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“Analyzing Restaurant Lighting: the Perceptional and Emotional Responses of Dinners in Pakistan”

  • University of Home Economics, Lahore, Punjab Pakistan


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© 2016 by ARAHE Journal of ARAHE, Vol. 23(3), 2016
The business of restaurants is purely dependent on pa-
trons’ outcome and most of the restaurants are designed
according to their requirements from outside as well from
inside. The restaurant environment is a delicate part to de-
velop because of its strength of patrons which vary by the
time. Conscious restaurateurs are in constant search to
give new incentives to their patrons to make them con-
stant, to increase their number as well as for increment in
profits. The restaurant environment itself is a big incentive
for patrons and has a potential to vary according to their
requirements. The patrons want perfection according to
their perceptions that how they think about the things so
one must search on patrons’ views before designing the
area to run a successful business. Because environment
is the element which cannot be ignored especially in re-
tail settings and need to be planned to every single detail
(kuller 1991).
Environment is known as the surroundings of the physi-
cal state that provide the setting for human activity which
can be expressed through perceptions and emotions of the
users. The environmental impact on the perceptions (Ciani,
2010) and emotions (Ryn, 2005) also has long been ac-
knowledged by the landscapers, architects, interior de-
signers, environmental psychologists and also from re-
tailers (Veitch, 2001; Milliman, 1986). Theoretical and
empirical data from environmental psychology research
suggests that patron’s reactions to the physical environ-
ment may be more emotional than cognitive especially
when consuming products (Ryn, 2005).
Address for correspondence: Sadia Farooq, Faculty of Housing,
Home Management and Interior Design, Govt. College of Home
Economics, Lahore, Pakistan List of Chapters
Tel : +00923334035870 ∙ E-mail:
Analyzing Restaurant Lighting: the Perceptional and
Emotional Responses of Dinners in Pakistan
Sadia Farooq
Faculty of Housing, Home Management and Interior Design, Govt. College of Home Economics, Lahore,
Pakistan List of Chapters
estaurants are places to enjoy both food and environment. Lighting is also a crucial part of the environ-
ment, especially in the retail settings. Retail lighting needs to be planned according to the patrons’ re-
quirements, specifically in a restaurant environment. The effectiveness of the lighting for the users can be
analyzed through their perceptional and emotional responses. The perception is the identification, and interpre-
tation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment, emotion is the feelings ex-
pressed in the form of mood and reactions. Different researchers developed different attributes of perceptions
and emotions to analyze the patrons’ responses about commercial lighting. The attributes studied by Flynn,
Shaver and others are studied and modified into a tool to analyze a lighting environment. The tool consisted on
a questionnaire which includes nine perceptional and nine emotional attributes, tested on five point likert scale.
Then a survey was also conducted to check the authenticity of the questionnaire in a restaurant named, La-
hore View restaurant. The lighting in this restaurant was consisted on spot lights and rope lights. The results on
SPSS 20 concluded that patrons respond about the environment to be clear, focus, bright and concentrated
and felt the environment comfortable, pleasant, relaxing, and satisfied. They did not feel intense, frightful, de-
pressing or unnerving in restaurant lighting. The study would provide the designers with better luminant envi-
ronment according to patrons’ willingness where they feel fully contented. (J ARAHE 23
:81- 87, 2016)
: Attributes, environment, emotion, perception, restaurant
82 / J ARAHE 23(3) : 81-87, 2016
Many researches had been conducted about the percep-
tional and emotional responses of the patrons in different
retail settings such as offices (Vincent, Heung, & Tian-
ming, 2012), shops (Baker, Levy, & Grewal, 1992), and
hospitals (Tansik & Routhieaux, 1999). Light illuminates
our lives and a necessary part of any environment. The
features of a space are visible only in the presence of light.
