Meeting/Event Information

The Alerting Effects of Light

April 04, 2018
5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
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Philips Lighting Research
1 Charles Park, Second Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142

Mariana G. Figueiro, Ph.D., is Director of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) and Professor of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has also served as Light and Health Program Director at the LRC since 1999. Dr. Figueiro is well known for her research on the effects of light on human health, circadian photobiology, and lighting for older adults. In 2013 she was elected Fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society. She is the author of more than 80 scientific articles in her field of research, which is regularly featured in national media including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Scientific American. Dr. Figueiro has also brought attention to the significance of light and health as a topic of public interest through her recent TEDMED talk.



Light is the major synchronizer of circadian rhythms to the local time on earth. Light also elicits a strong alerting effect on people, similar to a “cup of coffee”. Alertness is associated with an acute awareness of environmental stimuli, wakefulness, a capacity for quick response, and heightened levels of performance. Studies have shown that short-wavelength (blue) light is the most potent stimulus to promote entrainment, if applied in the morning. Blue light exposure at any time of day or night will also elicit alertness. Our studies have shown, however, that red light, which does not entrain the biological clock, can elicit a strong alerting effect on people at night and during the day, especially during the post lunch dip.

This presentation will cover the key aspects of light’s influence on alertness and bring attendees up to date on the latest research in the alerting effects of light. Results from recent field studies investigating how light can be used to reduce sleepiness and increase alertness and vitality in dayshift and nightshift workers will also be presented.


$5.00 Student Ticket

$25.00 Member Ticket

$35.00 Non member ticket