Citation:
Wise, J.A. and E. Rosenberg. 1988. The effects of interior treatments on performance stress in three types of mental tasks. CIFR Technical Report No. 002-02-1988. Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI.
Abstract:
This report presents a brief literature review and an experiment investigating the effects of workplace decor on performance stress induced by mental arithmetic, problem solving and creative thinking tasks. The study was initiated in the context of human productivity questions for the Space Station, and includes an overview of prior experience with enhancers of space vehicle interiors. The research focuses on nature and nature scenes.

Experimental results show that decor with particular visual pattern features can alleviate the physiological stress response induced by mental work, and that this does not apparently depend on higher cognitive processes, or even awareness of the effect.

The functional role of decor in work settings seems to be as a buffer of one's emotional responses to recurrent task demands. Interiors treatments concerning decor should not merely be seen as questions of style or fashion, but as opportunities to create an appropriate affective support context for activities of the workplace.

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