The invention of artificial light is a blessing for us to use
in the spaces which we want to be highlighted through il-
lumination. The light in a restaurant is very important to
think over it, to design and finally to highlight the area
through it. There are different rules and standards to design
lighting for a specific environment but when comes to judge
about lighting, the user’s perceptions and emotions are re-
quired. The perceptions are the feelings about the sur-
rounding environment which a person gets and convey oth-
ers and emotions are feelings expressed through our senses.
There are different attributes to explain about perception
and emotions of the people and one can conclude about
an environment by using these attributes. The work of dif-
ferent researchers modified to make a tool to analyze per-
ceptions and emotions of the patrons in a restaurant set-
ting. A survey was conducted to check the authenticity of
the tool in a restaurant setting. The results concluded that
patrons feel that environment perceptionally focused, clear,
warm and concentrated and emotionally exciting, satisfied
and pleasant. They did not consider environment intense,
frightful, depressing and unnerving. The lighting environ-
ment consisted on spot lights and rope lights in horizontal
panels were liked by the patrons.
Light makes the quality of our environment visible and
impacts on our perceptional and emotional responses.
The lighting in restaurants must be preferred and designed
to the last detail because it can be a factor to increase the
business. Therefore, some relevant literature and studies
are reviewed as under:
Restaurant is an establishment that serves food and ser-
vices in a pleasant environment (Walker, 2011) in return
of money. From the last two decades, the more people come
out to dine and consider it a way of entertainment and so-
cialization. People visit restaurants in search of gastro-
nomic experiences and refreshing places because meals
are generally served and eaten in the premises. That is the
reason to give attention to the restaurants’ environment
so that the patron gets the desired conditions.
In modern era, dining out is a not only eating but enjoy-
ment of the surroundings. Restaurant’s interior design must
have the ability to satisfy patrons and reflects the concept
holistically (Arora & Singer, 2006). It also comes on the
restaurateur to maintain (Jang & Namkung, 2009) (Kim,
Lee, & Boo, 2009) the space to satisfy, regularize and re-
peat customers. The designers are always conscious to ap-
ply innovative ideas about decorations, music, lighting and
layout of the dining areas (McNully, 2004) (Molz, 2004)
which also increases the profits (Chang, Gong, & Shum,
2011) (Hon, 2011) (Hon, 2012).
Patron is the person, who gives money and support to
an organization (Webster Dictionary). The reason to estab-
lish all the businesses are patrons because they use the
goods and services and ultimately comment on them neg-
atively or positively. The patrons’ needs and demands are
considered when making a product, in restaurants they use
the products and space so environmental design is also
essential to consider. As an environmental element, light
plays a significant role in patrons’ perceptions and emo-
tions during the stay in a place (Pullman & Gross, 2003).
The patrons feel pleasant if lighting is harmonized with
rest of the interior (Ryn, 2005). The patron is the incentive
for all the inventions in the designs of the restaurants as
well as the lighting design which can be analyzed again
by the perceptional and emotional aspects of the patrons.
The light makes the experience unique, special and dif-
ferent that he or she may not be able to find anywhere else.
Thus, this ambience is actually the “luminant environment”
which force patron to stay long, come again and that final-
ly impact on turnover rate of the restaurant.
Light is essential in our lives and it has a value which
neither denied nor replaced. Now in this industrialization
era, lighting is considered very special even before in re-
tail environment where patrons want everything accord-
ing to their needs (Martin & Hemer, 2000). About 80% of
the information that we get from the surrounding is through
Farooq: Analyzing Restaurant Lighting / 83
light (Martin & Hemer, 2000).
Light has the ability to affect people’s perceptions and
attitudes. It is technical to plan light for a space and re-
quires some information, taken from different lighting as-
sociations, books, and lighting engineers. A handbook, pub-
lished by “The Illuminating Engineering Society of North
America” (IESNA) provides basic body of knowledge on
lighting and includes summaries of recommended prac-
tice for different lighting applications.
