Why Do We Love High Ceilings?Chris Fajkos, June 1, 2019 in Construction, New Construction, North Lake Tahoe, Summer in Tahoe, Summertime in Tahoe, Tahoe, Truckee-Tahoe, architectural design, creativity, design, tahoe mountain realty
It’s a feature that is so prominent in the Tahoe-Truckee market’s inventory: soaring ceilings. From old Tahoe A-Frames to epic mountain contemporary builds, it just doesn’t feel like an alpine home without those cathedral like ceilings.
But why do we like them? Is there something going on in our brains that simply draws us towards these vast expanses of space? The following write-up comes from one of my favorite publications, FastCompany.com, that might just explain why:
“In 2012, marketing scholars Joan Meyers-Levy and Rui Zhu wanted to see whether the height of a ceiling had any impact on the way a person thinks. So they recruited test participants for a number of different experiments and modified the study rooms so that some had 10-foot ceilings and others had (false) eight-foot ceilings. Meyers-Levy and Zhu also hung up Chinese lanterns so participants would look up and, consciously or not, process the ceiling height.”
Across several experiments, the researchers found evidence that high ceilings seemed to put test participants in a mindset of freedom, creativity, and abstraction, whereas the lower ceilings prompting more confined thinking.
In one test participants in the 10-foot high room completed anagrams about freedom (with words such as “liberated” or “unlimited”) significantly faster than participants in the eight-foot room did. But when the anagrams were related to concepts of constraint, with words like “bound or “restricted,” the situation played out in reverse. Now the test participants with 10-foot ceilings finished the puzzles slower than those in the eight-foot rooms did.
Another experiment asked participants to identify commonalities among a list of 10 different sports. Those in the high-ceiling group came up with more themes, compared with participants in the low-ceiling group. Meyers-Levy and Zhu suspect this outcome emerged from the psychological freedom that comes with taller ceilings—a mindset that might also enhance creative thinking.
Altogether, they conclude the research “shows that, by activating freedom-related or confinement-related concepts, ceiling height can be an antecedent of type of processing.” So what do you think? What is it about high ceilings that draws you in?