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Ceiling Height

May 31, 2007

The height of your ceilings can affect how you think.


How your ceiling shapes your thinking. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A mere two-foot difference in a room’s ceiling height may be enough to affect the thought patterns of the people inside it. This according to Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. She and her colleagues put people in one of two rooms that differed only in ceiling height, and gave them a battery of jobs and brainteasers. Those in the higher-ceilinged room did better on tasks that involved abstract, creative, or big-picture thinking.

JOAN MEYERS-LEVY (University of Minnesota):
They see relationships between disparate pieces of information. On the other hand, if they’re in a low ceiling room, they do better on tasks that involve paying attention to detail.

She says there may be ideal ceiling heights for different kinds of shops, offices, or classrooms, depending on the task at hand. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.