In the 1960s and 1970s researchers in lighting design such
as (Boyce, 1973), (Gibson, 1979), (Jay, 1967), (Marsden,
1969) and John Flynn (1973) (1977) (1978) (1979) sought
to understand the effects of lighting on spaces such as of-
fices, hospitals and even manufacturing lighting labora-
tories that how it influences peoples’ perceptions and emo-
Flynn is considered the founder researcher who worked
over the psychological impacts of lighting. Perceptional
and emotional attributes (basic things to measure lighting
quality) (Martin & Hemer, 2000) were developed by Fly-
nn and followed and amended by Mehrabian and Russel
(1974) to Arora and Singer (2006) and others. These stud-
ies have found that people’s moods, emotions, productiv-
ity, and alertness are influenced by the lighting in their
space (Southern, 2005).
Flynn, Hendrick, Spencer & Martyniuk (1973) were one
of the first researchers who studied lighting effects using
a real interior. They used the context of a conference
room and asked 50 participants to rate six different light-
ing conditions by means of 34 semantic differential (SD)
scales. Factor analysis revealed five independent dimen-
sions on which the impressions of the room under the six
lighting conditions were based. The five dimensions were
identified as following:
Perceptual Clarity (e.g. clear-hazy)
Evaluative (e.g. pleasant-unpleasant)
Spaciousness (e.g. large-small)
Spatial Complexity (e.g. simple-complex)
Formality (e.g. rounded-angular).
Additional analysis made by Flynn et al. (1973) conclud-
ed that evaluative dimensions correlated with the overhead/
peripheral dimension, that the perceptual clarity dimen-
sion correlated with the bright/dim dimension and that the
spaciousness dimension was correlated with the uniform/
non-uniform dimension, these dimensions are shown in
Table 1.
Another study, which supported the findings of the John
Flynn (1977) was carried out by Holly Sothern (2005) who
examined the perceptions of lighting along with preferenc-
es for setting and social arrangements in the restaurant.
There are some contrasting studies such as some con-
clude low level of light is preferred and others say bright
light contribute to be preferred by people. Mehrabian and
Russell (1974) also examined that people are naturally
drawn to light sources and bright lights contribute to stim-
ulate the excitement. Peoples gravitate towards well-lit
areas, preferring to sit in areas next to lamps or facing to-
wards windows or illuminated walls. Tabletops are often
spot lit to define territory and offer a sense of personal
space, this technique is effective if extended stay and
slower turnover is required (Robson, 1999).
Perception is the organization, identification, and inter-
pretation of sensory information in order to represent and
understand the environment. Most of the time patrons de-
cide on the basis of things they perceive rather than the re-
alities. Patrons are not concerned about the technical for-
malities of a restaurant but about their expectations.
(Bernecker & Mier, 1985). Even there is not any specified
formula to know that how person’s response about the
design whether it is light or some other element, every per-
son can has different views and comments on a single thing
(Schapter, 1999). Gibson (1979) makes a distinction that
direct perception is also a process of “picking up informa-
tion” from the ambient array of light as opposed to the
physiological process of receiving information from the
optical nerves. Flynn (1973) believed that users define
space through a perceptual process of scanning the space,
activity, and tasks for patterns of information. Visual per-
ception is a continual process of receiving information
Table 1. Dimensions developed by ynn
Dimensions asked to 50 participants Dimensions asked to 46 participants
Evaluative dimensions (pleasant/unpleasant)Overhead/peripheral dimension
Perceptual clarity (clear/hazy)Bright/dim
Spaciousness (large/small)Uniform/non uniform
84 / J ARAHE 23(3) : 81-87, 2016
about the physical environment that is used to make con-
scious and subconscious judgments (Robson, 1999). Rob-
son empirically studied ambient factors and psychological
principles in relation to a quick turnover rate of customers
in restaurants.
The emotions of the persons are highly important for
the financers when come to the According to Miller (1994)
emotions are outcome of a cognitive appraisal, which based
on a person’s evaluation of the current situation. This sit-
uation is an interaction with another person, with one self
(e.g. thoughts), or an environment. Emotions are expressed
in terms of happy, sad, satisfied, disliked etc. The emo-
tions depend on inner feelings of the persons as well as on
the importance of the situation as well as the space provid-
ed or the environment (Miller, 1994).
