Sounds. Fumes. What else?
Some of the most interesting research of environmental influences and their effect on emotions has been done by Dr. John Nash Ott, a pioneer investigator into the effects of natural and artificial light on man, animals, and plants. He finds that our neon lit society distorts brain and nervous system functioning.
People working under pink fluorescent lights for only a few months tend to become tense and irritable. In a series of controlled animal experiments. Dr. Ott duplicated this effect by subjecting minks to pink lights. The animals turned “vicious.” When he exposed them to sunlight filtered through deep blue plastic, their behavior was reversed, and they became “docile and friendly,” abnormally so for minks.
His most recent finding is that student hyperactivity can be the result of fluorescently lit classrooms. Working with the Sarasota, Florida, County School Board, Dr. Ott used time lapsed photography to record the comparative effects of normal fluorescent fighting and full spectrum fighting on student behavior. Under normal fluorescent lights, students were frequendy tired, irritable, inattentive, and unruly. Once full spectrum fights were substituted, they settled down; they paid more attention to their teachers, showed more interest in their studies, and rarely needed disciplining.
Parents concerned about their teen agers’ apathy and lack of ambition might well suspect the popular craze for strobe lights, which flicker and flash in time to high decibel rock music. According to recent studies, about one quarter of the population feels strange (giddy, dizzy, drunk, weak) when exposed to rapidly flashing lights. A major police and military equipment company is developing a 4 photic driver,” a modified version of strobe lights, as a nonviolent crowd control weapon. The device is silent and invisible, combining “silent sound” and infrared pulsations. Not surprisingly, it effectively subdues those who are subjected to it.
Few investigations to date have researched the psychological effects of humans deprived of natural fight, but, in research with animals, rats turned to alcohol solutions rather than plain drinking water when kept in total darkness for two weeks. Seventy five percent went back to plain water once normal laboratory lighting conditions were restored.
Dr. Irving Geller has a biochemical explanation for this change in taste: when kept in darkness, the rat’s pineal gland produces more melatonin and a melatonin forming enzyme, hydroxy o methyl transferase. He has been able to make rats alcoholic merely by injecting them with a melatonin solution.
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