Special blue-tinted lighting has been installed in a British school to combat the boredom that teenage students often go through in the classroom.
The system, developed by Philips electronics corporation, is being tested in two laboratories at Epsom and Ewell High School in Surrey, southeastern England.
AdvertisementThe SchoolVision technology aims to compensate for a biological quirk of teenagers, which means their body clocks tend to lag behind those of younger children and adults.
They find it harder to learn early in the mornings and perform best in the evenings.
The body clock, which governs waking and sleeping cycles, is kept in time with night and day by cells in the retina, which respond most strongly to the blue part of the spectrum.
When stimulated, the cells trigger the release of an "alertness" hormone, melanopsin.
The hope is that exposing students to a dose of blue light will help to wake them up.
"Lighting has not been seriously considered as a factor in performance until now," News.com.au quoted Effie Konstatinou, a psychologist at City University, London, who is leading the research, as saying.
"We know that there's a direct link between lighting, well-being and performance," Konstatinou said.
The system, which is already used in 20 schools in Germany, and more than 80 classrooms in The Netherlands, has four settings: focus, energy, calm and normal.
Under focus and energy, the lighting is more intense and contains extra blue, and the red-tinted calm setting is designed to settle a class towards the end of the day, when disruptive behaviour is most frequent.