LEF: thE REcipE FoR SuccESS

LEF: the Recipe for
LEF: the Recipe for
About this Publication
In spring 2009, LEF future center and Dijksterhuis & van
Baaren initiated a study to investigate the effects of working
at LEF. Experimental research was carried out in the LEF
environments using 90 test subjects. This report presents the
results of the study.
Robert Verheule
Cees Plug
Dijksterhuis & van Baaren
Ap Dijksterhuis
Rick van Baaren
Rene Huijsman
Jorn Horstman
Jacob Wiebenga
Marianne Karstens
Contact information:
Parkweg 27
6994 CM De Steeg
Tel.: +31 (0)26 - 495 26 28
Email: [email protected]
Page 4 van 36
Table of Contents
About this Publication
Table of Contents
Preliminary Research
Overview and participants
Procedure and materials
1. Basic mindset measurements
2. Concrete behavioural measurements
Conclusions and Recommendations
Appendix: Literature Study
Definitions and objectives
Future centers The physical environment and creativity
Subconscious Processes
Goal-oriented behaviour
Mood and Behaviour
Approach and avoidance motivation
A day on the savannah
Design principles A grain of salt 25
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 35 of 40
In conjunction with LEF future center, research has been
conducted into the psychological effects of working in the
environments at LEF. After some preliminary research among
facilitators that examined the objectives of groups who meet
at LEF, the relevant psychological processes were organised
into three main categories: 1) openness and cooperativity, 2)
creativity, and 3) focus, concentration and productivity. These
processes were studied in four different (experimental)
spaces. Two of the spaces were those used most by the facilitators (the living room and work area), and two others were
added based on the literature study (one predominantly
blue and one predominantly red space). Performance by test
subjects in these spaces was compared with performance in
a normal office space that served as a control environment.
The results show that working at LEF produces results. Openness and creativity are enhanced, an effect that was observed
in all of the experimental spaces in the study. Specific spaces
(the work area and the blue room) foster the creation of
greater levels of mutual trust.
A more abstract mindset can be created by having people
work in a blue space or the living room – the effects of the
blue room on creativity are particularly spectacular.
Lastly, it has proven possible to enhance people’s concentration and productivity by having them work in the work area
or the red room.
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When people visit LEF future center for the first time (part of
psychological processes. For example: people can work in a
the Dutch directorate-general for Public Works and Water
living-room atmosphere to effect a feeling of calm and trust,
Management), they are heard to make such remarks as ‘it’s
or in a fairly businesslike environment to work in a more
inspiring’ or ‘it pushes you to think differently’. The pur-
concentrated and productive manner. A range of spaces have
pose of LEF is to force groundbreaking discoveries, trigger
been created with the purpose of encouraging creativity,
innovations and generate solutions to problems through
including a variation on the workplace that stimulates people
workshops led by facilitators, in the interests of society.
and aims to make them think ‘outside the box’.
The building is made up of a number of unique spaces and
facilities offering advanced features, where it is possible to
use wall and other projections, colour, images, sound, layout
and catering to create detailed atmospheres that support the
processes in which people are involved.
The fact that we are influenced by the spaces that surround
us is nothing new. But explaining how the physical environment affects our behaviour is a complex problem, and
one whose solution requires a multidisciplinary approach.
Various academic disciplines have conducted research into
this phenomenon. In addition to the obvious disciplines
such as architecture and ergonomics, research has also
been carried out in the healthcare sector (e.g. hospitals and
psychiatric clinics), consumer psychology (e.g. shopping
environments), occupational and organisational psychology,
and business administration (e.g. companies and organisations). Occupational and organisational psychology sees the
physical environment as a variable that can facilitate the use
of human resources. After all, employees cost money, and
the physical environment affects the extent to which they are
able and willing to do their job. According to psychologist Roger Barker, the environment puts us in a position to execute
certain behavioural patterns, encouraging certain activities
and discouraging us from others.
LEF supports this philosophy. Groups come together under
the guidance of facilitators at LEF to learn, make progress,
and sometimes solve concrete problems. To this end, five different environments have been created (each of which also
offers three more specific variants) to promote the necessary
LEF: the Recipe for Success
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Preliminary Research
We began this project with a short study among the faci-
‘approach signal’ – people become calm, take on an open
litators. We asked them which spaces they used the most,
attitude and are more creative. Red emits an ‘avoidance
and to what psychological or other end. A large majority of
signal’ – people become concentrated, analytical and
the facilitators responded, and their goals (and therefore
also the participating groups) were classified into three
broader categories, which provided the basic structure for
our further research:
1) Openness and cooperativity. Openness is a precondition for many processes. Some groups come to LEF with
the aim of solving a concrete problem. Sometimes the
creation or ‘repair’ of mutual trust is also important.
2) Creativity. This requires little explanation. A creative,
outside-the-box attitude is very important for many
groups that work at LEF.
3) Focus, concentration and productivity. At LEF this is
not an end in itself, but an important stage in a wide
range of different processes. The implementation of a
creative solution often also requires a stage in which
concentration and focused thought are important.
These three basic elements also appear in the measurements in the experiment, both in the basic mindset
measurements (self-disclosure measures 1; the Navon
task measures 2 and 3) as well as the more concrete
behavioural measurements.
Determining which spaces to study also demanded important consideration. Of course a control environment
is needed, for which we selected a normal, rather boring
office space. Our choice of experimental spaces emerged
from a compromise: we chose the two spaces that were
used most often by the facilitators, as well as two spaces
that we expected would deliver good results based on the
literature study.
The two most-used spaces were the ‘living room with fireplace’ and the ‘creative work area’. Based on our literature
study (for more details, see the Appendix), we also selected
a blue room and a red room. Colours often exert a very
direct influence on psychological processes. Blue emits an
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Navon task. This task indicates the extent to which people
Overview and participants
think in an abstract, global fashion, as well as the opposite –
how much they think in a concrete and detailed fashion. Do
Ninety test subjects participated in this experiment
people see the forest as a whole, or the individual trees? This
(53% male and 47% female), with an average age
task has proven to be extremely important in psychological
of 38.7 (SD = 11.0). Each participant completed the
research, with scores showing a correlation with various types
series of tests in two of the five spaces. Each space was
of behaviour. For example, thinking globally leads to greater
therefore used by 36 test subjects.
creativity, and detailed thought to more concrete problemsolving ability and productivity. Test subjects were shown 50
large letters that were made up of smaller letters (e.g. a large
Procedure and materials
‘H’ made up of small copies of the letter ‘x’). During one of the
sessions, test subjects had to press the large letter that was
Manipulation: Spaces
formed by the small letters as quickly as possible. In the other,
The experiment made use of five different environments at LEF
test subjects had to press the letter that the larger letter was
future center, taking into consideration the aims of the groups that
made up of as fast as possible.
make use of LEF. Firstly, two spaces were used that are used often
by facilitators: the ‘living room’ setting and the ‘work area’ setting.
2. Concrete behavioural measurements
Two rooms were also set up based on our own literature study.
Pasta names. This task measures creativity, in particular
One room with lots of blue light was used to promote creativity,
thinking ‘outside the box’, as well as productivity. The task
as well as one dominated by red light for focused work. The fifth
was introduced as a test of linguistic ability: test subjects were
room served as the control, and was a plain, somewhat boring
asked to come up with new names for different types of pasta.
meeting room elsewhere in the building. The experiment was car-
In the instructions, five examples of pasta names were given
ried out using laptops that had been placed in the relevant rooms.
that all ended in the letter ‘i’. The test subjects were then given
one minute to write down as many new pasta names as pos-
sible. Two things can be measured using this task: the number
1. Basic mindset measurements
of words that people think of reflects how productive they are;
Self-disclosure. Many psychological processes that are facili-
however, the crux is that creativity results in people deviating
tated at LEF (tackling problems as a group, solving simmering
from the examples (thinking of names that do not end in
conflicts, etc.) require an open and cooperative attitude from
‘i’). The number of original solutions is therefore considered
participants, so that they speak honestly about what they
think and feel. It is for this reason that we included a self-disclosure measurement. The test subjects indicated the extent
Remote Associates Test. Test subjects were asked to com-
to which they 1) revealed information and facts, 2) showed
plete a 10-item Remote Associates Test (RAT). This test is often
emotions and 3) divulged their thoughts to their partner
used to measure creativity, and in particular the creativity
during the negotiation process (see below). The measurement
required to solve concrete problems. Each RAT contains three
was taken using a 7-point scale (ranging from ‘completely
words that all have something in common, and participants
untrue’ to ‘completely true’). An overall self-disclosure score
are asked to find a fourth word that can be related to the other
was calculated by taking the average of these three items
three. For example, the word ‘boat’ can be related to the three
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 9 of 40
words ‘tug’, ‘gravy’ and ‘show’. Each participant responded to
Amount ‘x’ is a measurement of the level of trust that the
20 items in total.
participant has in the partner.
