Virtual reality-based study assessing the impact of lighting on attention in university classrooms


This study uses immersive virtual reality technology to evaluate the effects of lighting environments on cognitive performance. Interaction effects of the variables illuminance (ILL) (100 lx, 300 lx and 500 lx) and correlated colour temperature (CCT) (3000 K, 4000 K, 6500 K and 10500 K) are analysed through the psychological responses of 192 participants in an attention task. The results reveal significant differences in psychological metrics. The lighting environment that most enhances attention is a combination of 300 lx + 6500 K. This work shows that ILL and CCT have a significant interaction effect, and thus, analysing them in isolation may not provide a complete understanding of their impact. Lighting conditions with combinations of 500 lx + 6500 K, 300 lx + 3000 K, and 100 lx + 65000 K produce comparable results in the attention task. Nevertheless, these different lighting levels could significantly affect the energy efficiency of educational centres. The findings reveal that changes in lighting conditions within virtual environments can significantly impact attention responses. These results highlight the potential benefits of optimising lighting environments to enhance cognitive functions.

Nuria Castilla, Juan Luis Higuera-Trujillo, Carmen Llinares (2024), Virtual reality-based study assessing the impact of lighting on attention in university classrooms, Journal of Building Engineering, Volume 86, 108902, ISSN 2352-7102,



This article cites the normative studies of Nesplora Aula and Nesplora Aquarium:

  • Y. Iriarte, U. Diaz-Orueta, E. Cueto, P. Irazustabarrena, F. Banterla, G. Climent (2012), AULA-Advanced virtual reality tool for the assessment of attention: normative study in Spain, J. Atten. Disord., 20, pp. 542-568,
  • G. Climent, C. Rodríguez, T. García, D. Areces, M. Mejías, A. Aierbe, M. Moreno, E. Cueto, J. Castellá, M. Feli González (2021),  New virtual reality tool (Nesplora Aquarium) for assessing attention and working memory in adults: a normative study, Appl. Neuropsychol., 28, pp. 403-415,

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