311 Light, Human Perception, and Health

led by Shaun Darragh

The most fundamental aspect of designing with light, and lighting controls, is how we perceive the interaction of light and surface in the built environment.  When intentionally designed, we can use these interactions to direct attention, create mood, regulate the awareness of brightness, and improve occupant satisfaction all while minimizing energy use.

Current research shows us that learning about visual perception is not enough.  Light also has specific physiological impacts that must be considered in most projects. How does light affect alertness? What kind of light do we need for our sleep wake cycles?  Is the spectral power distribution correct in our light sources?  How does light affect our endocrine systems?  Are LED light sources really hazardous? How may lighting controls help us with these issues?

This class will introduce participants to some of the primary human physiological systems that are responsible for visual performance and non-visual response to light, and how we may use light to direct perception.  We will include discussion of current research into non-visual cues and how light may interact with our daily physiological rhythms. 

Learning Goals

At the end of the class, participants will:

  • Understand the basic elements of human visual systems.
  • Understand how to apply light to direct attention, create mood, and modulate brightness perception.
  • Understand basic elements of human non-visual light reactive physiology.
  • Be introduced to current research regarding human physiological reactions to light color spectrum and intensity.  
  • Learn tips and tricks to use in everyday practice to improve the visual quality of the built environment while minimizing energy use.

Locations & Times

  • SEATTLE  Thu, Apr 9 | 8AM - 11:30AM @ Lighting Design Lab 


1. Choose a class date and location.

Thursday, April 9
Class location:
Lighting Design Lab
2915 4th Ave. S.,
Seattle, WA 98134
Seattle, Washington