Negotiation. As the name suggests, this task relates to how
effectively people can negotiate. Participants were assigned
one of two roles (purchaser or salesperson). Couples were then
assigned who did not know each other, in order to negotiate
the sale or purchase of 50 refrigerators [cf. 4]. There were four
aspects to be discussed: price, warranty, delivery deadlines
and payment deadlines. Five options were available under
each aspect. Each negotiator received an outline containing
information on his/her returns, but without any information
on the other negotiator. The task is integrative, in the sense
that the aspect most important to the purchaser (i.e. the
payment terms) meant little to the salesperson, and the aspect
least important to the purchaser (i.e. the price) was the most
important to the salesperson. If pairs make large concessions
on the less important aspects, the mutual gain is greater than
opting for the less ideal 50-50 split. When participants carried out this task for the second time, they had to negotiate
terms and conditions of employment: salary, salary increases,
holidays and health insurance. Participants also changed roles:
purchasers became the union (= salesperson) and salespeople
became the management (= purchaser). They were given ten
minutes to reach an agreement. They were also told that they
could win €10 if they managed to beat their partner at the
Trust game. As the name suggests, this game was about
measuring trust. The participants were told that they were
to perform a task with somebody in another room, for which
the computer would make a wireless connection to another
computer. Participants were told that from the €10 they had
perhaps won, they could elect to give part of it (amount ‘x’)
to the other participant. This amount would then be tripled
and sent to the partner, who would then receive information
on how much the participant had given them, and would be
able to split the amount. In reality, this partner did not exist.
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Navon task. This task also demonstrated positive effects.
We performed two analyses on each of the measu-
Although there was no general impact of LEF, this was not to
rements. The first analysis jointly compared the four
be expected given that some spaces are supposed to encou-
experimental spaces with the normal office space,
rage thinking globally, and others should promote detailed
which gives an impression of the general impact of
thought. Figure 2 clearly shows that the blue space and the
working at LEF. In a second analysis all spaces were
living room make people think more globally. The first is in
analysed individually, in order to determine the ef-
accordance with the literature, the second with the ideas
fectiveness of the various spaces.
behind LEF. By contrast, the work area made people think in
a more detailed fashion.
Thinking globally
1. Basic mindset measurements
Self-disclosure. As Figure 1 clearly shows, the LEF environments had a clear, positive effect on self-disclosure. The
impact was large and statistically reliable. Which particular
room was used at LEF did not make much difference; in all
rooms people demonstrated more openness than in the
office space. These results are extremely encouraging –
simply bringing people to LEF brings about a more open
Living Room
Work area
Figure 2: Thinking globally
and cooperative attitude. It is also pleasing to note that
the LEF-effects on openness were strongest among people
2. Concrete behavioural measurements
who had spent their first session in the office space. People
who spent their second session in the office (and who had
Pasta names. First we looked at the number of words
therefore already had a session in one of the LEF spaces)
produced, which is a measurement for focus and producti-
were nearly as open as the people in the LEF spaces. This
vity. Figure 3 once again shows the effects that one would
means that the positive effects of LEF continue to work once
predict based on the ideas behind LEF and the academic
the session is over, even if people once again enter a normal
literature. The work area and the red room led to an increase
office environment.
in productivity. Productivity was also linked to educational
background and age – highly educated/younger people were
more productive than less well-educated/older people.
Living Room
Work area
Figure 1: Self-disclosure
LEF: the Recipe for Success
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cooperative in the second session than in the first, which
means that the effect is positive when people have been in the
environment for some time. Scores also showed a correlation
with age – younger people scored more highly.
Number of words
Trust game. How much do we trust the people we work with?
It was very encouraging to see that the LEF environments
scored higher than the office space, which is commensurate
Living Room Work area
with the observation that LEF leads to greater self-disclosure.
Figure 3: Productivity
Number of words
The difference was mainly evident in the blue room and the
work area, where scores were much higher than in the other
Secondly, we examined the number of words that deviated
conditions. One would also expect the same effect in the living
the examples, a recognised measure in psychological
room; however this was not the case. The effects in the blue
Living Room Work area
research for thinking ‘outside the box’. The averages are
given in Figure 4. LEF had a positive effect on creativity.
room and the work area were partly influenced by the session,
However, the difference with the office space is due almost
had positive effects in both sessions; however, the blue room
i.e. how long people had already been working. The work area
to the spectacular effects of the blue room. This is
only had such effects during the second session, where a large
in accordance with the academic literature.
increase in trust was observed.
Creative words
Living Room Work area
Creative words
Living Room Work area
Living Room
Work area
Figure 4: Creativity
Figure 5: Trust
Remote Associates Test. This test showed no differences
In summary, we can conclude that the results are very inte-
between conditions. This is no great surprise: many scientific
resting and relevant. They demonstrate the positive effects of
studies have shown that the test is extremely insensitive,
LEF on 1) openness and cooperativity, 2) creativity and 3) focus
requiring many test subjects to show significant differences.
and productivity.
Negotiation. The results of this test also seemed not to vary
depending on the circumstances, although this seemed to
be because people scored very highly in all conditions, which
meant that they were very cooperative. People were more
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Conclusions and Recommendations
lour. It would be advisable to make use of the easily-manipuLEF works! Working in LEF makes people more open
lable effects of colour in spaces other than the current rooms.
and cooperative, and mutual trust can be increased
The impact of the blue room on creativity in particular is very
using a variety of spaces. Creativity and productivity
can also be enhanced. The effects observed are
mostly in accordance with the LEF philosophy and
The results suggest further research that might focus on two
the academic literature.
1. Testing more spaces, both existing rooms as well as new
experiments with colour. A green room, for example,
It is possible to make people think in a more global fashion by
may give rise to even higher levels of trust. In a more ge-
having them work in the living room, or in a predominantly
neral sense, it is quite conceivable that we would be able
blue room. By contrast, to get people to think in a more
to perform an even more detailed analysis of the effects
detailed way, the work area or a predominantly red room
of the spaces. This could lead to a simple ‘handbook’ for
are good choices. People become more creative in the blue
facilitators, enabling the recommendation of a suitable
space, and more productive in the red room and the work
room for each intended psychological process. This is al-
area. Openness and cooperativity improve in all of the rooms
ready somewhat possible based on the present research;
studied at LEF.
however, it would still be quite incomplete. Nonetheless,
the results of the current study (which suggest that the
Using the various rooms for different purposes is a logical
effects of the spaces can be easily measured) do clearly
step based on the results and the two short paragraphs
show that the idea of making such a handbook is a very
above. However, the following must be kept in mind when
feasible one.
interpreting the effects:
2. A subsequent study could have people work for a longer
1. The test subjects worked at LEF for approximately 25
period at LEF, in order to more closely approximate the
minutes per session. In reality, sessions at LEF are much
effects of a real session. Do the effects remain the same?
longer, and it would seem reasonable to assume that the
Are they even more pronounced? And do the effects of
impact on behaviour is even more pronounced in reality
LEF remain evident after several hours, or do people
than in the study.
become habituated? These are questions that can be
answered by using a setting that more closely resembles
2. People work at LEF under the guidance of facilitators, who
the manner in which customers make use of LEF.
can (and do) enhance the effects of the spaces. This is also
a reason why we can assume that the actual effects at
LEF are even greater than those observed in the study.A
number of recommendations can be made based on the
study (besides the usual ‘Keep up the good work!’):
Although the atmosphere in the various LEF spaces clearly has
an effect, these effects are clearly less direct than those of co-
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 13 of 36
Appendix: Literature Study
and Wolfgang Schnelle developed the Bürolandschaft, or
Bitner (1992) [1] – ‘… there is a surprising lack of
‘open office’: a design approach that replaced fixed walls and
empirical research or theoretically based frameworks
structures with movable screens, flower boxes and adjustable
addressing the role of physical surroundings in (con-
furniture to improve the flow of communication. The aim was
sumption) settings. Managers continually plan, build,
to make the environment more responsive to change and
and change an organization’s physical surroundings in
to promote communication. Nowadays – since work is less
an attempt to control its influence on patrons, without
dependent on time and place, but is at the same time more
really knowing the impact of a specific design or
complex, creative and knowledge-based – work environments
atmospheric change on its users.’
are once again undergoing a metamorphosis. Organisations
are increasingly dependent on innovation, triggering them to
set up ‘innovation laboratories’. The fields of occupational and
As the above citation illustrates, the relationship between
organisational psychology and business administration look
physical surroundings and psychological processes is a
mainly at how the working environment influences productivi-
complex one. One of the first studies in as early as 1933
ty, performance, employee satisfaction, well-being and stress.
already demonstrated the complexity of the way in which
Although the physical design of the environment will only
we are influenced by our environment. Researchers wanted
affect part of people’s behaviour, it can foster the emergence
to see how they could increase employee productivity in the
of certain activities, such as teamwork and cooperation.
American Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne factory.
But no matter what they did – changing the lighting, cleaning
The healthcare sector has traditionally examined the influence
workspaces and floors, altering the wage structure, offering
of the environment in terms of its functionality within the sys-
more breaks and rearranging the workplace – productivity
tem; nowadays the focus is more on ‘healing environments’, or
actually always increased (sometimes temporarily). In the end,
how the surroundings can psychologically support the healing
somebody suggested that the effect was due to the interest
process [2]. The physical environment can make a difference in
shown in the employees by the researchers. Nowadays this is
how quickly patients recover from acute or chronic conditions.
the classic anecdote used to explain the concept of reactivity,
The main focus here is on stress, post-operative recovery, use
in which test subjects alter their measured behaviour as a
of medication or the length of a hospital stay.
response to their behaviour being measured. Today data is still
re-analysed sometimes, revealing new explanations for the
It was not until 1973, sparked by an article by Phillip Kotler,
observed effects, such as seasonal temperatures and the ef-
that people began conducting systematic research into the
fects of learning. Such results serve to reiterate the complexity
individual effects of atmospherics on consumer behaviour. He
of the relationship.
defined the term ‘atmospherics’ as the deliberate control and
structuring of environmental variables. The idea of atmosp-
In those days workplaces were still often made up of long
herics is that consumers can be put into the right mood and
rows of identical desks or long tables, where employees
therefore encouraged to make purchases. Research in this field
stood repeating the same actions over and over again.
has been mainly focused on shopping environments and be-
These systems were based on the ideas of engineers such as
haviour, such as the amount of time and money spent in stores
Frederick Taylor, and made popular by Henry Ford. A major
by consumers. They are often regarded as peripheral stimuli
workplace change occurred in around 1959, when Eberhard
that influence consumers at a subconscious level.
Page 14 of 26
Definitions and objectives
One relevant subdivision of the physical environment is into
The first section will examine in greater detail the scientific
three parts: architectural elements (e.g. permanent aspects,
rationales that have been used in setting up or improving
such as the size and the location of doors and windows), interior
other future centers. Then we will consider how the environ-
design elements (e.g. less permanent aspects such as colours
ment can have a subconscious effect on our behaviour. We will
and furniture), and atmospheric elements (e.g. lighting, sound,
examine how it is possible that we sometimes unintentionally
temperature and smell). In most cases, people’s exposure to
imitate others, why we improve our eating manners when we
elements from the physical environment, or ‘stimulus objects’,
smell cleaning products, and why we talk more quietly in a
is passive – this is in contrast to interactional objects, such as
library. After that we take a closer look at the individual effects
computers or people. These stimulus objects can bring about a
of environmental stimuli, such as colours and lighting. Given
direct physiological response, or can influence people through
that this study is directed mostly at the effects that these envi-
psychological reactions. The latter process may be cognitive
ronmental stimuli have on our mood, we will first give a brief
or emotional in nature. For example, exposure to a cold room
outline of how mood subconsciously influences our behavi-
may cause you to start shivering, but it may also improve your
our, and what the effects are. For example: one might expect
concentration and performance of a specific task. Physiological
that being in a good mood is always preferable. However, if
and psychological responses are sometimes strongly intercon-
our mood is too positive we are less critical, and more easily
nected. For this report, we will use the following definition of
convinced by poor arguments. Then we will look at the specific
physical environmental stimuli:
effects of music, noise, smells, colours, lighting, temperature,
floors, walls, furniture, accessories and interior. No two people
Physical environmental stimuli form part of the working
associate exactly the same things with colour, music or furni-
environment and can be subdivided into atmospheric,
ture, which means that a room will influence everybody dif-
architectural or interior design elements; are pure stimulus
ferently. However, evolutionary psychology seems to provide
objects (i.e. non-interactional); and influence our behaviour
indications that some of the effects of physical environmental
to a greater or lesser degree through the mediating effects of
stimuli can be generalised. The final section of the introduction
psychological processes.
will address this aspect.
The purpose of this study is to examine how a range of physical environmental stimuli affect psychological processes,
and therefore our behaviour. With reference to LEF future
center, we are particularly interested in the effects on specific
psychological processes, such as thinking creatively. Although
the amount of research in this area is still quite small, the research that has been conducted does enable us to formulate
some theories and possibly explain the observed effects.
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 15 of 36
Future centers
The physical environment is a core concept of future centers:
The first future center was conceived by Leif Edvins-
it supplies the physical, virtual and mental surroundings.
son, who developed Skandia for a Swedish insurance
Although they are called future centers, the environment does
company in 1997. Since that time, many more have
not necessarily have to be futuristic. In these spaces, thought
been built in both the public and the private sector.
and action are combined to produce the desired results. They
Future centers are generally described as facilitatory
are viewed as ‘innovation spaces’, or spaces within an organi-
working environments that use pro-active, collabo-
sation used to support creativity and innovation. Despite the
rative and systematic methods to help prepare an
interest in future centers on the part of companies, organi-
organisation for the future. They are used to generate
sations and governments, little is known about the influence
knowledge and put it to use, to develop innovations
that physical environments can have on these processes. The
and to bring various groups of people together. They
literature does indicate, however, that the environment has a
can be roughly categorised into commercial future
large impact on people’s well-being and mood, and that being
centers, public-sector future centers (developed by a
in good spirits has a positive effect on creativity and innova-
public organisation such as a ministry or other gover-
tion (see Mood & Behaviour). There are also indications that
nment authority to channel future developments at a
a good fit between the environment and the creative process
national level) and regional future centers.
forms part of a successful formula. Teresa Amabile from the
Harvard Business School also provides some indications of
which design features an environment needs in order to pro-
A future center is made up of many interconnected elements.
mote creativity: freedom, challenge, resources (e.g. informa-
The interaction between individuals (e.g. intellect, skills,
tion, facilities), a leader, co-workers, recognition and feedback,
personality) and groups (e.g. size, heterogeneity/homogeneity)
unity and cooperation, and ‘fans’ of creativity. As barriers, she
produces new and innovative ideas. However, aspects such
mentions time pressures, evaluation (e.g. the threat thereof,
as the relevant field (e.g. theoretical/practical, reductionistic/
or negativity), the status quo (i.e. avoiding risks) and political
holistic), task-specific variables (e.g. simple/complex, routine/
problems (e.g. competition). However, specific literature on
new), the organisation initiating the project (e.g. culture,
which elements produce creativity and innovation (and when)
leadership) and the environment in which the organisation
is not available. It seems as though organisations develop
operates (worldwide/local, booming/shrinking economy)
these spaces based purely on intuition and instinct – which is
also play an important role (see Figure 1). Lastly, we will look
not necessarily a bad thing.
more specifically at the physical environment (e.g. atmosphere
and architecture). The physical space forms the foundation
The physical environment and creativity
for the perceived space, the purpose of which is to stimulate
psychological processes. The perceived space is the subjective
However, there are researchers who have tried to identify
representation of the same physical, objectively perceivable
links between the physical environment and stages in the
space. This project will look at the qualitative characteristics
creative process. For example, Tore Kristensen proposes that
of a space (e.g. atmosphere), as opposed to the quantitative
the creative process consists of various linear stages, each of
characteristics (e.g. the number of people per minute who can
which requires a different physical environment: the prepa-
pass through a revolving door).
ration stage, the incubation stage, the insight stage, and the
elaboration and evaluation stage [3]. During the preparation
Page 16 of 36
stage, data and information are provided for the process.
However, Udo-Ernst Haner from the University of Stuttgart
Frameworks are exchanged, and common goals are set so
suggests that we may contest the linear nature of this model,
that everybody is on the same page. The space must therefore
as though the creative process always follows this sequence
facilitate the exchange, recording and organisation of informa-
[4]. Nobel prize winners often describe their discoveries as a
tion. Some possible ideas include flip charts, computers and
chaotic and complex process, in which they are pulled back
large tables where ideas can be discussed. The incubation
and forth between the stages named above. According to
phase is a mostly personal one. One way to allow incubation
Haner, a distinction needs to be made between convergent
to take place is to carry out a different, irrelevant task, or
and divergent creative processes. Convergent thought can be
simply to relax. The process of solving the problem, however,
described as thought focused on a single answer, whereas di-
continues subconsciously. If people remain in the same room,
vergent thought is aimed at several points, creating conflicting
the information from the preparation stage can serve as a
ideas, paradoxes, ambiguity, doubt and therefore new insights.
trigger (i.e. a ‘prime’). Some people like to be alone, others look
During the preparation and elaboration/evaluation stages
for company. Space must therefore be available for people to
of the creative process it is better to think in a convergent,
talk, or to sit by themselves. During the insight stage, people
focused manner; divergence is considered more fitting during
will hopefully experience a ‘eureka moment’. People need to
the incubation and insight stages. Haner has also examined
be able to sit together, where it is possible to present ideas.
the influence of the environment on individual and group
During the elaboration and evaluation stage, the results are
work. Individuals are the basis of creativity, but sometimes
examined and assessed. Here, the space must be conducive to
it is better to work in teams. A working space must therefore
focused and detailed analysis. Kristensen also believes that it
support both groups and individuals, as well as convergence
is possible to distinguish between four creative sub-processes
and divergence.
that are all strongly interrelated: creation of value, scaffolding,
imagination and materialisation. Creation of value is most
James Moultrie and fellow researchers (including those above)
important during the first phase: setting the objectives that
have attempted to develop a framework for structuring
match those of the organisation and that map out the path
research into innovative spaces such as future centers (see
for the entire process. Scaffolding is important during the
Figure 6) [5].
incubation phase, when the creative process takes place within
the context of space, instruments, people and information. Or
in other words: when cognitive processes are influenced by the
environment in which they occur. Once we enter the insight
phase, imagination becomes important – the representation in our mind of something that does not yet exist. This
is the mediating process between existing knowledge, and
knowledge that has been integrated into new knowledge. In
the final phase, ideas are materialised. It is a known fact that
we are able to remember things better if we try to remember
them in the same room where we learned them. It is therefore
imperative to write down or sketch budding ideas straight
away, before leaving the space and forgetting the idea.