Within a restaurant environment, the physical act of eat-
ing is the same, but the variety of methods used in order
to meet the emotional needs of each individual is infi-
nitely varied. Raj Arora and Joe Singer (2006), explored
the relationship between the emotional experiences, atti-
tudes, satisfaction and intentions of the customer in the con-
text of a fine dining establishment. They found that peo-
ple choose to dine at a particular restaurant for cognitive
reasons which include the quality of food and service as
well as the location.
But those same people may also choose to patronize a
restaurant for emotional reasons, such as the excitement
or enjoyment that they experience while dining at that es-
tablishment. “Interest and enjoyment appeared to be strong
emotions aroused during the fine dining experience
(Arora & Singer, 2006).
A self-administered lighting assessment tool was devel-
oped, consisted on different perceptional and emotional
attributes. These attributes were chosen from the previ-
ously used attributes and questionnaires of different re-
searchers, mentioned in literature review. Two lists of at-
tributes were developed one for perceptions and second
for emotions.
A tool named observer-based environmental assessment
(OBEAs), used to evaluate the responses of the people
about lighting in a space. Systematic use of the observer-
based environmental assessment (OBEAs) tool can help
educate lighting developers, designers and decision mak-
ers by illustrating trends in environmental experiences
(Gifford, 2007). The questionnaire was related to the per-
ceptional responses of patrons and was commonly applied
to capture how laypersons perceive light in indoor envi-
ronments, previously used as part of people’s appraisal of
artificial lighting in laboratory settings (Kenz, 1995) (Kenz
& Enmarker, 1998) (Knez & Kers, 2000), and as part of
studies of people’s appraisal of artificial lighting in mock-
ups of office spaces (Veitch & Newsham, 2000) (Veitch,
Newsham, Boyce, & Jones, 2008) (Veitch, Stokkermans,
& Newsham, 2013).
OBEAs tool (Johansson, Pedersen, & Maleetipwan-
Mattsso) consisted on the attributes developed on bi-po-
lar semantic differential scale e.g. bright-dim, pleasant-
unpleasant, clear-drab etc. Flynn (1977) also suggested
that the luminous impression could be characterized by a
number of qualities captured by bi-polar semantic differ-
entials e.g. overhead-peripheral, bright-dim, uniform, non-
uniform, and visually warm-visually cool. Using Flynn’s
work as a base, Küller and Wetterberg (1993) in laborato-
ry studies used ten bipolar adjectives such as unpleasant-
pleasant, cool-warm, unnatural-natural, bright-dark, strong-
weak, etc. for assessments of perceived lighting quality.
Pellegrino (1999) asked laypersons to assess indoor light-
ing by a combination of semantic differentials (rating scale
by bi-fold words) on Likert scales (psychometric scale to
rate on intensities). But in this study, Instead of bi-polar
semantic differential scale, a single attribute was used sep-
arately such as clear and drab were asked separately. These
modifications simplify the tool and layperson could easi-
ly decide to answer instead of bi-polar semantic differen-
tial scale.
The bi-polar attributes used by Flynn (1973) and Meh-
rabian and Russel (1974) are given as: Pleasant vs. un-
pleasant, Public vs. private, Spacious vs. confined, Re-
laxed vs. tense, visually clear vs. hazy. The two attributes
used by Flynn, pleasant and relax were removed from the
list of perceptions because they relate to the emotions ac-
cording to the Shaver (2001) list of emotions. The totals
of nine attributes were included in the list of perceptions,
Farooq: Analyzing Restaurant Lighting / 85
given as clear, focused, bright, warm, shaded, normal,
concentrated, flickering, and intense.
