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Looking at religious and monumental architecture the world over, you might be tempted to assume that a high ceiling has always been correlated with feelings of expansiveness and grandiosity, and more confined spaces with homelier contemplation.

Nevertheless, no one had investigated the effects of ceiling height on human emotion and cognition until now.

University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management marketing professor Joan Myers-Levy will publish research in the Journal of Consumer Research that links higher ceilings with freer, more abstract thought, and lower ceilings with thought patterns that focus on specifics and smaller details.

i-5ab837d21e1282ca5d7e7cef81940075-high_ceiling.jpgMyers-Levy and her coauthor will speculate on the implications of ceiling height for the retail environment, but their findings have me thinking about domestic spaces—maybe this research will make a definitive case for, say, cozy, cave-like bedrooms over grand cathedral-ceilinged ones.

Read the press release, here.

Low ceiling image credit

High ceiling image credit