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 17 of 36
Strategic goals
Symbolic goals
Customer input
Cultural change
• Intended link with
innovation process
• Intended creative
• Potential users
& facilitators
• Available resourche
& constraints
• Intended events
Geographic location
Real vs virtual
Design values & imagery
IT resources
Data & information
Modelling & visualisation
• Constraints
• Evolution
Proces of
• Supporting
• Supporting
• Supporting
• Enabling
• Actual users
& facilitators
• Actual events
of use
• Archievement
of strategic intent
• Qualitative
& quantitative
Strategic & operational context
Figure 6: Transitional Framework of Innovation Spaces (from Moultrie et
for an inspiring location for people to meet and search for creative
al., 2007).
ideas, solutions to problems, and scenario planning. Based on
these needs, a vision document was drawn up listing the intended
This model is particularly useful in the development, use,
goals and use of the future center. During the creation process,
modification and assessment of LEF future center, as it describes
a metaphor for the set goals was sought (in this case, the Dutch
the entire innovation process in relation to the physical space. It
East India Company’s ship Batavia) and rooms were designed
shows how the strategic intent can be made concrete through a
with various functionalities. The users of these rooms believed
physical space. The product of this process is the realised intent.
that learning was a process of interaction between people. In
Testing this product against the physical space and the strategic
relation to the process of using the rooms, they were therefore
intent gives us new knowledge on what effect the physical space
free to do as they pleased. The need also arose for advice and/or
has had. This produces a learning cycle that should result in adjus-
process facilitation. Lastly, the results were evaluated – Was the
tments and changes.
strategic intent achieved? Did the rooms give rise to inspiration,
interaction, information exchange and innovations? And do the
Remco ven der Lugt and his fellow researchers from the Delft Uni-
physical spaces assist the processes they were meant to support?
versity of Technology used this model in an in-depth case study of
If people do not communicate with each other during lunch
the future center of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration,
because everybody is sitting at long tables, then something needs
called ‘The Wharf’ (De Werf) [6]. It shows how the model works. In
to change. This learning cycle means that The Wharf is continually
terms of strategic intent, the Tax Authority had developed a need
changed and adapted.
Page 18 of 36
One of the few studies into the effects of physical stimuli
the incubation stage [8]. It seems that creative ideas often
on creativity was conducted by McCoy and Evans [7]. They
emerge during periods when we are not actively thinking
showed test subjects various pictures of classrooms, waiting
about the problem, but when we leave it alone. Then,
rooms, libraries, offices, living rooms, hallways, restaurants,
following a period of subconscious thought, the creative
sports facilities and shopping environments. The photo-
idea suddenly appears: ‘Eureka!’ This is often explained by
graphs were then all laid before the participants, who were
taking a ‘fresh look’ at a problem, or setting it aside tem-
asked: ’If you had to solve a specific problem and needed to
porarily and then viewing it from a different perspective.
come up with lots of new ideas, where would you most likely
This explanation implies that subconscious processes do
go?’ The test subjects believed that complex and detai-
not play a role; the problem is solved because the conscious
led spaces (e.g. containing books, lamps, carpets and art),
mind does something else for a while. However, the term
wooden floors or walls, and nature (e.g. plants, natural stone,
‘incubation’ suggests more the influence of the subcon-
a view) would increase the potential for creativity – imagine
scious, an active contribution to the creative process.
an old shed or a skiing hut. Nature therefore seems very
Following Haner’s reasoning, the conscious mind should
important (see ‘A Day on the Savannah’). They also recog-
work more convergently and the subconscious mind more
nised the importance of windows: not only do windows draw
divergently, making it more creative. In a series of three
nature inside, but they also create a feeling of autonomy
experiments, Dijksterhuis demonstrates that subconscious
and control over the environment. People feel trapped in a
processes do not simply wait on the creative sidelines.
room without windows; there is no possibility for change,
In the experiments the test subjects had to think actively
such as drawing the curtains. Views also create diversion and
about the solution to a problem for three minutes, or the
prompt unconventional thoughts. Furniture also seems to
problem was presented to them but after three minutes
have a stimulating effect given that it emanates comfort, but
they had to complete a different task. This meant that they
more importantly because it also provides the opportunity to
were unable to think consciously about the solution to the
engage in social interactions such as cooperation. It is well-
problem. In the first experiment the test subjects had to
known that social support, encouragement and cooperation
name as many different types of pasta as they could; five
promote creativity. On the other hand, cold colours and
examples were given, all of which ended with an ‘i’ (i.e. an
synthetically manufactured materials such as concrete and
implicit rule). When they had worked on the problem con-
metal have a negative effect: imagine the interior of a dull
sciously, they gave more names that ended in ‘i’, while the
meeting room. In a second study they had people create pa-
group that had thought subconsciously about the problem
per collages in a room that either was or was not expected to
gave more names that ended in something else. The latter
encourage creativity. It turned out that people in the creative
group was therefore more creative, and did not think as
space did indeed express themselves in the collages in more
much in terms of the rule that all names had to end in an ‘i’.
interesting, unconventional and clever ways.
In a second experiment, they had to name cities and towns.
Test subjects who had thought subconsciously about the
We have seen that the creative process consists of various
problem named more small, relatively unknown towns. In
stages, and that the environment can offer support to the
the third experiment, subconscious thought led to more
creative process during these stages. Ap Dijksterhuis and
creative and unconventional ideas for what you could do
Teun Meurs have examined which psychological process
with a brick. Divergent thought and subconscious processes
lies at the basis of creativity, and more specifically during
therefore seem to play an important part in creativity.
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 19 of 36
Subconscious Processes
However, subconscious processes play an important
part in our day-to-day lives. A significant part of our
Imitative behaviour
behaviour is completely independent of conscious
When we are enjoying a glass of wine on the couch in the
processes. Our environment also has a large sub-
evening and we see that the person we are with has his/
conscious impact on us. Nonetheless, people such as
her legs crossed, we often imitate this behaviour without
consumers are often viewed as deliberate decision-
thinking about it. And when we see two people being all
makers. When we go to a shop and wish to make a
lovey-dovey in a restaurant, they are often sitting in exactly
purchase, we believe that we consider things properly
the same position. We subconsciously imitate what we see –
before making a decision. Often, however, we do
but why? Seeing somebody with their legs crossed activates
not [9]. In his book, American psychologist Robert
the same representation of the behaviour in our minds as
Cialdini talks about ‘click-zoom’ responses [10], or
if we had crossed our own legs. By doing what others do,
the fact that certain environmental stimuli have a
we understand what they do. Even just the activation of a
direct impact on our behaviour. For example: we see
representation like this is enough to stimulate our muscles
a shop sign that says ‘while stocks last’, which tells us
into adopting the same behaviour. As the example shows,
that now is the only time we can make the purchase
this behaviour can be activated through perception, but also
(click), whereupon we place the product in our trolley
by thought, e.g. if you think about sitting properly. The third
almost automatically (zoom). Then we get home and
way of activating this type of representation is by making a
ask ourselves why on earth we bought that red wine
deliberate decision, such as if you reason with yourself that
when we only drink rosé. Much of our behaviour is
it would be better to sit a little differently. The first two of
subconscious, and not exclusively the result of well-
these options clearly show that a major part of our behaviour
considered planning.
stems from subconscious processes, and is independent of
conscious processes [11].
We can assume that there are many factors in a range of
As mentioned above, we understand our social partners
environments that influence our behaviour, subconsciously
better when we imitate them. One could say that imitation
or otherwise. Here we will look more specifically at subcon-
ensures that we interact with each other correctly. The fact
scious influences. After all, it does not seem reasonable to
that imitation is important to us is demonstrated by the fact
think that visitors to the living room/fireplace preset con-
that we like people more when they imitate us. Rick van Baa-
sciously perceive everything in the environment, and during
ren found a fun way to demonstrate the effects of imitative
group discussions continually make a deliberate decision to
behaviour [12]. Waitresses in a restaurant were instructed to
behave in an open and informal manner. The facilitator may
repeat customers’ orders back to them exactly (or not to do
point this out at the start of the discussion; however, if the
so). Tips were higher whenever the order was repeated ver-
presets are doing their job properly the environment should
batim, and when the order was not repeated they dropped,
stimulate the participants subconsciously. To understand
even falling below the average amount that they normally
the workings of this process, we will take a more in-depth
received. It also works the other way around – the more we
look at two lines of research, referred to here for conveni-
like someone, the more we imitate them. This explains why
ence as ‘mimicry’ and ‘goal-oriented behaviour’.
couples in love often sit or stand the same way.
Page 20 of 36
Advanced imitation
center, this means that priming people with certain goals,
It is not only other people’s actual behaviour that influences
stereotypes or characteristics would make them more likely to
our own behaviour through imitation, but also the associati-
exhibit a desired behaviour, such as creativity.
ons that we have with others. Seeing a man in a suit step into
an expensive car will activate a representation in our minds
People can be primed in ways other than simply exposing
of the stereotypical businessman, after which we then ‘see’ a
them to words. Ron Holland and his colleagues demonstrated
businessman, as it were. Other representations of the stereo-
that when test subjects sat in a room that smelled of fresh cle-
type can then also become activated, causing us to ‘see’ that
aning products, they were less messy when eating a traditional
he is busy and eats in expensive restaurants.
Dutch beschuit (a very crumbly, toast-like biscuit). Environmental variables (such as scents) can therefore also be used to
American researcher John Bargh designed a clever experiment
activate certain representations and trigger certain behaviours.
to study the effects of this phenomenon [13]. He speculated
The above shows that the relationship between perception
that even just supplying words that describe such a stereotype
and behaviour is very strong. At a subconscious level we adapt
can activate a representation (called ‘priming’), which will
our behaviour to the environment in which we find ourselves.
then influence behaviour. He exposed test subjects to words
Designs for creative spaces often assume that the space must
associated with the elderly (e.g. bingo, grey, old, etc.). When
represent some sort of metaphor for our cognition; that what
leaving the building, the test subjects needed to walk some
we perceive has comparable effects on our cognition. As long
distance to the lift, and the time it took them to do so was
as the room is playful enough, then our thoughts will also
measured. It turned out that people who had been exposed
be playful and creative. Although this assumption was often
to words related to the stereotype took longer to get to the lift
based on intuition, it does seem to contain a grain of truth.
than people who had not been exposed to the same words. In
other words, people exhibited behaviour (i.e. walking slowly)
Goal-oriented behaviour
that correlated to the activated stereotype.
