Thursday, May 10, 2007

High Ceilings = High Achieving

Recent research has shown that ceiling height affects problem-solving skills.

High ceilings activate the idea of freedom, enabling a flow of problem solving to unfold. In a low -ceiling room, feelings of constraint and confinement dull problem solving. The research study will be published in the August 2007 edition of The Journal of Consumer Research

Aesthetic research is not a new field of study. It's been around for a long time. Years ago, I read different scientific journal articles when constructing my office. High vaulted ceilings and abundant natural light were my vision. I believed then as I do now, that it's not only my clinical skills which help patients, but the environment wherein it all takes place.

If you live in a place with low ceilings (or other limiting spaces) there are many things you can do. Try here for some suggestions.


Fallen Angels said...

Okay, that's cool!! My T's office is in an old, historic home in our town. It's not a Victorian but it is similar and from the same era...there are a few Victorians in the neighborhood. Anyways VERY high ceiling in her office, along with three tall, narrow windows on one afternoon sun facing wall. So much natural light that she usually doesn't have a light on inside...even if the blinds are closed! Now I'm wondering if that was planned.

Godwhacker said...

One of my favorite books is "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand, which is loosely based on the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright. I forget the exact wording, but there was a passage to the effect "these are not cave where men crawl hunched over, but grand halls where men stand tall".

However, when it comes to our president, we must realize the limitations of the medium. No amount of ceiling height could lift this neanderthal out of the stone-age.

Great post! :)

Skyeblue2u said...

Well this is a very enlightening post just like all of the other post, I esp. like this one. I feel lots better in open spaces. :)

alan said...

The oldest (and first built) house in Wyandotte County (1857) has 10 foot ceilings and windows that reach almost from floor level to ceiling. It wasn't aesthetics they were concerned with, but cooling. On the hot muggy summer afternoons they would slide down the tops of the windows on the sunny side and raise the bottoms on the shady side to draw in cooler air and let out the hotter air trapped by the ceiling. The kitchen was separated from the house by a breezeway to keep the cooking heat away from the living quarters.

There are some photos at that link if you are interested...


drytears said...

plus it's soo much nicer being in a room thats all open w/ high celings and natural light from windows.... who thats exactly the house I grew up in so I guess i'm kind of partial. :)

ellesu said...

Dr. Deb....Wow! You never cease to
stimulate new thoughts. I can't wait to tell my dd and son about this. They recently moved and the new house they're living in has high, high ceilings. ....Not so good for the repainting they're in the middle of, but it should encourage them to know of the benefits for their brainstorming sessions.

Nancy said...

"Now how can we heighten the ceilings in The White House?"
That statement could not be truer. We are in a mess and the tallest ceilings in the world couldn't help GW. He is on the Titanic.
thanks for the link to problem solving rooms. I saved it as a favorite and when I can do
renovations again I will check out the article

jumpinginpuddles said...

we live in a house with high ceiling our T office is surrounded by windows and we live for light, so yeh we agree

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Fallen,
I bet there was some deliberate choice in that!

Dear GW,
Yes, I recall that phrase as well. And you made me lol with the neanderthal comment ;)

Dear Skye,
I LOVE open spaces. Like the Dixie Chicks - Wide Open Spaces are the best!

Dear Alan,
Cool. I'm gonna check out the link.

Dear Drytears,
Lofty places are so soothing to me as well. We have high ceilings and a lot of natural light in our home too.

Dear Ellesu,
Yes, painting IS difficult with high ceilings. We had to hire a painter because we couldn't do it!

Dear Nancy,
We we were firt married we lived in a two bedroom apartment that was dark, low ceilings and confined space. I felt so down when I lived there. I used many of the techniques in the art link and they did help.

Dear JIP,
Nothing like warm wide open spaces.


Leesa said...

And I thought high ceilings only meant higher cooling and heating costs.

Too bad for hobbits, though.

Todd and in Charge said...

Really interesting, thanks. I've also wondered about "land's end" destinations, where all you see is ocean, and the cultures that grow up around them.

Ian Lidster said...

Consequently, George W. should spend more time standing in the rotunda of the Capitol, and Tony Blair should get himself down to St. Paul's Cathedral.
Have a great weekend my friend.


Sid said...

And here I've always just though of high ceilings as wasted space where dust and cobwebs collect out of reach.

As with all research, I think there are many, many exceptions. I personally do poorly in spaces with high ceilings because they don't feel as safe and comforting as a place with average high ceilings.

Rose said...

maybe that's my problem of late, my office has low ceilings. But your question about the White House- good question.

Raine said...

LOLOL - I like you last line- voted tho it took some doing :P

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Leesa,
YEah, that is a down side to high ceilings.

Dear TAIC,
You have such an interesting mind. I enjoy how you think.

Dear Ian,
Yup, two great places for small minds to visit.

Dear Sid,
You are not alone in feeling that way. There are many who experience large open spaces as dangerous, unsettling, etc. The important thing is to know what works for YOU, my friend.

Dear Rose,
Some environments can't be changed, but if we can alter them sometimes we get a health benefit.

Dear Raine,
Hey, thanks.


Deb S. said...

I learned something new today. I now work in an environment with high ceilings, and I'm doing some of the best work of my career. My work involves A LOT of problem-solving. As for your last line, it is definitely a winner! LOL

Wanda's Wings said...

That is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

east village idiot said...

I totally agree. High ceilings and natural light are where it's at. Thanks for the great link. This is the reason I have to leave my east village space. it's beginning to feel like a coffin.

Hope said...

I can attest to this, my home has 30 foot ceiling sat the highest peak, and ceiling to floor windows.
When I come home from work, I can feel the energy return to my body.

It's a drag dealing with the spider webs though!
Come to think of it, cleaning windows is a drag too.
Perhaps I will sit in my high ceilinged living room and contemplate this dilemna.

Heidi said...

Just dropping by to wish you a Happy Mother's Day..Hope your having a fantastic day!

Cathy said...

OK: This seems crazy to me, but then I realized that as soon as we bought our current house (which has high ceilings), I was able to write better and more freely and was more creative and productive. I always chalked it up to the nice view, but maybe it's the ceilings! Thanks for posting this; I had no idea that there was such research!
(Oh, and Happy Mother's Day!)

Reiki 4 Life said...

i just read this somewhere else & now I can't recall where. But it makes sense...small spaces, small minds...

Lynn said...

Good news for me. I have high ceilings. I like this post.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Deb S.
I like wide open spaces and do much of my best work in that kind of environment too.

Dear Wanda,
Sharing is cool.

Dear EVI,
I liked in an apt in NYC that was small, cramped and dark - coffin like as well. It was hard for me too.

Dear Hope,
Oh yeah, the spider web and dust threads ARE a bit of a drag. ;)

Dear Heidi,
Thanks buddy.

Dear Cathy,
I bet the view DOES help, don't sell that one short. Hope you had a great day too.

Dear Reiki,
Some people do like small spaces, as blog pal Sid reminds us....but I tend to like spacious, open, sunny spots.

Dear Lynn,
Hey, that's great! :)


princessdominique said...

Great post. I love high ceilings.

Raine said...

everytime I come to this blog - it tells me "stack overflow at line 0" I have no idea what this means, but sometimes I cant get in here. Just thought I'd let you know in case you know what it means and in case others have the same problem

Anonymous said...

I think this height and space thing makes sense.


Meow said...

Sure makes sense to me.
Thanks for another interesting post, Deb.
Hope you are well.
Take care, Meow

kath said...

maybe we should build all of our buildings with high ceilings of glass...... think of it!

The Angry Medic said...

Whoa! I kinda always suspected. Maybe THAT'S why I've been so retarded so fae...studying in my broom closet of a room. I need to get me to a library!

Oh, and that last line? Ouchies!

Id it is said...

Given that students in American Public Schools ranked among the last five in a recent survey done in 25 countries, I guess the school architects are to blame, hehe

astrorat said...

the sky is my ceiling! i wonder if thats a reason why some think that i am crazy :|

Clare said...

Wow that's interesting I never knew that. The ceilings in my office are quite low .... do you think that says something about what goes on in there lol?

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Princess,
Me too.

Dear Raine,
I am clueless about what THAT means!

Dear Kat,
Thanks for dropping in.

Dear Meow,
I like wide open spaces. But not heights really, though.

Dear KAth,
WOuldn't that be beautiful?!?!?

Dear Angry,
Time to come out of the closet. Broom, that is.

Dear Id,
Oh yes. And often many schools have pale coloring or very dark features - at least where I live. Very depressing in architecture and decor. Maybe a new look WOULD help young AMericans achieve and learn more.

Dear Astro,
The sky is a wonderful ceiling. And I don't think you're crazy. I rather like your spirit and mindfulness.

Dear Calre,
I guess it COULD, lol!


Debaser said...

So I guess the only way to get this President straight would be to remove him from the confines of the White House all together? The open skies at Crawford haven't done him much good, may be a lost cause.