Research Design Connection: Light Color and Mental Effort Intensity

Lasauskaite and Cajochen linked mental effort intensity and light color. The team “tested effort-related cardiac response under four lighting conditions and found that it decreased with color temperatures [i.e., as light got bluer]. Thus, blue-enriched light in offices and schools might…preserve resources during cognitive activities.”

Ruta Lasauskaite and Christian Cajochen. 2016. “Influence of Lighting Color Temperature on Mental Effort.” Psychology of Architecture Conference (December 4-5, Austin, TX) Program, p. 26.

Sally Augustin, PhD, a cognitive scientist, is the editor of Research Design Connections (, a monthly subscription newsletter and free daily blog, where recent and classic research in the social, design, and physical sciences that can inform designers’ work are presented in straightforward language. Readers learn about the latest research findings immediately, before they’re available elsewhere. Sally, who is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, is also the author of Place Advantage: Applied Psychology for Interior Architecture (Wiley, 2009) and, with Cindy Coleman, The Designer’s Guide to Doing Research: Applying Knowledge to Inform Design (Wiley, 2012). She is a principal at Design With Science ( and can be reached at