We have just looked at why we imitate relatively simple perWe can also take things one step further, because in addition
ceived behaviour. We have also seen that we sometimes also
to behaviour, cognitive processes can also be imitated under
imitate behaviour that we do not actually see, but derive from
the influence of the environment. During an experiment, test
our assumptions and associations. Things that we derive from
subjects needed to write down as many words as possible
stereotypes, for example, automatically lead to corresponding
that they associated with professors, in order to activate the
intelligence stereotype [14]. Then, in a seemingly unrelated
As well as imitation, striving to achieve goals can also lead to au-
task, they had to answer 42 general questions from the game
tomatic, subconscious behaviour. Activating a goal leads to the
‘Trivial Pursuit’. Participants who had been primed with intel-
setting of an objective, which can in turn lead to the behaviour
ligence answered more questions correctly than test subjects
required to achieve the goal. Seeing your boss, for example, can
who had not. A previous experiment had demonstrated the
activate the goal to perform well, which makes you work harder
opposite effect: that thinking of football hooligans led to
without you even realising it.
poorer performance. People can be made to be brutal, polite,
helpful, cooperative, competitive, aggressive, neat, sloppy,
One study relevant to LEF future center, conducted by Utrecht
fast, slow – and the list goes on [11]. In terms of LEF future
psychologist Henk Aarts in collaboration with Ap Dijksterhuis
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 21 of 36
[15], shows that environments are able to influence behaviour.
by how they think significant others behave in similar
In an initial experiment, they had a group of test subjects look
situations. From the participants’ perspective, the facilita-
at an image of a library. They were told to inspect it thoroughly,
tor (or boss, manager, etc.) could function as this type of
and also informed that they would be visiting the library later.
significant other. It is therefore important that this person
A third group was also shown the same picture, but received
communicates the desired behaviour. Visitors may not
no further instructions. Test subjects who had a goal (i.e.
automatically make the association between the surroun-
going to the library) and had been shown a picture proved to
dings and the desired behaviour. However, it is still possible
respond more quickly to words relating to silence. A second
to emphasise what the desired behaviour is.
experiment demonstrated that showing a picture of a library
not only influences our cognition, but also our behaviour.
Thirdly, it has been shown that people (thankfully!) do
Test subjects who were asked to read words aloud spoke
not need a lot of experience with the situation in order to
more softly after having seen the picture of the library. This
pick up what the desired behaviour is. People therefore
is because the situation reminds us of what the norm (or the
do not need to have learned through experience that the
goal) is in that specific situation. This occurs subconsciously
work area/creative preset is intended for creative thought.
and unintentionally; in other words, no instructions need to be
However, the more that people associate an environment
given. In a third experiment people were asked to eat a traditi-
with desired behaviour (e.g. through experience), the more
onal Dutch beschuit. People who had seen a picture of a fancy
their behaviour is influenced. The more frequently people
restaurant more often wiped away the crumbs that inevitably
have been exposed to the work area/creative preset and
fall when eating this crumbly, toast-like biscuit.
have had creative ideas there, the stronger the association
becomes between the preset and creative thought.
This allows us to make three relevant observations. The
subconscious and other effects of the surroundings on our
behaviour are stronger if exposure to the environment is
goal-oriented. We are more receptive to the influence of the
environment if we use it as it is intended. People studying
in the library are quieter than people who just need to walk
through it to get to the other side of the building. In the living
room/fireplace preset, you will be more open if that is your
goal; more so than if you just need to give somebody a status
update. The questionnaire answered by the facilitators showed that the four most-used presets are used roughly for four
different purposes. Aside from the fact that the facilitators’
descriptions all correspond to each other, they also correspond
to the purpose of the preset as described in the moodbook.
Regarding this initial observation, it is important to note that
the facilitators are aware of the purpose for which a preset
ought to be used, and that everybody agrees on this point.
Secondly, people allow their behaviour to be influenced
Page 22 of 36
Mood and Behaviour
single-cell organisms through to animals and people. The choice
Approach and avoidance motivation
to either approach or avoid something has always been an important adaptive decision in our evolutionary history. Research
The research described above clearly shows that the
has shown that we directly evaluate most (if not all) stimuli in
environment does affect us subconsciously. However,
our environment in terms of positivity/negativity. This system is
given that this is recent research into cognitive psy-
also represented in our bodies in various ways, such as in the re-
chology, the terminology and explanatory paradigms
flexes from the spinal cord, and in cortical/subcortical processes.
do not always correspond exactly to (possibly older)
research into consumer and environmental psychology.
As stated in the definition, psychological responses can
be either cognitive or emotional in nature. However,
As stated above, we evaluate all of the stimuli around us. The
the influence of environmental stimuli within these
response to these evaluations can be termed briefly an ‘affec-
disciplines in particular is under-researched, and the
tive’ response (i.e. mood-related), and is very fast and automatic
effects are usually explained using the regulating
– notice how many feelings you experience upon hearing the
function of mood, and not so much cognition. Mood is
word ‘darling’ or ‘fighting’. We never see just a house, we see ei-
also used to explain aspects such as intuition, instinct
ther a beautiful or an ugly house. The same Bob Zajonc exposed
or subconscious processes. For example, in 1980 Bob
test subjects to images of happy or angry faces for either 4 mil-
Zajonc posited that mood is primary, i.e. that it is activa-
liseconds or 1 second. After seeing the images, they were shown
ted before cognition and does not need it. This will be
Chinese characters and had to say what they thought of them. It
discussed further below. However, we do need to keep
turned out that not being given the chance to consciously per-
in mind that the underlying idea remains the same: we
ceive the faces (i.e. the 4ms-group) influenced how pretty the
are often unaware of the effects that the surroundings
test subjects found the Chinese characters. Subjects who had
have on our behaviour.
been able to consciously perceive the faces corrected for their
emotions. These subtle feelings activate representations in our
minds: if they are pleasant, we become motivated to reproduce
Put simply, a stimulus-organism-response (SOR) model is often
them. If the representations are unpleasant, they motivate us
assumed, in which the elements of a space lead to an evaluation
to avoid the associated feelings. If you have ever burned your
and then to a response. Although behaviour can stem from
fingers on the stove, your subsequent approach to the stove
many sources, the approach and avoidance paradigm is often
will evoke negative feelings and representations, the purpose of
used as an explanatory model for behaviour [16]. Approach
which is to keep you from burning your fingers again.
motivation can be created by something positive that is not
present, or by the desire to retain something positive that is
Here, behaviour as a function of mood is an associative process.
present. In the same manner, avoidance can be generated by
If you always took pink medicine as a child, and therefore lear-
the desire to keep a negative thing at bay, or to distance oneself
ned to associate pink with illness, it is not advisable to paint your
from something negative that has appeared. This instigates
room pink when you are older. If you do, you may experience
a psychological response, which then may or may not be
a constant feeling of unpleasantness in the room (i.e. an avoi-
converted into behaviour. Approach and avoidance motivation
dance motivation), though you may not realise why. However,
is fundamental to behaviour [17], and can be observed from
behaviour can also stem from a cognitive associative process.
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 23 of 36
Seeing a painting of the sea can serve as a reminder, and trigger
mood, we often use standard rules (i.e. heuristics), but when
you to book a holiday. However, it can also call up positive emo-
in a less happy mood we process the information at a deeper
tions. The relationship between these two associative processes
level. Good arguments are therefore particularly important
is complex. What is more, no two people associate exactly the
when we are in a bad mood, whereas the number of arguments
same things with colour, music or furniture, which means that
(even though they may be bad ones) is more important when
a room will influence everybody differently. For example, one
we are in a good mood. In short, when we are in a good mood
person may associate red mostly with danger, and another
we process information more superficially; we use standard
with love and companionship. Everybody has individual ‘place
rules, make decisions quickly and avoid rigorous thought
memories’, which are supposed to influence the furnishings of
processes. The advantage of this is that we are often more
a room. It is important to find out which environmental stimuli
open-minded, creative, constructive and flexible. By contrast, a
are the key to creating a successful environment.
negative frame of mind will lead to systematic, meticulous and
intensive processing of information. This is in accordance with
Research into the influence of shopping environments on
the convergent and divergent thought described earlier. These
our behaviour often describes the results in terms of positive
observations can be logically explained if we see affect as a
and negative affect, and research into affective responses to
means of making decisions, or ‘mood as information’. If it is true
environmental stimuli concentrates mainly on positive affect.
that different situations encourage different moods, then mood
Often the underlying idea is that people should always strive for
can be used as a fast and valid indicator of the situation that one
a positive affect. Despite the fact that we may strive to achieve a
is in. When we are in a bad mood (which often means that we
positive affect, it is nonetheless important to realise that positive
are in a problematic situation), we become motivated to process
and negative affect have different effects within the reper-
our surroundings more systematically. When it is ‘business as
toire. For example, a negative mood will not necessarily have a
usual’, we can rely on traditional knowledge that we already
negative effect on performance. German researchers Herbert
have (i.e. knowledge-driven, top-down), but when the situation
Bless and Klaus Fiedler propose that a good mood supplies the
becomes problematic we prefer to rely on the information that
energy and self-confidence required to demonstrate spontane-
is available (i.e. information-driven, bottom-up).
ous, self-selected and risky behaviour (i.e. assimilation) [18]. This
can affect our behaviour in a variety of ways. A less happy mood
Now that we have seen how mood can have a regulating ef-
leads to ordinary behaviour that conforms with the norms and
fect on our behaviour, we can look at the effects that various
is determined by external and social rules (i.e. accommodation).
atmospherics have thereon.
