The Way People Think And Act Is Affected By Ceiling Height

ceilingIs your mental range of possibility being stifled by the ceiling above you? From a little while ago, via ScienceDaily:

Recent research by Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, suggests that the way people think and act is affected by ceiling height.

“When a person is in a space with a 10-foot ceiling, they will tend to think more freely, more abstractly,” said Meyers-Levy. “They might process more abstract connections between objects in a room, whereas a person in a room with an 8-foot ceiling will be more likely to focus on specifics.”

The research demonstrates that a higher versus a lower ceiling can stimulate the concepts of freedom versus confinement, respectively. This causes people to engage in either more free-form, abstract thinking or more detail-specific thought. Depending on what the task at hand requires, the consequences of the ceiling could be positive or negative.

18 Comments on "The Way People Think And Act Is Affected By Ceiling Height"

  1. Echar Lailoken | Apr 16, 2014 at 3:09 pm |

    If this is so, I wonder if a ceiling could be rigged to suggest a height? Such as an LCD ceiling, or a realistic projection of the sky/forest. If this is so, it’s interesting to think how this can be further tweaked.

    • Gjallarbru | Apr 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm |

      Great idea that LCD ceiling, but workplaces usually have greater deficiencies to deal with.

    • InfvoCuernos | Apr 16, 2014 at 9:34 pm |

      I have a business with 12 ft ceilings, and thought to make them seem even higher by painting them black. See, I equate black with open space, but as it turns out, most people feel oppressed and some even claimed claustrophobia was induced. I guess its a matter of your personal symbolism. Some people just see a banana when they look at a banana, some people see a cigar.

      • Echar Lailoken | Apr 16, 2014 at 11:10 pm |

        Agreed, some are without imagination. On the less serious side, maybe you could have painted the black ceiling with a celestial mural?

  2. Gjallarbru | Apr 16, 2014 at 3:23 pm |

    Well, I’m not convinced of this. I worked to help pay for my studies, and I swear you couldn’t make a ceiling high enough to inspire any thought of any value at that job. The ceiling was really high, yet there was no chance of free thinking at all. The only thought I had while working there was breaking some necks. Under advisement from my family, I left the place, because they saw my character get grumpier and grumpier over time.

    I think there are much greater factors at work than a ceiling. I mean, for the same environment, a different ceiling might bring different reactions, but most of the time it would be insignificant to many other factors.

    • Echar Lailoken | Apr 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm |

      I think for this subtle environment to work (if it does at all) there would need to be an air of openness. My experience of work environments is one of control, although I have heard tell of work environments that were not.

  3. emperorreagan | Apr 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm |

    If you go outside there’s no ceiling.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Apr 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm |

    until very recently
    the majority of aMerkins spent most of their time outdoors
    a very creative clear thinking enabled environment
    as implied by the study
    yet somehow
    seduced into boxes
    for the sake electricity’s comfort, entertrainment & convenience
    in the pursuit of money

    maybe there’s more to it than merely ceilings

    • emperorreagan | Apr 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm |

      Well there’s the walls…the inoperable windows…the fluorescent lights…the artificial temperatures…all those chemicals being outgassed…the uniform colors and decorations…the hum of electricity and the devices it powers…

      • BuzzCoastin | Apr 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm |

        you’re close
        butt those are all effects
        not direct causes

        • Gnome Voynich | Apr 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm |

          Domestication, dependency.
          I don’t resent civilization as much when I’m in a high ceiling interior. Right now I’m in a low ceiling interior, and my resentment of the Agricultural Revolution and its subsequent domestication of humanity (aka civilization) has been agitated by the low ceiling.

          • BuzzCoastin | Apr 16, 2014 at 9:01 pm |

            domestication, dependency are effects
            domesticated by what?
            dependence upon what?

  5. Damn and to think I thought our country and world is fu*ked up and we have so many problems and now I find out I just need to find an apartment and job with higher ceilings.

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