31 May 2007

Modern Evidence for Correspondence?: Look Up

Posted in Correspondence at 23:26 by Dr. Shue

I happened to come across this article from Science Daily on Ceiling Height Can Affect How A Person Thinks, Feels And Acts. I could’t help but think of how much Swedenborg would approve.. πŸ˜‰

These researchers took a look at whether ceiling heights influence us in any detectable way.

Here are some snippets from the article (I’ve added some emphasis):

For years contractors, real estate agents and event planners have said that whether building, buying or planning an event, a higher or vaulted ceiling is always better. Are they right? Until now there has been no real evidence that ceiling height has any influence or advantage with consumers. But recent research by Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, suggests that the way people think and act is affected by ceiling height.

Meyers-Levy and co-author Rui (Juliet) Zhu, assistant professor of marketing at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia and a Carlson doctoral alum, found that, depending on the situation, ceiling height will benefit or impair consumer responses. The paper β€œThe Influence of Ceiling Height: The Effect of Priming on the Type of Processing People Use,” will be published in the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

β€œWhen a person is in a space with a 10-foot ceiling, they will tend to think more freely, more abstractly,” said Meyers-Levy. β€œThey might process more abstract connections between objects in a room, whereas a person in a room with an 8-foot ceiling will be more likely to focus on specifics.”

The research demonstrates that variations in ceiling height can evoke concepts that, in turn, affect how consumers process information. The authors theorized that when reasonably salient, a higher versus a lower ceiling can stimulate the concepts of freedom versus confinement, respectively. This causes people to engage in either more free-form, abstract thinking or more detail-specific thought. Thus, depending on what the task at hand requires, the consequences of the ceiling could be positive or negative.

Although I’m not particularly enamoured about this research being seen only in terms of its impact on our buying behaviour, I do think it’s a nice example of correspondence in action.

What do you think it tells us about how we build our homes, our places of worship, libraries, offices..?

Where should we:

Study spiritual works?

Listen to spiritual teachings?

Teach children?

I’d be very interested in hearing some of your opinions. I often find studying Swedenborg requires both an attention to detail AND an abstract, conceptual sense. How would we balance these? Or do we?

What do you think?

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