For example, happy people exhibit more impolite behaviour
and are less reserved, but at the same time they perceive the
same communication as more polite than people in a less happy
mood. They also produce more uncommon associations and
take more risks in negotiations; in other words, they stick less
strictly to rules and strategies. People in a good mood think at
a more abstract level (i.e. animals, elections, opinions) whereas
people in a less happy mood think at a more specific level (i.e.
my sister’s hamster, the Obama election, being in favour of euthanasia). When processing information while we are in a good
Page 24 of 36
pitches (which are seen as sadder), loud music as more lively
In our society, music and sounds are frequently used in areas
and soft as more calming.
such as film, therapy and marketing, often in the belief that
they elicit emotions and can influence or trigger behavi-
Mozart makes you smarter
ours. Patrik Julin and Daniel Västfjäll argue that music can
An article published by the authoritative Nature magazine de-
influence us in various ways [19]. Here we will examine two
monstrated that listening to Mozart temporarily increased peo-
subconscious processes, as participants do not usually listen
ple’s spatial intelligence IQ by 8 or 9 points. This subsequently
consciously to music during LEF sessions.
led to absurd government funding for CDs of classical music for
Firstly, music can have a subconscious effect on us though a
the parents of young children! Two Canadian researchers took
repetitive process whereby we start to associate music with
this issue and set to work [20]: they had test subjects listen to
certain positive and negative memories. This explains why
both Mozart and Albinoni, and once again observed the same
it is always so nice to hear you and your partner’s song, for
effect. But they also looked at the extent of psychological and
example. This process is subconscious, and is even hinde-
physical activation or emotion (i.e. arousal) brought about by
red by conscious attention. It explains why we sometimes
the music, and whether it put people in a positive or negative
like music even though the quality may be poor, or why sad
mood. It turned out that Mozart scored higher on both arousal
music can make us feel happy. This effect brought about by
and mood, leading to a temporary good feeling and therefore
music is therefore extremely personal (i.e. every listener has
higher performance on the spatial intelligence task. A subse-
a different past), and is not concerned with the music itself,
quent study demonstrated this effect in multiple areas, such
but with the associations linked to the music.
as creativity and within other cultures. Nor does it need to be
classical music – familiar music works even better.
Sometimes, however, we listen to a song that we have never
heard before, and yet it still produces associations. The lis-
Music in a shopping environment
tener perceives the expression in the music and imitates this
Some studies have examined the influence of music on com-
expression in his/her mind. This can make us do things such
mercial businesses such as restaurants and shops [21]. The
as subconsciously engage our muscles, or feel rushed. You
positive feeling elicited by Mozart not only leads to enhanced
may sometimes listen to music in a traffic jam and realise
performance (relevant in work situations), but also to appro-
that you are singing along with a contorted face, then quickly
ach motivation, which is relevant to these types of businesses.
look around to see whether any other drivers saw you. This
Whenever a good feeling is created by music, bank customers
can be explained by the fact that music contains patterns
prove to be more willing to start a conversation with the bank
that resemble speech. Our minds respond to them through
teller. In restaurants too, people talk more readily when music
imitation to try to understand what the music is ‘saying’, just
puts them in a good mood, and they also come back more
as we imitate behaviour to understand what other people
often. People are also willing to wait longer for someone if there
are doing. We then sometimes subconsciously distort our
is music playing. Music therefore seems to stimulate approach
faces, or start to sing along. The good thing about music is
that it can do much more than the human voice in terms of
speed, intensity and timbre. Faster music is seen as being
Music can also subconsciously prime customers (i.e. expose
more cheerful, rhythm as more serious than static music,
them to a stimulus) if it matches a certain product or environ-
higher pitches as happier and more stimulating that lower
ment. Shopkeepers who play top-40 songs instead of classical
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 25 of 36
music will sell less wine. Those who play French music sell
sound of an air conditioner. The types of sound we are refer-
more French wine, and playing more German music will sell
ring to here are soft environmental noises (such as speech) at
German wine. Slower music causes people to shop more
around 65dB. The disturbing effects of noise are subconscious
slowly (and therefore spend more), and also eat more slowly
– we cannot control them – but they can have far-reaching
(and spend more money on alcoholic refreshments). If cus-
consequences. Fifteen per cent of all accidents in the British
tomers believe that a certain type of music belongs to a place
air force are caused by distraction, and it is the most com-
such as a restaurant, positive business successes will result,
monly named source of irritation in the workplace. The most
such as higher consumption, more spending, a more positive
disruptive background noises are those with frequent and fast
response to the atmosphere, and customers who stay longer.
variation in pitch and frequency.
The match between the music and the product or environment becomes more important as the number of people
We often have the wrong idea of how we should tackle a
involved increases – the music is therefore more important
background noise problem. Increasing the intensity is hardly
in a car dealership than at a snack counter. Loud music makes
bothersome at all – so asking somebody to keep their voice
people shop faster, increasing the number of items sold per
down will not help. The disturbing effect can be eliminated
minute. The total amount sold, however, remains the same.
through ‘acoustic masking’, so that we can no longer distin-
The atmosphere is even perceived differently under the
guish between the different levels of sound. More distraction
influence of different musical styles.
will therefore occur in a room with little resonance (i.e. the
peaks and troughs remain the same). A child will be able to
Music also seems to bring about purely cognitive effects. People
concentrate more on what the teacher is saying if everybody
who listen to familiar music are less stimulated by their environ-
is whispering than if only two children are whispering to each
ment. They spend less time shopping, yet they believe that they
other. It is sometimes therefore a good idea to add back-
have actually spent more time shopping or waiting in line. This
ground noise. A second method is to clearly distinguish the
may be because we remember the songs that we have heard,
levels of sound; it is better to provide an important warning
giving us the feeling that we have already spent a long time in
to a pilot in a manner different to the way the normal flight
the queue. It is therefore better to play unfamiliar music if the
information is given.
aim is to keep people in a store for longer than they originally
Tasks that involve remembering things have proven to be
very susceptible to the influence of background noise. Being
Music is also often used for relaxation, e.g. during therapy. Pre-
presented with a task that involves determining the meaning
ference, familiarity and experience with the music often prove
of something is also (though a little less) sensitive to distrac-
to be even more important factors for achieving relaxation
tion, but only when the background noise is also meaningful
than the type of music itself, such as ‘easy-listening’ music. This
(as opposed to irrelevant speech or no speech). Tasks based on
means that some people can even relax to the loud music of
strict rules are not affected by noise.
In general, people believe that they are less sensitive to sound
than they actually are, although women are quicker to admit
Although music can of course be very beautiful, we sometimes
their sensitivity. It has also been shown that intellectuals are
also find it extremely annoying, just like people talking or the
less sensitive to distraction, but more sensitive when working
Page 26 of 36
at their best. Lastly, introverted people are more distracted by
ched the product that people were exposed to (i.e. sweets or
noise than extroverted people.
flowers), the participants generated more self-reference, drew
more conclusions and sought out diversity. This was explained
Sound, however, is not always irrelevant and bothersome. If
by the researchers by arguing that the test subjects were using
you are cycling along a narrow street and you hear the appro-
the peripheral (i.e. divergent, creative) route to process infor-
aching rumbling of an enormous truck, you move to the side.
mation. Do you remember that people in a good mood are
For traders, the sound on the floor has always been a predictor
less analytical? In another experiment, 90% of women bought
for changing market conditions. Irrelevant sounds, then, can
the orange-scented nylon stockings, while only 10% bought
activate certain associations that influence our behaviour.
the perfume-free stockings. The women thought that the
nice-smelling stockings were better quality – they were using
Eliminating environmental noise has produced positive effects
heuristics. More recently, 22 out of 35 test subjects thought
in health care; however, the introduction of distracting positive
that Nike shoes looked better in a perfumed changing room
sounds (such as music) has produced ambiguous results.
than in a non-perfumed changing room. In the healthcare
Playing ocean sounds made people sleep more, but music
sector, perfuming a dentist’s waiting room with the smell of
during blood donation resulted in either very positive or very
oranges created a better atmosphere (only among women),
negative evaluations of the environment
reduced tension and increased calmness.
Smells must fit not only the product, but also the music.
