The Effects of Ambient Blue Light on Anger Levels: Applications in the Design of Unmanned Aircraft GCS

Elena Spiridon, Stephen Fairclough

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Spiridon E. and Fairclough S.H. (2017). The effects of ambient blue light on anger levels: Applications in the design of unmanned aircraft GCS. International Journal of Unmanned Systems Engineering. 5(3): 53-69. Light exercises broad psychophysiological effects besides vision including hormone secretion, body temperature, sleep, alertness, cognition, and emotion regulation. This study proposes that applying an integrative interaction design to the ground control station (GCS) that uses colour-coded lights to deliver peripheral information to GCS operators using blue light as a chromatic cue could promote relaxation and reduce physiological reactions associated with negative emotions with implications for emotional health and cognitive performance. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test the effects of blue light in reducing negative emotions in an enclosed environment that resembles a GCS cabin for operating unmanned aircraft. Thirty healthy participants were invited to carry out a 12-min anger-inducing task in a car driving simulator. Three equal experimental groups were formed: the first group was primed to the relaxation effects of blue light (BL1), the second group was exposed to blue light without priming (BL2) and the third group was not exposed to any ambient blue light (control group). Light was presented at three stages: prior to the task for 5 mins and during anger induction due to 2 simulated traffic jams (TJ1, TJ2). Psychological state of anger was measured using questionnaires and psychophysiological measures including: Blood Pressure (BP), Cardiac Output (CO), Heart Rate (HR), and facial Electromiography (fEMG). There was a decrease in subjective feelings of anger in the BL1 condition relative to the control condition. Systolic BP was also significantly reduced in the BL1 condition compared to the control condition. In addition, corrugator muscle activity and stroke volume (a component in CO measurement) were lower in the BL2 group compared to the control condition. The findings have implications for the design of the photometry of GCS lighting and in particular the use of blue light in confined darkened GCSs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-69
JournalInternational Journal of Unmanned Systems Engineering
Issue number3
Early online date1 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Nov 2017


  • Anger
  • Blue light
  • Cardiovascular measures
  • Chromatic cues
  • Emotional health
  • Psychophysiology


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