What’s the Bright Idea?

Certain key factors can influence a person’s kind behaviour. This we know from past research. But face it: Some of those influences are fairly unexpected, and others downright weird – like the smell of fresh baking, or the word “loving” on a T-shirt.

Thanks to psychologists at the National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, we now have another odd one to add to the list: Bright lights. In their experiments, people in brightly lit rooms were more likely to help others, behave honestly and donate generously, compared to people stuck in dim rooms. The research is published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. The authors theorize that brightness may… well… make moral behaviour feel more important, which in turn makes ethical actions… er… more likely. (Sorry, I’m only going with what I’ve got, here.)

Naturally, this research has quickly been pounced upon by – wait for it – a home lighting company, which suggests that families consider brighter light installations “to make things more harmonious in the home.” The take-home message, apparently: If your kids are bickering, dial up the wattage. Peace will follow.

Caution: Bright indoor lights may induce hugging.

Caution: Bright indoor lights may induce hugging.

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