Research into smells has concentrated primarily on environ-
Whenever stimulating music is played in combination with sti-
mental or atmospheric smells, i.e. smells not emanating from
mulating smells (e.g. grapefruit), consumers are more satisfied
a specific source [23], with a focus on how pleasant, stimu-
with their shopping experience, demonstrate more approach
lating and intense a smell is. The relationship between smell
behaviour, and make more impulse buys.
and mood seemingly originates from the limbic system in our
brains. This system is a group of structures responsible for
How is it possible that smells influence our behaviour? One
both emotions and the processing of olfactory information – a
explanation is sought, once again, in the effect that smells
strong link between these two has therefore been suggested
have on our mood. Another explanation is that smells affect
by researchers. Although it is difficult for us to name smells,
cognitive processes. An experiment carried out in a casino in
we do have strong approach/avoidance responses to certain
Las Vegas showed that scent affects the amount of money that
smells, demonstrated by the universal aversion to the smell
people put into gambling machines. It was suggested that the
of decomposition. These extreme situations aside, it turns
smells evoke nostalgic memories and associations, improving
out not to matter whether a smell is found to be neutral or
people’s moods.
pleasant, nor how strong the smell is. Whenever any kind of
scent was released into a shopping area, people thought they
had spent less time in the store than they actually had (just as
Colours have always intrigued people, and they therefore play
with music) and the shop was more positively evaluated. In
an important part in cognition and behaviour. People were
terms of behaviour, it seems to be important for the smell to
conducting research into the physiological effects of colour as
fit the product. One experiment exposed test subjects to the
early as the 1970s. It has been shown that red colours have
smell of either chocolate or flowers. Whenever the smell mat-
an inherently arousing and stimulating effect on our minds –
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 27 of 36
blood pressure and heart rate increase, and participants blinked
when the parts were coloured blue, and more practical when
more often. Blue, on the other hand, produces a calming effect.
the parts were coloured red (in contrast to the study by McCoy
However, acquired associations with colour (such as other
and Evans).
people, places or objects) are also important. Two Canadian
Lastly, the researchers demonstrated that we are not aware of
researchers recently studied the influence of colours on test
the influence that colours have on us. They told the test subjects
subjects’ performance of certain tasks, such as creative thinking
that they would have to carry out a task requiring either accuracy
and accuracy [24]. They argued that colours affect us mainly
or creativity, and that they could choose either blue or red as a
through acquired associations: the colour red, for example, can
background colour. Test subjects chose blue in both cases, des-
activate a strong association with danger, subconsciously influ-
pite the fact that red would have been better for accuracy.
encing our behaviour. Contemporary linguistic metaphors also
reflect this phenomenon – take the ‘black market’, ‘green with
Based on this experiment, we can state that different colours are
envy’ and ‘rose-coloured glasses’, for example. The researchers
beneficial depending on the task being performed. Whenever a
suggested that red was often associated with danger, mistakes
task requires accuracy or directed thought (e.g. reaching a deci-
and obedience. Blue, on the other hand, was often associated
sion), red (or another colour that elicits an avoidance response)
with openness, rest and peace. The dangerous colour red could
may be suitable. However, whenever a task requires creativity,
therefore elicit an avoidance response, whereas the inviting co-
openness and imagination (e.g. brainstorming, introductions)
lour blue creates an approach motivation. Red and blue can also
blue (or another colour that elicits an approach response) may
call up other associations: red is linked with passion and power,
be useful.
and blue is linked with peacefulness and calm, for example. In
Similarly, research into the influence of shopping environments
addition to evoking a range of associations, colours also seem
has also focused largely on the colours red (and yellow) and blue
to elicit different associations in different cultures. In France,
(and green). Consumers were subconsciously attracted to red
for example, green is the colour of envy and jealousy, whereas
colours, but found these environments unpleasant, tense and
in Germany, yellow has those associations. Blue and red are at
less attractive than shops with cooler colours. Both colours had
opposite ends of the visible spectrum (at 400nm and 700nm
an equally stimulating effect. Because people liked blue more
and were therefore in a more positive mood, they made more
(virtual) purchases, delayed purchases less, and the urge to shop
An experiment was conducted in which test subjects were asked
and to search for things (i.e. approach motivation) was higher.
to remember words. Both groups were able to remember the
same number of words. However, the people who saw the
words on a red screen made significantly fewer errors than
Sleep and weight disorders are common in Scandinavia, where
those who had seen the words on a blue screen: they wanted to
the winter days are short and the summer days are long. This is
avoid the words. When the groups were asked to come up with
attributed to the effect that light has on our body. The eyes are
different uses for a brick, they both had the same number of
not only used to see with; they are also connected to nerves that
ideas but the people in the blue group showed more creativity
regulate other processes in our bodies. The biological clock is the
and thought of more creative uses. Colours therefore influenced
most important of these, in which cortisol (a stress hormone)
the quality of the answers. This effect has also been demonstra-
and melatonin (a sleeping hormone) act to help us stay alert
ted in other areas: when test subjects were asked to construct
or to become sleepy. Our body clock is particularly sensitive to
a toy car from various parts, the car turned out more creative
colours from the blue spectrum. For example, cortisol raises
Page 28 of 36
levels of glucose in the bloodstream, giving us more energy and
have a positive effect. There are also differences between men
stimulating our immune system. In the workplace, where our
and women. Women seem to respond more strongly to very
exposure to daylight is on average 40-200 times less than it is
cool or light colours: their mood worsened in the presence of
outdoors, it is possible to imitate the natural daily rhythm. Acti-
lighter colours, and remained neutral when exposed to warm
vity can be boosted in the morning by using cooler colours (i.e.
colours. Men responded in the opposite manner. A neutral or
from the blue spectrum) at high strength (i.e. 1000 lux), which
positive mood should to lead to the making of rash or heuristic
then decreases to 500 lux in combination with warmer colours
decisions, and a negative mood to well-considered decisions.
(i.e. the red spectrum) until around lunchtime. After lunch, coo-
Differences were also observed between 25 and 65-year-olds.
ler colours and high intensity are once again used to stimulate
activity. Increasing light intensity in the workplace by 300-2000
The physiological and psychological effects of colour seem to be
lux increases productivity by 20% [25].
quite contradictory. Physiologically, blue results in greater alertness, yet psychologically, dimmed warm colours improve our
When decorating a room’s interior, there is often very little con-
mood and therefore also our performance. It could be that the
sideration for the lighting. The type of light (artificial vs. natural),
physiological effects are based on evolutionary developments
the colour, temperature, intensity, bulb type (e.g. LED), and style
(i.e. performance during the day), whereas the psychological ef-
(e.g. direct vs. indirect), the shape and structure of the room,
fects could be attributed to associations (i.e. the dark, candle-lit
objects in the room, and general lighting by the various light
days at Christmas time are always so cosy).
sources are all aspects that influence how a space is perceived
and experienced. Indirect light from the ceiling at a low intensity
Much research has been carried out in the field of health psycho-
(320 lux) creates a pleasant, relaxed and intimate atmosphere.
logy on the influence of daylight on patients. It is an undeniable
Indirect light from the walls at high intensity (500 lux) is suitable
fact that daylight can have positive effects on recovery, although
for creating a sense of order and space, as well as an atmosphere
not necessarily for all patients. For example, mortality is higher
of clarity (here, direct light from the ceiling will also work) [26].
in darker rooms, and people in a light room are less stressed, in
less pain, take less medication and are released sooner.
Lighting can, of course, affect us by means of priming and evoking various memories. And just as we saw with music, there are
Air quality
researchers who say that the combination of arousal and mood
Most research into air quality has come from the field of occu-
is important. Studies on lighting mainly try to explain the effects
pational and organisational psychology. A range of calculations
using the relationship between lighting and mood; it is this
have shown that improving air quality is cost-effective if health
mood that then influences our behaviour. We are put in a good
and productivity benefits are included in the calculation [27].
mood whenever the colour and intensity of the light pleases
Research into temperature shows that the performance of of-
us, which allows us to perform more effectively. And given that
fice duties drops once the temperature exceeds 23-24 degrees
familiarity puts us in a more positive mood, lighting conditions
Celsius. Productivity increases up to around 21-22 degrees,
that we are frequently exposed to have a major influence on our
and has almost no effect on performance between 21 and 24
behaviour. However, precisely which colours and intensity create
degrees. Productivity at 15 and 30 degrees is around 90% of the
a positive mood is not yet clear, and results are contradictory. It
maximum; temperature can therefore have a great effect on
would seem that it is primarily our associations with light that
our behaviour if we realise that we are then performing at 10%
determine our mood, with warm lighting usually seeming to
below our ability.
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 29 of 36
On a related note, research has also been conducted into ven-
by Ulrich is that we spent a great deal of our evolutionary past in
tilation, or the deliberate supply of outside air into a building. It
a natural environment, more specifically a savannah. Surroun-
has been shown that introducing up to 45L/s of external air per
dings that resemble a natural environment like this are therefore
person has a positive effect on performance. Supplying more
less threatening. Other indications of this include the aversion
external air after this point will have a less pronounced effect
we have to sitting with our back to a door, and the fact that most
on performance. Performance increases by 2%-3.5% up to
people sleep upstairs – this makes us feel safe. We like to sit in
10L/s; by 1%-2% between 10-20L/s, and by 0.5%-1% between
spaces where the ceiling is lower and the light dimmed, as this
20-40L/s. Performance increases significantly between 6.6 and
provides us with a secure shelter. We also like to have a view so
15L/s per person. Performance has often been measured using
that we can keep a good eye on our surroundings. Patterns on
typical office work, but also other types such as creative thought.
floors and walls must not become too complex, or the visibility
of approaching danger will be reduced.
