VL programs were assessed using standardized test modules. The overall effect was measured using standardized surveys of students and teachers given at the beginning and the end of the project. The results showed that the students made fewer errors, particularly fewer errors of omission, on a standardized test of attention under the VL "Concentrate" program. Reading speed, as measured using standardized reading tests, rose significantly. Reading comprehension also improved, but this improvement was not statistically significant. In contrast, the achievement motivation of the students and the classroom atmosphere did not change over the nine-month period. Overall, the students and teachers rated VL positively and found it useful during lessons. These results are in line with previous research findings. Thus, VL represents an environmental factor that can be useful to optimize general learning conditions in schools in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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