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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.
BackgroundIn 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
Objectiveo 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.
ApproachThe 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.
ResultsBased 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
EPRI PerspectiveThe 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
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