A day on the savannah
When we absorb a space, we can do one of two things: we can
Evolutionary psychology has been the main source of know-
first take an active interest in the environment, such as going out
ledge for explaining the effects of floors, walls, furniture and
and investigating, or we can try to understand the space from
accessories. It has been suggested, for example, that there
a distance. The first approach is related to processes such as
are designs of elements that have the same influence on
creative thought and brainstorming, while the second is related
everybody because they are ingrained in the oldest parts of
to problem-solving. A complex and mysterious space causes
our brains [28]. Natural objects and shapes have often been a
us to take an investigative approach, by putting the spotlight
source of inspiration for designs. Recent research shows that
on strange objects on the wall, architectural whimsies, photos,
these nature-based shapes assist our emotional and cognitive
videos, blind spots, curving hallways, or inaccessible or clearly
functioning. Our brains evolved in order to respond correctly to
visible objects. The second attitude that we can adopt is one in
dangers or opportunities that were present in the natural sur-
which we try to understand the environment when it is coherent
roundings of our ancestors. These responses are fast, automatic
and legible, such as open, or even secure, surroundings. These
and subconscious, causing us to either like our surroundings or
feelings can be evoked by creating an open space with a high
not and resulting in approach or avoidance behaviour. We had
ceiling, wide views, elevation, lots of light, a balcony, etc. A
to respond so quickly because wasting time and energy reduced
feeling of security can be created through a low ceiling, a small
our chances of survival. The amygdala seems to play an impor-
room without windows and thick soundproofed walls. Research
tant part in this process, by secreting the stress hormone cortisol
in this area remains rather tentative. Although this evolutionary
and activating our autonomic nervous system.
approach is still far from explaining all of our responses to our
surroundings, we can still keep it in mind.
The founder of this model, Roger Ulrich, published an article in
Science magazine on the recovery of patients who had undergo-
Design principles
ne gall-bladder surgery. Half of the patients had a view of a tree,
the other half of a wall. Patients who could see the tree reco-
Paul Hekkert, professor of industrial design at the Delft Uni-
vered sooner, had fewer complaints and required fewer painkil-
versity of technology, uses over-arching principles based in
lers and less care. Natural environments cause our cortisol levels
evolution to explain our perception of beauty; he believes that
to drop and enable us to rest properly. The explanation offered
these principles hold for all of our senses (i.e. they are cross-
Page 30 of 36
modal) [29]. First of all there is the principle of maximum effect
of adventurous behaviour is particularly important for children
at minimum cost. We wish to work as efficiently as possible,
when growing up. It has been shown that we like products that
quickly and with a minimum of effort. For example, we find a
possess enough typical features, yet are still a little innovative.
visual pattern beautiful if it is simple and yet contains a lot of
The iPhone would not have been a success 10 years ago, becau-
information, such as a caricature. It is for the same reason that
se it would have been too forward-looking. This also explains
we value conjunctive ambiguity but not disjunctive ambiguity.
why a remix of a well-known song often ends up so high in the
An example of disjunctive ambiguity is the well-known image in
charts, such as ‘A little less conversation’ by Junkie XL.
which we can see either a duck or a rabbit, but not both simultaneously. An example of conjunctive ambiguity is a bookshelf on
A fourth important aspect is the congruence among sensory
wheels that is, at the same time, also a dividing wall. Lastly, we
inputs. We prefer environments that are unambiguous in
often use metaphors to express ourselves in an economic and
purpose, affect and intensity, and that do not give off mixed
efficient manner. A simple reference by a product to something
messages. We are confused by a fancy restaurant playing loud
else allows us to add a lot of information to the product. For
music, or a teapot without a handle (i.e. form follows function).
example, the bowed-down shape of a Senseo machine can be
It is therefore important for all sensory messages to be congru-
perceived as a humble butler in attendance.
ent with the intended overall experience. If the intention is to
surprise, then it is actually a good idea to make an exception
In the world around us we are bombarded with information,
to this rule – for example, designing a chair that looks hard but
which is why we easily perceive relationships. Our senses must
feels soft when you sit in it.
create order from chaos; Hekkert has therefore named the
Surprise effects are easy to create using the physical stimuli
second principle ‘unity in diversity’. Some researchers argue that
named below. However, the precise effect of surprise on crea-
listening to music is nothing more than the perception of regula-
tivity is not known. Is it a good idea to take people out of their
rities, such as rhythms and patterns. We enjoy establishing links
comfort zone and possibly negatively affect their mood, or is it
and we feel rewarded when we do, such as when completing a
better to stimulate people with complex and surprising environ-
puzzle. It could therefore also be that only people with a trained
ments, as shown by the research of McCoy en Evans (see also
ear (i.e. who can easily identify the relationships and links) can
Nadler & Luckner, 1991)?
appreciate a certain piece of music. Perhaps the piece is too new
for people with an untrained ear, which is related to the third
Floors and walls
Floors and floor coverings help to make clear what the purpose
of a space is, to show where to walk and present the nature of
The third principle, called ‘most advanced, yet acceptable’
the space. The colour and texture of the floor covering must cor-
(MAYA), is related. The ‘preference for prototype’ theory has
respond to the purpose of the space. Floor coverings in a store
been rigorously tested, and has shown that we prefer the most
exude warmth, and also suggest the sale of items from a higher
average example from any given category, such as PDAs. In
price range. From an evolutionary perspective we can say that
many cases we have been exposed to it often, and are therefore
complex and new patterns stimulate us, but in general we prefer
familiar with it. For example, if we produce an average of ten
simple patterns. A complex environment makes it more difficult
faces, the resulting face is valued more than the other faces.
to detect danger. We also prefer small patterns to larger ones,
Conversely, people have always been attracted to the new and
which require a lot of inspection.
the unknown, to avoid overgratification and boredom. This type
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 31 of 36
The evolutionary approach says that the best thing to do is
associations or to remember things. A teddy bear is made using
to integrate elements of nature into spaces, such as plants or
soft materials to make it seem huggable, and a car with leather
imitations of nature (e.g. flower ornaments, nature posters).
upholstery to emanate luxury.
Another way is to imitate the mathematical relationships that
occur in nature. A fractal is a geometric figure that is self-similar,
Gestalt psychologists believe that we perceive a product as a
i.e. it is made out of parts that are more or less the same as the
whole. A car is therefore perceived as a car, and not as a col-
figure itself. The most well-known example is that of a fern.
lection of parts such as tyres, headlights and a steering wheel.
Waves, flames and clouds can all be duplicated using fractals.
If the shape requires more in-depth processing, then we also
A fractal pattern on the wall or floor stimulates creativity and
look at the individual parts. Consumers try to understand what
mental activity.
a product is by looking at the similarity of an object to product
categories and examples. Porsche, for example, created surprise
The colours on the walls and floors have a strong effect on how
with the Cayenne SUV – a sports car built on the chassis of an
a room is perceived. A wall with warm, dark colours seems to
SUV. The MAYA principle states that as consumers we like it
be closer, whereas a wall with cool, light colours seems further
when we cannot categorise a product straight away, when it is
away. The same principle can be applied to floors and ceilings. In
just a little different and surprising; however, if it becomes too
this way we can create atmospheres of security or openness, in
difficult it creates only frustration.
which we try to understand situations and think in a problemsolving way. We can also create a mysterious atmosphere, in
Furthermore, contrast influences the way in which we process a
which we embark on investigation.
piece of furniture or an accessory. An object that contrasts with
the environment also attracts attention because it surprises
Contrasting effects can also be created using walls and floors.
us, such as if it is very large or rich in detail. It contrasts with the
A piece of furniture in a warm, dark colour will look bigger in a
environment if it is placed in an odd location as well.
light-coloured room. Textured walls will also make any colour
We can also simply fall in love with the design of the product;
seem darker through the interplay of shadows. Smooth shiny
it then gives us positive feelings. Wherever the literature men-
or reflective walls will make a room seem larger. We expect to
tions furniture and accessories, it usually concerns aesthetics.
see darker colours on the ground, medium colours on the wall
Although in Greek antiquity this word referred to sensory per-
and lighter colours on the ceiling. Departing from this norm can
ception, nowadays we think more in terms of sensory fulfilment.
create surprising effects, but also stress [30].
Things need to look beautiful, smell good or taste nice. Aesthetic
responses are formed based on the intrinsic elements of a
Furniture, accessories and design
product that create involvement and generate attention. A good
The form of furniture and accessories in an environment can
design will generate more positive than negative responses.
evoke a range of psychological responses from visitors, including
cognitive and emotional responses [31]. Designers often choose
Lastly, the allocation of furniture and accessories influences how
certain shapes in order to encourage people to think about the
we behave in an environment, whether we engage in interacti-
product in a certain way. Just as with floors and walls, the shape
on, and with whom. Research has shown that creativity requires
must correspond to the purpose of the space. If done properly,
face-to-face communication, and that the frequency of interac-
the shape will therefore create certain expectations regarding
tions is also a significant factor. These types of possibilities can
the characteristics of the product, or cause us to make certain
be ‘built-in’, such as perceived or actual closeness (i.e. accom-
Page 32 of 36
modating people in a large/cluttered or small/open space),
accessibility (e.g. encouraging people to stand or sit) and visual
contact (e.g. sitting at a round table, or in groups at long tables).
However, this can also cause people to lose their privacy and
comfort, which we sometimes need during a creative process.
A grain of salt
The above analysis clearly shows that atmospherics influence
consumer behaviour. But what happens, for example, if we very
much like a piece of music (i.e. positive mood) but it is too loud
(i.e. too much stimulus)? We need to expand our knowledge
not only at the micro but also at the macro level. For what will
happen if we listen to loud music (i.e. lots of stimulus) in a room
with dimmed lighting (i.e. little stimulus) or warm lighting (i.e.
positive mood)? Until now research has isolated the effects of
environmental stimuli, meaning that we do not know which elements influence us the most. Secondly, little research has been
done into segmentation. For example, we know that women
are quicker to admit to being sensitive to noise, and that intellectuals are in principle less sensitive. But when we walk along
a shopping street we see clear differences between shops for
men, women and young people. It would therefore seem that
managers still continually alter their shopping environments
in order to influence their customers, without knowing exactly
what effect the changes will have.
LEF: the Recipe for Success
Page 33 of 36
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