Health & Performance
Last Update: November 7, 2010
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Lighting & Performance

Lighting can influence the performance of work either directly or indirectly. Tasks that require the perception of detail can be directly affected by using lighting to increase the visibility of that detail. More generally, lighting can directly affect the performance of tasks by attracting attention to specific information, by enabling better verbal communication and by guiding movement in a desired direction. Lighting can indirectly impact the performance of all tasks by influencing mood and motivation and by changing the state of the circadian system. This section discusses all these effects of light. It also offers guidance on how to use lighting to enhance visual performance and improve visual search, by night and day, as well as influence behavior, achieve good communication and generate motivation.

Visual Performance
Visual performance quantifies how well people can see based on the performance of a task.  The study of visual performance started in the 1920s and has continued to the present day because it is one basis for determining how much light is required to do a particular visual task.
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Lighting At Different Times
Light entering the eye does more than stimulate the visual system. It also influences the human circadian system and hence our biological rhythms. These rhythms reflect changes in the hormonal state of the body and hence such fundamental aspects of life as alertness / sleepiness, the ability to concentrate, appetite and emotional response. Anyone who has experienced jetlag after flying across a large number of time zones will be familiar with the consequences of disrupting the circadian system.
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Behavior
Lighting can certainly be used to enhance the visual performance of tasks requiring the resolution of detail but there are also tasks that benefit when lighting is used to modify behavior. 
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Mood & Motivation
In addition to making things visible, lighting can influence feelings. Changes in feelings can influence the performance of all types of tasks by changing mood and motivation. In this way, lighting can influence many outcomes that are important to individuals, organizations and society.
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Health & Performance

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