bower-functionalbrain-inpress-2022.pdf (2.45 MB)
Download file

Functional brain connectivity during exposure to the scale and color of interior built environments

Download (2.45 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-15, 03:39 authored by Isabella Simone Bower, Aron HillAron Hill, Peter EnticottPeter Enticott
Understanding brain activity linked to built environment exposure is important, as it may affect underlying cognitive, perceptual, and emotional processes, which have a critical influence in our daily life. As our time spent inside buildings is rising, and mental health problems have become more prevalent, it is important we investigate how design characteristics of the built environment impact brain function. In this study, we utilized electroencephalography to understand whether the design elements of scale and color of interior built environments modulate functional brain connectivity (i.e., brain network communication). Using a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, while controlling indoor environmental quality responsible for physiological comfort, healthy adult participants aged 18–55 years (66 for scale, subset of 18 for color), were exposed to context-neutral indoor room scenes presented for two-minutes each. Our results show that both enlarging and reducing scale enhanced theta connectivity across the left temporoparietal region and right frontal region. We also found when reducing the built environment scale, there was a network exhibiting greater high-gamma connectivity, over the right frontoparietal region. For color, the condition (blue) contrasted to our achromatic control (white) increased theta connectivity in the frontal hemispheres. These findings identify a link between theta and gamma oscillations during exposure to the scale and color of the built environment, showing that design characteristics of the built environment could affect our cognitive processes and mental health. This suggests that, through the design of buildings, we may be able to mediate performance and health outcomes, which could lead to major health and economic benefits for society.



Human Brain Mapping




London, Eng.








In Press

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal