There are numerous situations in which human behaviour may escalate ‐ persons lose self‐control, get abusive, aggressive, and cross behavioural boundaries they would normally not cross. Such situations may occur in crowded outdoor situations (public events, urban night life) as well as in small‐scale indoor settings (prisons, service & help desks, psychiatric wards). Defusing escalation in any of these situations is no mean feat and generally requires the presence and active intervention of experts trained specifically for this purpose. The current project studies the utilisation of interactive lighting design in de‐escalation, by examining psychological pathways through which exposure to dynamic lighting might defuse escalating behaviour.
The project will develop and test mechanisms for de‐escalation through light: lowering arousal levels, inducing positively valenced mood, shifting and broadening attention, facilitating social behaviour, increasing self‐awareness, and enhancing self‐control. Theory‐informed ‘Light principles’ will first be tested in controlled laboratory settings. Light designers will then translate and integrate them in two escalationprone locations designated as Living Labs. The first is a support room for the treatment of acute psychosis in a psychiatric care facility of the GGzE. The second is ‘Stratumseind’, an inner‐city entertainment area in Eindhoven. Efficacy of the scenarios is rigorously assessed in real life.
In sum, this exciting project explores value creation through evidence‐based lighting design. It’s strength lies in the combination of theory‐based and controlled research with the integration and evaluation of dynamic light scenarios in experiential design landscapes, providing excellent opportunities for valorisation in contexts of public health and safety.