Ceiling height affects the way you think

Posted on Monday, May 14 2007 @ 07:35 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
A study at the University of Minnesota concludes that the ceiling height of a room affects problem-solving skills and behaviour by priming concepts that encourage certain kinds of brain processing, Yahoo News reports:
"Priming means a concept gets activated in a person's head," researcher Joan Meyers-Levy told LiveScience. "When people are in a room with a high ceiling, they activate the idea of freedom. In a low-ceilinged room, they activate more constrained, confined concepts."

The concept of freedom promotes information processing that encourages greater variation in the kinds of thoughts one has, said Meyers-Levy, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota. The concept of confinement promotes more detail-oriented processing.

The study consisted of three tests ranging from anagram puzzles to product evaluation. In every tested situation a 10-foot ceiling correlated with subject activity that the researchers interpreted as "freer, more abstract thinking," whereas subjects in an 8-foot room were more likely to focus on specifics.

In one test subjects were more critical of a product's design flaws when evaluation took place in a shorter room. This result could have important implications for retailers.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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