Temperature–color interaction: subjective indoor environmental perception and physiological responses in virtual reality

Giorgia Chinazzo (Corresponding author), K. Chamilothori, Jan Wienold, Marilyne Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: Temperature–color interaction effects on subjective perception and physiological responses are investigated using a novel hybrid experimental method combining thermal and visual stimuli from real and virtual reality (VR) environments, respectively. Background: Despite potential building design applications, studies combining temperature with daylight transmitted through colored glazing are limited due to hard-to-control light conditions. VR is identified as a promising experimental tool for such investigations that overcomes the limitations of experiments using daylight. Method: Fifty-seven people participated in an experiment combining three colored glazing (orange/blue/neutral) and two temperatures (24°C/29°C). Exposed to one color–temperature combination, participants evaluated their thermal, visual, and overall perception, whereas their physiological responses (heart rate, skin conductance, and skin temperature) were continuously measured. Results: Daylight color significantly affected thermal perception, whereas no significant effects of temperature on visual perception were found. Acceptability of the workspace was affected by both color and temperature. Cross-modal effects from either daylight color or temperature levels on physiological responses were not observed. Conclusion: In the VR setting, the orange daylight led to warmer thermal perception in (close-to-) comfortable temperatures, resulting in a color-induced thermal perception and indicating that orange glazing should be used with caution in a slightly warm environment. Application: Findings can be applied to the design of buildings using new glazing technologies with saturated colors, such as transparent photovoltaics. Despite some limitations, the hybrid environment is suggested as a promising experimental tool for future studies on indoor factor interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-502
Number of pages29
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number3
Early online date13 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and through a grant awarded by the Velux Stiftung Foundation in the framework of Project 1022: Identifying the Impact of Regional Differences on the Perceived Quality of Daylit Architectural Spaces: A Comparison Study across Different Latitudes.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2020, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


FundersFunder number
VELUX Stiftung Foundation
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne


    • built environment
    • combined effects
    • daylight
    • experimental method
    • interactions
    • perception
    • physiology
    • thermal comfort
    • virtual reality
    • visual comfort


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