alison xing ju, aparna a. labroo, emotion, incandescent effect, journal of consumer psychology, light
Forget the “wisdom” about turning the lights down low to set a romantic mood. A new study by faculty at the schools of management of University of Toronto and Northwestern University suggests that turning the lights up—way up— is what’s called for.
Research psychologists Alison Xing Ju and Aparna A. Labroo conducted studies with hundreds of male and female university students. And they found that, consistently, intensity in light corresponds to intensity in feelings—and not just romantic ones.
In their study, bright light increased perceptions of warmth, made spicy chili taste yummier, polarized judgment, made people rate human models as “hotter” (more aggressive and sexy), intensified feelings, and increased consumption of delicious drinks.
According to Ju and Labroo, the romantic takeaway from their work is that if you want a resounding “Yes!” to your proposal of marriage or even to a request for a first date, you might consider bringing your beloved outside at high noon on a sunny day. Conversations that need to be calmly handled—about breaking up if things aren’t going well, for example—are the ones that should happen by candlelight.