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Product Abstract

Lighting and Human Performance II: Beyond Visibility Models Toward a Unified Human Factors Approach to Performance

Product ID:1006415
Date Published:29-Oct-2001
Sector Name:Power Delivery & Utilization - Distribution & Utilization
Document Type:Technical Results
Price:No Charge

This Product is publicly available

   13.21 MB - Adobe PDF (.pdf)

To understand the relationship between lighting conditions and human performance, it is first necessary to identify the routes by which lighting conditions can affect human performance. There are three such routes: the visual system, the circadian photobiological system, and the perceptual system. This report updates and replaces an earlier work and explores the relationship between lighting conditions and the ability to carry out tasks in interiors.


In 1989, the report "Lighting and Human Performance: A Review" was published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the Lighting Research Institute. The current work performed an extensive review of the literature published since 1989. This literature has been organized according to the three ways lighting can affect human performance: visibility, circadian photobiology, and psychological effects.


o To summarize research to date concerning the relationship between lighting and human performance indoors in photopic conditions.

o To summarize progress in understanding the relationship between lighting and human performance since the previous publication in 1989.

o To develop a research agenda by which the impact of lighting conditions on human performance indoors in photopic conditions can be more clearly demonstrated and understood.


The project team conducted an extensive review of the literature published since 1989. The literature was organized according to the three ways lighting can affect human performance: visibility, circadian photobiology, and the psychological "message" delivered by lighting. In addition, the role of factors such as age and fatigue, which can reasonably be expected to modify human performance, was considered.


Based on the literature review, it was concluded that, since 1989, progress has been made in understanding lighting's effect on human performance, at both conceptual and practical levels. The present report is based around a conceptual framework that maps out the routes along which lighting conditions can be expected to influence human performance. Practical progress has been made in twelve different categories, six for direct effects and six for indirect effects. The six categories for direct effects are visual performance, task performance, color vision, visual search, age and individual differences, and fatigue. For indirect effects, the six categories are discomfort, light as an attention stimulus, light and arousal, light and mood, lighting's influence on behavior, and lighting and hormone balance. From the literature review, a series of research agendas was developed for advancing the study of the effects of lighting on human performance.

EPRI Perspective

The extensive and very thorough literature review presented here has resulted in a series of research agenda recommendations that advance the study of lighting's effects on human performance. Improvements in human performance produced by lighting can be expected to have an impact on increasing productivity, reducing energy consumption, enhancing health, and improving the quality of life. These four needs become the drivers for the research outlined here.

EPRI wishes to thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation, and the Lighting Systems Division of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) for their support of this work.

Program 170   End-Use Energy Efficiency and Demand Response
  • Behavior
  • Literature Reviews
  • Human Performance
  • Human Factors Engineering
  • Visibility
  • Lighting

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