General information

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.

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Here you can find and download our publications.

De-escalate informatiefolder
(in Dutch)

"Een korte beschrijving van het De-escalate project"

Spotlight on Aggression

"A short article describing the project in the magazine of TU/e's Intelligent Lighting Institute".

De Kort (2014). Spotlight on Aggression. ILI Magazine, Volume 1.

De-escalate: Defusing escalating behaviour through the use of interactive light scenarios

"Based on a review of the current literature, we present our vision and theoretical framework, which should provide the basis for empirically exploring light as a means for de-escalation."

De Kort, IJsselsteijn, Haans, Lakens, Kalinauskaite & Schietecat (2014). De-escalate: Defusing escalating behaviour through the use of interactive light scenarios. To be presented at: Experiencing Light 2014, International conference on the effects of light on wellbeing, November 10-11, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Smart Urban Lighting

"Increasing quality of life and reducing costs and energy seem like conflicting requirements. But the interesting thing is that new technologies for public lighting offer the opportunity to do both at the same time".

Den Ouden & Valkenburg (2013) Smart Urban Lighting. Chapter in 'Real Projects for Real People', The Patching Zone, Volume 3.
  • Partners

  • Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Intelligent Lighting Institute
  • Municipality of Eindhoven
  • Philips
  • GGzE Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg Eindhoven en De Kempen
  • Dutch Institutte for Technology, Safety and Security
  • Polyground
  • Het Lux Lab
  • Human Technology Interaction
  • ILI LightHouse
  • Police district zuid oost brabant


Yvonne de Kort

Prof. dr. ir. Yvonne de Kort

  • Full professor Environmental Psychology, TU/e
  • Project coordinator and supervision of PhD students
  • Program manager Sound Lighting, Intelligent Lighting Institute
Anne Schietecat

Anne Schietecat

  • PhD student Psychological effects of light, TU/e
Indre Kalinauskaite

Indre Kalinauskaite

  • PhD student De-escalation with light on Stratumseind
Nicole Weelen

Nicole Weelen

  • Clinical psychologist at GGzE
  • Researcher in GGzE field study

Antal Haans

dr. ir. Antal Haans

  • Assistant professor, Human-Technology Interaction, TU/e
  • Coordinator Stratumseind investigations and co-promoter of Indre
Daniel Lakens

dr. Daniel Lakens

  • Assistant professor, Human-Technology Interaction, TU/e
  • Co-promoter of Anne
Wijnand IJsselsteijn

Prof. dr. Wijnand IJsselsteijn

  • Professor Cognition and Affect in Human-Technology Interaction, TU/e
  • Supervision of PhD students, special interest: Research in Living Labs
Prof. dr. Ch. van Nieuwenhuizen

Prof. dr. Chijs van Nieuwenhuizen

  • Research program manager Forensic Mental Health care, GGzE
  • Supervision of Nicole

Anton van Gerwen

Anton van Gerwen

Programme manager Technology, Safety and Security, Gemeente Eindhoven
Tinus Kanters

Tinus Kanters

Project leader Living Lab Stratumseind, Gemeente Eindhoven
Hans van Diem

Hans van Diem

Key account manager outdoor, Philips Lighting
Eugene van Gerwen

Eugene van Gerwen

Directeur Polyground

Peter van de Crommert

Peter van de Crommert

Manager FieldLabs, DITSS
Ellen de Vries

Ellen de Vries

Light designer / owner, Het Lux Lab
Elke den Ouden

dr. ir. Elke den Ouden

  • TU/e Fellow New Business Development in Public-Private Value Networks
  • Strategic director LightHouse
  • TU/e Intelligent Lighting Institute




Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
PO Box 513
5600 MB Eindhoven
tel. 040 2475754/2889

Feel free to email us. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.