The impact of room shape on affective states, heartrate, and creative output

Kimberley Strachan-Regan, Oliver Baumann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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The architectural design of space can deeply impact an individuals' mood, physiology, and mental health. While previous research has predominantly focused on elements like nature and lighting within architectural spaces, there is a growing literature base that also investigates the psychological and neurophysiological impacts of geometrical properties of architectural spaces. Employing virtual reality technology, the study sought to investigate the effects of curved and rectangular architectural spaces on affective states, heart rate, and creativity.

A total of 35 participants were exposed to two distinct virtual environments: a curved room and a rectangular room. Participants' self-reported mood was assessed using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS-Long Form). Heart rate was monitored using a pulse oximeter, and creative output was evaluated using the Guilford Alternative Uses Task (GAUT).

Statistical comparisons between the two room types indicated that participants experienced higher positive affect and lower negative affect in the curved room condition compared to the rectangular room condition. Furthermore, heart rate measurements revealed lower physiological arousal in the curved room. Additionally, participants exhibited higher creative output in the curved room as opposed to the rectangular room.

These findings align with previous literature on the influence of geometric factors on affective responses. The implications of this study are significant as they pertain to individuals' daily environments and their impact on health and well-being. The positive influence of curved room geometry on mood, arousal, and creativity emphasises the importance of considering room layout and design in various settings, such as workplaces and educational environments. Architects and designers can utilise these findings to inform their decisions and promote neuroarchitecture that enhances positive emotional experiences and productivity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28340
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Early online date16 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2024


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