Investigation of declared sitting preference and measured cognitive performance in a sunlit room

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Current daylighting standards are not sufficient to guarantee a high-quality daylighting experience as they fail to take the behavior of building occupants into consideration. The way that a daylit room is appreciated and used has not been fully explored, especially under sunlighting conditions. This research is the first of its kind to assess how the distance between a subject and a sun patch on the floor is related to a broad range of behavioral responses, including conclusive preference and measured cognitive performance. One hundred subjects participated in a controlled experiment in a work setting. Investigations of the declared preferences of seating area and subjects' cognitive performances indicated that people are not always aware of the environmental factors that influence their behavior. Subjects were generally attracted to sunlight and outdoor views, but they did not necessarily perform best in these preferred areas. Privacy and a sense of control were two hidden factors that greatly affected subjects' decisions and performances. Current daylighting literature and design practice do not pay adequate attention to such factors as sense of visual control or privacy in the design of rooms. On the other hand, the perceived problem of visual glare caused by sunlight penetration did not affect performance as much as subjects believed it would. An additional result suggested that individual behaviors were more affected by environmental elements than were group activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-238
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


  • Cognitive performance
  • Control
  • Daylighting
  • Preference
  • Privacy
  • Sunlight
  • View

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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