Emotional attributes
The second part consisted on the attributes used to eval-
uate emotional responses of the people about lighting in
a given place. The emotional attributes were taken from
the list of basic emotions described by Shaver, Schwartz,
Kirson, & O’Connor (2001) because a thorough research
concluded that the list developed by Shaver et al. (2001)
deeply described all the emotions. The nine emotional at-
tributes were selected from the Shaver et al. (2001) which
were also used by other researchers in their studies (Flynn,
Spencer, Martyniuk, & Hendrick, 1973) (Flynn & Subisak,
1978) (Loe, Mansfield, & Rowlands, 1994). The attributes
are given as depressing, frightful, unnerving, relax, satis-
fied, comfortable, happy, exciting and pleasant.
The perceptional and emotional responses both were
evaluated on a five point likert scale ranges from strongly
disagree, disagree, neutral, agree and strongly agree.
A survey was conducted to check the authenticity of the
tool in a retail setting. The developed tool was used as a
close ended questionnaire in a restaurant. The question-
naire was filled by 245 patrons coming in the restaurant
during the month of March 2014. The restaurant named:
Lahore View was situated at an acclaimed place of the city,
lighted by spot lights and rope lights in horizontal panels
in the ceiling such type of bright and uniform lights were
also suggested by Flynn (1973).
The results were analysed on SPSS 20, a statistical
programme and results were shown in the Table 2.
The table shows the overall comparison of perceptions
and emotions of patrons’ visiting Lahore View restaurant.
The patrons’ respond that lighting is perceptionally fo-
cused with mean score 3.75 whereas the attribute of in-
tense has 3.21 mean. From the emotional attributes the
highest mean score is 4.22 for exciting and 2.18 for un-
This concluded that the patrons’ liked the lighting ac-
cording to their perceptions and emotions. They felt that
environment clear, focused, warm, concentrated, shaded,
vibrating and bright. The only two out of nine aspects of
perceptions were negatively responded such as the pa-
trons felt the environment neither normal nor intense.
Patrons’ liked lighting more than normal and did not feel
intense in that lighting. They considered light exciting up
to 4.22 mean score and did not considered lighting de-
pressing and unnerving.
The rope lights used in the horizontal sections in the ceil-
ing which could be the reason to increase the responses
of the clear and focused environment, it was also approved
by researchers (Flynn, Spencer, Martyniuk, & Hendrick,
1973) that perceptual clarity and focus reinforced by
higher horizontal luminance in a central location.
It was also approved by the study that bright peripheral
light increase perceptual clarity and along that uniform
lighting adds to spaciousness stated by Flynn (1977).
Previous researches proved that non uniformity raise
relaxation (Rea, 1993) (Kaufman & Christensen, 1987)
(Kaufman & Haynes, 1981) (Flynn, Spencer, Martyniuk,
& Hendrick, 1973) (Flynn, Hendrick, Spencer, & Martyni-
uk, 1979) but the results of the study showed that relax-
ation raised to 1.03 according to mean scale score in uni-
Table 2. Patron’s Perceptions and Emotions about Light-
ing in a Restaurant
Variables Aspects Mean score
Perceptions Clear 3.44
Focused 3.75
Warm 3.67
Concentrated 3.73
Normal 3.18
Shaded 2.95
Vibrating 3.64
Bright 3.52
Intense 3.21
Emotions Comfortable 3.75
Frightful 2.34
Pleasant 3.83
Relax 3.88
Satised 3.83
Depressing 2.27
Happy 3.69
Exciting 4.22
Unnerving 2.18
86 / J ARAHE 23(3) : 81-87, 2016
form arrangement of fixtures. This was a new finding as
the lighting fixtures were arranged in uniform horizontal
panels in the restaurant. The increase in the emotions of
relaxation could be a reason to decrease the negative attri-
butes of frightful, depressing and unnerving. This finding
also support finding of Houser at al. (2001), that Horizon-
tal luminance is liked by patrons. Mehrabian and Russell
(1974) stated that horizontal panels could be the reason
to increase brightness. If brightness will increase that also
stimulate excitement (Mehrabian & Russel, 1974). The
increase in satisfaction level also conclude that patrons
will come again (Houser, Tiller, Bernecker, & Mistrick,
2001) in Lahore View restaurant to enjoy lighting.
