Effects of new light sources on task switching and mental rotation performance

F. Ferlazzo, L. Piccardi, C. Burattini, M. Barbalace, A. M. Giannini, F. Bisegna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies investigated the non-visual effects of light on cognitive processes and mood regulation and showed that light exposure has positive effects on circadian rhythms and alertness, vigilance and mood states and also increases work productivity. However, the effects of light exposure on visuo-spatial abilities and executive functions have only been partially explored. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of new LED light sources on healthy participants' performance on some components of visuo-spatial abilities and executive functions in a specifically-designed and fully-controlled luminous environment. Participants had to mentally rotate 3-D objects and perform a switching task in which inhibitory processes and switch cost were measured. Results suggest that cooler light exposure improves the cognitive system's capacity to deal with multiple task representations, which might remain active simultaneously without interfering with each other, and visuo-spatial ability, producing fewer errors in the mental rotation of 3-D objects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-100
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • 3-D rotation task
  • Blue light effects
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Executive functions
  • Visual environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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