The influence of colour and scent on people’s mood and cognitive performance in meeting rooms

Hulshof, Bart (2013) The influence of colour and scent on people’s mood and cognitive performance in meeting rooms.

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Abstract:This research project examined to what extent atmospherics affect people’s mood and cognitive performance in meeting rooms. More specifically, the research question was: To what extent do colour and scent, also in combined application based on arousal congruence, affect people’s mood and cognitive performance in meeting rooms? Thereby it was checked if arousal worked as a mediator and sensation seeking, gender, age and education as moderators. Cool colours and relaxing scents, compared to warm colours and stimulating scents, were expected to lead to improved mood and enhanced cognitive performance because of the fact that low-arousing features have less distracting properties. Based on the processing fluency theory, it was predicted that an environment elicits a positive response when the environmental features were congruent in terms of arousal. In general, arousal congruence leads to easier processing which in turns leads to positive evaluations and more favorable attitudes. In total, 122 participants completed a cognitive performance test and a questionnaire in a meeting room in one of the four colour-scent conditions: blue-sandalwood, red-peppermint (congruence) and blue-peppermint and red-sandalwood (incongruence). These environmental features were selected based on a stimulating/relaxing rate. Use of cool colours and relaxing scents, compared to warm colours and stimulating scents, led to less feelings of arousal in meeting rooms. The effects of combined application of colour and scent based on arousal congruence on pleasure were moderated by gender and thrill and adventure seeking, a subscale of sensation seeking. Use of cool colours also led to improved performance on a demanding cognitive task. However, on a more detail-oriented cognitive task, performance of individuals improved in a warm coloured meeting room. Thereby, gender and education moderated the effects of scent on a detail-oriented cognitive task. Combined application of colour and scent resulted in enhanced performance on a high demanding cognitive task in congruent conditions compared to incongruent conditions. In conclusion, in case of making use of colour and scent separately, it is necessary to provide insight in the activities that will take place in the meeting room. When making use of both environmental features in a meeting room, it is recommended to combine colour and scent based on arousal congruence.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/63446
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