The study concluded that patrons respond about the
environment to be clear, focused, bright and concentrated
and feel that environment comfortable, pleasant, relaxing,
and satisfied. They did not feel intense, frightful, depress-
ing or unnerving in restaurant lighting. The study would
provide the designers with better luminant environment
according to patrons’ willingness where they feel fully con-
The study would be beneficial to the researchers, interi-
or designers, retail investors especially restaurateurs and
lighting experts to design lighting for a retailer space ac-
cording to dinners’ requirements. The derived attributes
would be used to analyze the perceptional and emotional
responses of dinners.
The researcher regards and thanks to the owner of the
restaurant for his cooperation and financial assistance.
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The historical background of the subject is given, together with a discussion of the types of scales with which attempts have been made to measure subjective brightness. The apparatus used for direct estimation experiments is described, and the method of direct estimation is explained in detail. In this method the observer is presented with a series of test fields in random order of luminance and asked to grade them by directly estimating the magnitude of their apparent brightness. The method was exhaustively explored and the effects were found of different groups of observers, the size of luminance step, the order of presentation of the luminances, field size, foveal and extra foveal viewing, and the colour of the test field. Scaling is discussed, and statistical evidence showing that the directly estimated brightnesses are on a ratio scale is given. Field work confirmed that the apparent brightness data obtained with laboratory apparatus is applicable to practical situations. The effect of the adaptation field is discussed. Binocular matching experiments were used to relate more accurately apparent brightness data to different adaptation levels. Apparent brightness scales for light different adaptation levels are given which can be used for the luminance design of interiors.
It is perhaps to be regretted that the regular arrays of recessed luminaires, the most common way of lighting offices, are the least preferred. Possibly in a windowless environment the lack of any view to give visual variety exaggerated the low ratings of such situations. Possibly the quality of the luminaires (particularly the prismatic ‘batwing’ which was rated very low) could be improved. Possibly the experimental procedure which did not allow the subject to work for a long time in the same environment made variety more desirable. But certainly the indications from this study are that subjects prefer other ways than regular recessed luminaires to light their offices. Complexity and brightness together: perhaps that is what people want in the lighting of their offices.
A major objective of IERI Project 92 has been the development of a research methodology for studying psychological and related subjective effects of illumination. In this sense, the study has made note of two aspects of human behavior that might be influenced, to some extent, by spatial illumination: (1) the effect of light on subject impression and attitude; and (2) the effect of light on performance and overt behavior. The former effects (subjective impressions) appear to involve a recognition of cues or patterns—and these can be studied by scaling procedures. The latter effects (overt behavior, such as seat or path selection, posture, social behavior, participation in activities, etc.) sometimes involve actions taken in response to the cues and patterns—and these can be studied by mapping procedures. This report will focus specifically on scaling procedures for studying subjective impressions. The intention is to propose a somewhat standardized series of test procedures—so that work by various researchers can be compared, and otherwise contribute to a common base of knowledge and information on the subject.
The use of visibility levels (VL) as a method of design and evaluation of room lighting systems in work spaces is analyzed. The procedure used here is a modification of the Lumen 2 computer program. Several alternative power-budgeted lighting designs are evaluated to demonstrate the process. This analysis includes: calculation of classical footcandles, calculation of ESI footcandles, a plotting of VL for typical younger workers, and a similar plotting for typical older workers. Possible modifying factors related to subjective impressions of visual clarity are also discussed.
This study applies the theory of self-concordance and adopts the multi-level analysis approach to examine the mediating effect of employee self-concordance, a core component of intrinsic motivation, on the relationship between social-contextual factors and creativity using hotel industry data obtained from Mainland China. The hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) results from a multisource sample reveal that the three social-contextual variables (i.e., organizational modernity, empowering leadership, and coworkers support and helping) were associated with employee self-concordance, which in turn was associated with employee creativity. Moreover, employee self-concordance fully mediated the three social-contextual variables and creativity. This study shows that organization environment plays a significant role in predicting employee creativity. The implications of the findings for future research and their practical applications in the hotel industry are discussed.