Effects of coloured lighting in the real world environment and virtual reality

Guobin Xia, Philip Henry, Francisco Queiroz, Stephen Westland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many studies have shown that colour can affect emotional and physiological responses in real environments but do the same effects occur in virtual environments? This study investigated human subjective and objective responses to different coloured lighting environments, first in a physical laboratory (PE) and then in an approximately identical virtual reality (VR) environment, using three experimental techniques. Data from a smiley-face self-reporting exercise and from electroencephalography (EEG) revealed differential effects of coloured lighting in both the PE and VR environments. However, although data from the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) revealed an effect of coloured lighting in the RE, the same effects were not statistically significant in the VR. We suggest that this might be because of a limited sample size. The results of this study demonstrate the potential of colour for positive emotional effect in an immersive ‘real-world’ environment for participants in a natural state, i.e. not engaged in any specific cognitive activity. Importantly, the results also indicate that in a VR replica of the same environment, participants also experienced an increase in positive emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-25
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the International Colour Association
Early online date12 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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